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I’ve been hesitant to set a goal for my first half marathon. And a few weeks ago a fellow mother runner suggested that I register for the Perfect 10-Miler and use it as a ‘training’ run. I figured, heck! why not! I usually do my long runs on Sundays anyways. I should have only been up to 7 miles for my long runs (according to my training program), but the several weeks before I had been up to 9 miles.
But I was nervous. Mega nervous. The race was early (7:30 AM) and about 30 minutes from home. So Chad & Moosh stayed home. I arrived early for packet pickup and was able to get some pre-race support from a twitter friend — in person! It was great to meet Mark after years of being friends on twitter. And he managed to talk me through my nerves and we started the race together. Forever grateful to him for that!
I used Runkeeper to track my pace (I keep forgetting to charge my Garmin). My only goal was to finish, but I have this problem where I tend to just run whatever pace everyone else is running. Which can be no bueno.
Again, with few expectations and just wanting to finish the longest distance I’ve ever run, I noticed a few miles in that I was at about an 8 minute 40 second pace. HOLY SMOKES! I had to ‘check’ myself and remind myself that there were many, many, more miles to go. So around mile 4, I met up with another Cleveland MRTT (Moms Run This Town) member and I ran with her for a while. She said she was hoping to finish under 1:45. I told her “Yeah, that sounds good to me too.”
But after a while, I started to feel SO good again, so I picked up the pace. The one thing I truly love about races (and think that I’m going to love even more with these longer distance races) is that there is always another runner/stranger that is willing to keep you on pace. You kind of just find your groove and stay with that person, whether it be for a mile or two miles or four.
The first moment I really started to feel the distance was around mile 6.5-7. I spotted a spectator sign that said “Donuts ahead!” that made me want to vomit. Yuck. No thanks. But I kept going.
I looked down at my pace. I was on pace to finish under one hour and 30 minutes. And I really kicked those last couple miles into high gear. But I couldn’t have done it without a stranger whose name I failed to get. The last mile consisted of a pretty intense hill. The completely flat course ended with a steep hill. Ugh. The irony. The moment I knew I was losing it was the moment my breathing became labored. As a yogi, I know that breathing is key in keeping the mind and body calm; but during that hill my breathing slipped up. The shortness of breath started and the gal next to me looked at me and said “You can do this! Just keep moving with me! We’ll take it slow!” And we did.
By the time I made it to the top of the hill, a random guy next to me said “What’s your time?” and I finally looked down. 1 hour 26 1/2 minutes. He said “Oh snap! You can make it!”
The whole time I had known I could potentially finish the 10 mile race in under 90 minutes (a 9 minute per mile pace); but it wasn’t until that very moment where I realized — “Holy s***! I can do this!” I kicked it into high gear. (PS. I saw the race photos from this point and they are U-G-L-Y!).
My official time was 1:29:45. And 8 minute 59 second pace. And my longest distance ever. !!!!! ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS !!!!!
I freaking finished a 10 mile race in under an hour and 30 minutes. That’s less than a 9-minute mile. All. The. SHOCK.
When I finished I nearly threw up. And then after that passed I thought “GIVE ME ALL THE FOOD IN THE UNIVERSE!!” And really all of the food ended up being 3 bites of a bagel and half a banana. Later that day I tried to eat an actual meal. I was starved and packed my plate full of carbs. … and I barely touched them. Ugh.
Food or no food, I am incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support I received via social media for my ‘big win!’
— markgdavis (@markgdavis) August 10, 2014
To those friends I’ve met only once; to those friends I’ve met several times; and to those I’ve yet to meet — THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart! <3
Okay, okay… here’s my official race review:
The course // Mostly flat. But that last hill was killer. Perhaps intentional, but killer nonetheless. The rest of the course was flat. Pre-race I glanced at the course map and thought “Hey I know this area!” but during the run I had NO idea where I was. Geographically, I failed.
The spectators // Just a few people. MRTT came out to support us, which was awesome. I actually met our group leader for the first time while I noticed she was cheering for us 2 miles from the finish. In a completely delusional state, I stopped to shake her hand and say “Hi Katie! I’m Rachel!” and then continued running. In retrospect, it was funny. Who does that!? Other than that, there were VERY few spectators. And LOTS of cars getting rerouted in traffic. They looked pretty angry.
Water stations // Water was a-plenty! And I was SO grateful for the stations where they had hoses to spray on us. THAT really and truly pushed me through to the end. Especially the last water station. THAT one really pushed me through.
The runners // I mentioned that I wouldn’t have gotten up the dreaded hill without the support of a stranger, and it’s true. She pushed me and inspired me to finish strong. And of everyone I met — other MRTT-ers, and just strangers in the bathroom line, I was impressed by their support. Just a simple nod or a “good luck,” or a “See ya out there – you can do it!”
The Swag // The technical t-shirt is so great and comfortable. Post-race snacks and entertainment were great as well. Donut holes, bagel holes, and bananas. Plus discounts to many Legacy Village area restaurants. Bonus? My fave protein bars in the swag bag and post-race. I mayyyy have stashed up on those bad boys. Oh – and there was a medal. 🙂