Tuesday, November 29, 2011

6.2 Miles of Pure Running Glory: A Race Recap

Dudes, I have officially ran 6.2 miles in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Holla. At. Your. Girl.

I have so much to tell you I don't even know where to begin. So let's start with the fact that I ran Thanksgiving morning. It was a short 4 miles of pure hell. Not even kidding. I was still getting over the sickness, and all the congestion in my chest decided to come out and play. Not cool.

Then I gorged on turkey, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, dressing, cranberry salad, green bean bundles and pecan pie. And that happened all day long. It was amazing. I know why Thanksgiving only comes once a year.

On Friday, I didn't eat much better than Thursday. With the Wings Over the Prairie Festival in full swing, I had to follow with tradition and have my yearly after Thanksgiving corndog and funnel cake...and cinnamon sugan pecans.

So nobody had a clue what my 10K would look like Saturday morning. But it turned out pretty good.
It was a crisp mid-50s morning. And it was only to get warmer, which I wasn't upset about. I'd rather have hotter than colder any day of the week. By the time the race started, I ditched the pink pullover to avoid having to carry it later on.

Let's back up to before we left the house: I found this prayer on Pinterest a while ago. So that morning in the quiet of waiting to leave the house, I said these words silently over and over. And I also asked the Big Guy to carry me if my run looked anything like Thursday's torturefest.
Back to the race: My mom and I had a plan. At every mile, we would walk one minute. We positioned ourselves in the mid-back of the pack of runners. After the 9-minute-mile starting pace mishap at Race for the Cure, I knew I needed to get a groove all my own and not worry about how far ahead the other runners were. But let me just say...it did bother me. My competitive side came out to play during the race, but more on that later.

Mile 1 was a nice warm up. The wind was coming from the South so it was blowing right in our faces.

Mile 2 was hell on earth. Not even kidding. Running straight into the wind with nothing to block it was very tiring and a little overwhelming. I really wanted it to be over. I'm pretty sure I was a gem to run with for mile 2. My mom, God bless her, had to put up with my moaning and groaning about the wind and how far it was until we turned out of the crazy wind.

Mile 3 was uneventful.

Mile 4 we played catch up. There were a few runners in front of us that we could catch. So we decided to increase our pace to catch them. It felt good to speed up. I'm not sure if it truly felt good, or if adrenaline kicked in to compensate for my competitive nature. Either way, it doesn't matter.

Mile 5, the mile I've ran up to but never ran through, we passed the two runners in front of us. Not gonna lie. It felt good. I had trained for that moment, but I didn't know it. The pace was still faster than it was when we started. And my mom felt good so she was like a speed demon.

By mile 6, I had decided I had passed all the people I was going to pass. I settled into my pace to finish out the race.

Mile 6.2 I crossed the finish line. People were screaming. My mom and dad were waiting for me. The roommate was yelling like a fool. It was amazing. There is no feeling like that in the whole world. Knowing that you finished something only you can finish is a true accomplishment.

It was perfect. I never caught a cramp. Never had any issues with my breathing. It truly was the most perfect run I could have had. I thank the Big Guy for blessing me such greatness.

Post race celebration consisted of trying not to fall down. My hips hurt so bad after the race was over. Every step I took was a constant, painful reminder of what I had just put my body through. Clearly my legs were pissed. I finished 6th in my age division and 116th overall (maybe...I could have just made that up.), and my mom got a medal for finishing third in her age division.

But there is something that needs to be said about running and racing. And this is my personal philosophy. So take it as you will, good or bad.

Running is personal. For me, it's an outlet for everything else. It's a way to push yourself to the limit. It's fun to set goals and work toward them. To see yourself improve. To challenge yourself to be better than the last time you ran. It's about YOU. Not about everyone else that runs.

Running should never be used to tear other people down, runners and non-runners alike. Now I get that a race has a different atmosphere, but it still should be about you.

I ran this 10K for me. I ran it to see if I could do it. If I had it in me to complete it. To race the clock. The passing people during the race was part of it. It was not something I really cared about, but my competitive nature kicked in and it happened. Not once did I or will I ever use my finishing a race to make other people feel bad about themselves. Other people have the power to do that for themselves, they don't need the extra help.

It made me really sad to see people asking about finishing times and gloating about how their time was better. Or hearing "Oh, I'm sorry you didn't place. Maybe next year." with a pat on the back and a smirk on their lips. That's not what it's about.

Running is personal. It's about you. It's you and the clock. Or you and a former finishing time. Or you and a problem you're trying to hash out. It should never be about other people.

All I'm saying is don't use a race, or even a normal run with your usual running buddy, to tear other people down. They are out there trying just as hard as you. Congratulate them for finishing. Build them up. Making them feel good about their run. Because it's about each person's own journey through the run that matters, and nothing else.

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