Because my classes have been kicking my butt lately (really just one class) there has not been much running since the half marathon just over a month ago. It’s okay. I’ve resigned myself to feeling a little more fluffy than I’d like and getting just enough running done to keep my (relative) sanity. Despite that I signed up to run a 10k race this weekend.
I’m not sure why exactly I did that. I blame my son. One of the school cross country coaches who does Iron Mans and marathons and triathlons, super crazy stuff like that, sent a group email inviting the runners and their families to join him (and his family) for this race. A few kids had already signed up for the 10k and 5k races and the coach was doing “the doubler” where you run both races almost back to back. I asked my two runners if they wanted to do this run. It was the last day to register and get the race logo inflicted warm up jacket.
My middle schooler said no, he didn’t feel ready to run a 5k yet (most his races were either 1.5 or 2.1 miles this year) and of course my high schooler said yes, he wanted to do the 10k. So I handed him my phone to check out the race details. He saw that the coach was running the Doubler and decided that is what he wanted to do. After looking up the cost of the races I tried my best to talk him out of it, giving very valid arguments against signing him up for the doubler:
You haven’t run in the couple weeks since cross country season ended. (I’ll run this week.. I swear I will!) (Spoiler alert, he didn’t.)
It’s going to be colder than what he’s used to running in.(I don’t care. I’ll be warm when I’m running, I can handle it.)
It’s nine miles and it’s super early. And it’s like seventy bucks!
After he insisted he could and really wanted to do both races and that he’s pay for part of it I caved. Of course, if I’m taking him to a race at 7:30 in the morning in November I’m not going to just stand around in the cold and watch people run. So, I signed up for the 10k too.
This particular run is one in a series of races that are pretty popular and therefor quite large too. There was something like five thousand runners, in the 10k. Some of these races revolve around holidays but this one is just a random chocolate run. So, yeah, they give you chocolate at the finish. Specifically stuff to dip in a cup of melted chocolate, hot chocolate, and chocolate milk. And also a medal that looks like a chocolate bar with a bite out of it.
Even though all this sugar was not appealing after a hard run, I took one (or two) of everything. I’m getting my money’s worth here. By the time the 5k started I was ready for a snack anyhow.
Buut, getting back to the original point I was making…I hadn’t been running much and the one time this week I did run was not great. I was back to the point of walking some even though I was only running for three miles. Ugh! On Friday I got my only run of the week in. Upon finishing I texted my co-blogger bemoaning how much this 10k was going to suck. I mean, I’ve been running longer distances enough that I could do it but it probably was NOT going to be pretty…or good.
This morning my alarm went off at five AM, least favorite of the twenty-four hours.
When I stepped outside I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was already above forty degrees. Awesome, I could wear shorts instead of my running tights. So, I quickly shaved the lower two-thirds of my legs, grabbed breakfast, water bottles and a hat and ran out the door. As we got closer to the race I noticed the temperature was dropping. By the time we got there it was at least five degrees colder than when we left home. Suddenly I was not so sure it was shorts weather. It was a little too late to do anything about that though. By the time my son and I had picked up our packets and jogged the couple blocks to meet our group by the start I was basically warm enough.
The race had pace groups and somehow I missed the first wave and ended up back by the 70 minute pace runner. I think it close to eight o’clock when my group finally started running. By then the sun was up and it really was as nice a day as you can ask for in November in Michigan. (Did I mention it was snowing by the end of my run two days earlier?) Knowing that I was among a slower bunch of runners than myself was a great confidence booster at the start of the race, I felt pretty cool zigging and zagging through the crowd of runners and some walkers, After a couple miles I totally expected to burn out but, whatever, I was riding this feel-good running wave as far as it would take me. By the four mile marker I was still under and a ten minute mile average. Sweet! I was starting to feel a little tired but the prospect of finishing in an hour or maybe even less kept me moving. With half a mile remaining my legs were getting heavy. I told myself that no one else was allowed to pass me. Oddly that actually worked and my legs kept moving. Finally I was turning the corner and the finish line was in sight. I knew I was finishing this race in under an hour. Knowing, as GI Joe points out, really is half the battle and I got a little kick at the end. I actually (sort of) sprinted across the finish line.. My running app said 57:58 but my official time was 58:12….a full minute under my previous fastest 10k time.
I’m not sure what exactly happened today but it was great to have a race where I felt mentally and physically on top of my game.
My son had a pretty great 10k time too (46 something) but by the end of the 5k he was really feeling the miles. One of the other parents asked him if his legs hurt. He replied “Nah, they don’t really hurt they just don’t work anymore.”