10 miles - sweaty boobs and all! Along with discovering that I can run a long distance, I also discovered that my sports bra has magical wicking properties that kick in after a lot of miles!
I'm here to tell you that I lived through it - I managed to run 10 miles in the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History's Buffalo Stampede race on Saturday! This is a long recap - but hey...it was a long race!
Picking up my timing chip - museum director Deborah Cowman was showing me how you attach it to your shoe with a zip tie. I'd never seen a timing chip like this one. After you cross the finish line, someone would be there to cut it off my shoe. Fancy!
I met up with my running club where we all got our chips attached, bibbed up and chatted. It was great to have a group of familiar faces to hang out with before the race!
I was doing fine, nerve-wise, before the race until right as we were heading over to the start line - then Jenny came up to me and gave me a hug and wished me good luck...and I got sad, because I wouldn't be running with her. She's my running buddy, and I really enjoy having her by my side as we go through this
I lined up in the back - with a group of runners this small (only 103 for the 10-miler), I knew that I didn't want to deal with being passed up so much like I was in the duathlon. Better to start out where you know you belong, right?
See the man on the bike? I didn't realize that he was the person who trailed the last runner, and shortly after we made our first turn onto the street, I saw him behind me and was thinking "what is that bicyclist doing on the race course?" - I knew that there was a lead bicyclist, but didn't know that there was an end one as well. I finally realized that he was this race's version of the police car that follows the runners. Only seriously - if I threw in the towel, how was I going to get back to the starting line - on his handlebars?
The first mile was a bit rough - it was the coldest temperature (60 degrees!) I've run in since April. I had a little trouble catching my breath, and my hands were cold. But, I soon warmed up and got into a good rhythm and all was good. Shortly after I passed the one mile marker, a different bicyclist sped past me, followed by a young man running - and I mean RUNNING! Up ahead was the first water station and the turn around point for the 5K race - aha - this guy was the leader in that race, which started ten minutes after our race. Dang, he was fast! Anyway, I got a cup of water, walked while I had a few sips, and was off.
Miles two through four were good - I was just chugging along, following a few people, and occasionally passing one or two. Every time Ricky Bobby chimed another mile, I walked and drank a few sips of Powerade, and starting with mile three, ate a few Sharkies. As I came up to the second water station near mile four, I could hear music, and when I got there was so happy to see our high school's drum line playing! I love this group - they always play in front of the stands where we sit during the football games, and their loud crashing beat was perfect to run to! Had a little more water, and soon after, started to see some of the fastest runners on their way back. They all looked like they were deep in concentration, really focused on the finish line. It's a whole different world for them - while my goal is to just finish the race, they actually have a chance at winning.
I finally got to the mile 5 turnaround - which happened to be on the access road to the highway. Although our lane was blocked off from traffic, I didn't really enjoy running with cars speeding past me at 60 mph as they entered the highway. Glad that was the shortest part of the race. Oh - a woman that I used to work out with was doing the run/walk/run method with some other ladies and I passed her as they were approaching the turn around - she got a fun picture of me:
I got to the 6 mile mark (and the drum line water station), had some water (and got some encouraging words from the race volunteers, which was so nice), ate a couple more Sharkies, and started running again, thinking "this is the farthest I've ever run" with every footstep. At 6.3 miles, I just ran out of gas. I was so tired. I couldn't see anyone ahead of me, and the people who were behind me were pretty far back. I started walking fast, trying to stand up straight to get some air into my lungs. Then, you know me, the tears started. I was able to choke them back for the most part because I knew that crying would make running all that much harder. But this was awful. I had been doing so well - I had 12 minute miles (or less) the whole way, and I was on track to meet my secret goal of finishing the race in two hours. Yes, I know I should not have set a time limit for my first ever 10 mile run, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking "I ran 5 miles in one hour, and 6 miles in 1:12 - I can do 10 in 2 hours even" - I know! I shouldn't have had any goal other than to finish. But I did. And the more I walked, the more frustrated with myself I got. I was approaching an intersection where a policeman was holding up traffic for the race, so I started running again. Crossed the intersection and I was spent. Walked. Mad at self. A little bit later, two women passed me, and they were going really slow. I told myself to just pace them - I could run that slow. So I did. Funny thing is, that when I looked at Ricky Bobby to see "our" pace? It was 12:00. I felt a little better, and then the mile 7 chimed - and I got the surprise of my life when I looked down to see that I was at 1:24 - I was still on track for finishing in two hours! That gave me confidence, and mile 7 was a good one.
Mile 8 - I could see the water station ahead. Far, far ahead, but it was there. I told myself that I just had to keep running until I got there - then I could walk. I got some water, had a couple more Sharkies (but could barely move my mouth to chew them at that point), and started running again...but at about 8.75, I had to walk again for a little bit. Then I realized that there was just over a mile left in this race - boy did that come up quick!
Mile 9 - I made it to about 9.25 before I stopped to walk a bit. Ran a bit more, then walked again...this was heading into the last part of the course, and it was uphill. I checked Ricky Bobby - my time was 1:55 - could I run half a mile in five minutes? Probably not, but it would be close. I was coming close to the turn-in to where the finish line was when I saw some of my running club peeps on the street, cheering me on! I dug deep and started running - Coach Erica got this picture of me, and you can tell how tired I was by my posture - but of course I was going to smile for the camera, lol!
I was running as fast as I could - just hoping I could keep going until the finish line...
And finished! My first 10 miles! In two hours exactly!!!I started Ricky Bobby right as I crossed the starting mats, and the race course was certified - don't know why it was a bit longer than 10 miles, but oh well.
The fun-loving director of the museum, Deborah, wearing a buffalo costume!
I should have gone back out to the street where my running club was - there was one more of "us" still on his way in. But I didn't think I could walk that distance...seriously, my legs were like lead. Still, I feel bad about that - the great thing about this club is the support and camaraderie and I feel like I received it without giving it back. Next time, I'll do better.
I thought this screenshot from Garmin was interesting - you can see the higher blips are where I walked, and boy howdy, you sure can see how I fell apart from mile 6 to mile 7, and then how I got it back together from mile 7 to mile 8. Also? That last blast toward the finish line? After running for nearly 10 miles, I was in the 8 minute range - ok, only for a few seconds, but still!
Mile 1 - 11:48 Mile 6 - 11:40
Mile 2 - 11:41 Mile 7 - 13:29
Mile 3 - 11:58 Mile 8 - 11:50
Mile 4 - 11:51 Mile 9 - 12:32
Mile 5 - 11:34 Mile 10 - 11:40
Average pace: 12:00/mile.
After the race, I went home and had an ice bath with a cup of hot coffee. Then we went out for my post-race reward:
Ginormous bowl of frozen yogurt - yum!
But you know what? I wasn't feeling all that well. The last few days, I'd felt like I was getting a cold, and then about an hour after I finished the race my stomach started hurting. Bad - like I'd taken a kick to the gut. It didn't stop me from the yogurt, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I ran a bit of a fever the rest of the day and into Sunday, so in retrospect, it's pretty amazing that I did as well as I did for the race.
This was a lot to ask of my body - to go from running six miles one week to ten the next. My running club coaches didn't recommend that we run the entire way, but of course I wanted to try - it's hard not to when you're in a race. Shoot, I felt like I needed to be running any time a car passed me by - as if they really cared. Obviously I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I'm just now realizing that. Quite honestly, it's very interesting to discover that this lazy person - yes, the one who will always choose the escalator over the stairs, the queen of sloth, is a bit competitive. With myself only, but I would have thought I'd have been happy to just complete the race. No, apparently I have goals. Who knew?