So, remember how I stopped blogging for two months? It’s because I stopped running for two months. On Tuesday morning, I woke up and spontaneously decided to run Lake Merritt – you know, the one I’ve been hoping to dominate for years?
I dominated! (…with two one-minute walk breaks…) It still rocked. So hard, in fact, that I grabbed my balls and rode the wave of spontaneity over to See Jane Run to register for their 5K.
Otherwise known as yesterday!
As I have a tendency to obsess, over-research and second (third, fourth, fifth) -guess myself into oblivion, this was the ideal way to run my first race. I had a couple days to get really excited (and make an amazing playlist) but not enough time to freak myself out. Coming off my (mostly) successful lake run, I had a couple of goals for the race:
*Finish (definitely doable.)
*Finish without walking (maybe possible?)
*Finish in under 30 minutes (maybe possible but would require walk breaks since I wouldn’t be able to sustain sub-10mm for 3 miles unless I got crazy adrenaline and was cool with vomiting in public at the finish.)
I figured in the spirit of this whole thing, I would just wing it and see how I felt in the moment. Until last night when I kept having this thought over and over again:
“I am going to run the whole thing. I am not going to stop running.”
And because I can’t keep a secret about myself to save my life, I’ll skip to the good stuff:
I DIDN’T STOP RUNNING. FOR 32:24.
And it was pretty much my favorite thing I’ve ever done in my life. 😀
After being inspired by the running stories of so many others, it was such a thrill to do all the firsts: first expo, first bib, first start line. I told several friends that I was running but I mostly kept it uncharacteristically private. No FB posts and no conferring with my runner friends, including the ones who had done this event before. And that is how I got one of the best surprises of the day:
I couldn’t have been more fortunate to run into Ale and Cin. I sheepishly approached my lovely friends and they squealed with glee! They understood how much it meant to me to run my first race and it was amazing to have their enthusiasm and energy. I’ve never run with friends before and though we all had very different time goals, it was really special to be there together. We took lots of pictures, shared our goals and talked about our strategies for achieving them. We were in the middle of the pack and before I knew it, I was stepping over the starting line and beginning to run!
As the crowd surged forward, all I could think was “this is so fricking AWESOME.” I was so happy to be there. So happy to be pushing myself as an individual in the company of such a large collective, all doing the same.
I knew I wanted to be very conservative with my pace in the first mile. This was no problem as the course was very congested. I had to weave quite a bit but it thinned out in the first half mile. I had set Run Keeper so I could keep tabs on my pace and every time I checked in, I was right in the range I wanted (around 10:30 to avoid burnout at the end). I smiled when I saw the first mile marker because I felt great physically and hadn’t had any desire to walk. The combination of adrenalin and distraction is so magical! There was a turnaround at 1.5 miles. Looking for Ale running back towards me provided a great distraction right around the time that I typically get tired. I didn’t see her but after I did catch Cin on my way back!
By the third mile, I was feeling better than I ever have at that point in a run. I hadn’t even considered walking and I knew I had plenty of gas left. I thought I would start to push my pace a bit in the last half mile and really give it what I had in the last quarter mile. As the finish line came into view, I knew I was going to make my goals of finishing and finishing without walking! It was just about 30 minutes so finishing under 30 was not going to happen. I didn’t care at all and was very, very happy with my projected time. As I approached the finish, I smiled and sprinted my ass off over the finish line. The surprised cheers of spectators at my sudden surge of effort was possibly my favorite part of the whole day.
Grabbed my medal, a bottle of water, and found a very excited Ale! Last year, she ran the half-marathon (her first) in a fantastic 1:48. Due to some knee issues, she chose to run the 5k and annihilated it in like 27 minutes?! I was psyched to tell her that I didn’t walk! We found a spot along the finish to cheer and photograph Cin as she came in, meeting her time goal and beating last year’s time!
The weather was phenomenal and we had a great time at the post-run expo.
And then we brunched.
I could definitely get used to this.