Remember all my PANIC TRAINING? Per usual, it turns out that Past Stimey is awesome and totally knew what she was doing. I ran all ten miles of the Reston 10-miler (minus 0.1-0.2 mile stretches at each of three water stations that I walked) and I did it in (just barely) under two hours and ten minutes, which is exactly what I’d hoped to do.
Side note: It’s funny that I call them “races,” considering that they are much more like “running events,” considering I ain’t racing nobody.
Except for myself, of course. I race that bitch hard.
So anywho, I was sidelined in the last week before the race by a particularly virulent cold. It arrived on Tuesday and I spent the next five days trying to sit perfectly still and willing myself to get better.
I was really worried, because under the best of situations, I was concerned that I wasn’t going to finish under the two-hour, fifteen-minute course limit. Inability to breathe or sneezing fits weren’t going to help me finish with the slim cushion I had.
Fortunately, I felt a LOT better by race day and even though I wasn’t at 100%, I probably ran at the same pace I would have if I hadn’t been sick. See, I wasn’t aiming for fast. I was aiming to finish.
(And I did. Woo!)
You know how some people run marathons and ultras and go for 15-mile runs like it ain’t no thang? Those people be hard core. I have a secret to tell you: Ten miles is really far to run. When I caught myself thinking, “Well, no matter what, worst case scenario, in another hour and a half, this will all be over,” it came home to me that ten miles is long.
I broke my run into little milestones, with the goal being to not think past the next one.
3 miles: I made it to the first water station! Break time!
3.1 miles: I ran a 5k!
3.33 miles: I’m a third of the way done!
4 miles: Almost halfway there!
5 miles: Really halfway there!
5.5 miles: Only a half mile until the next water station. A half mile is nothing.
6 miles: Water station!
6.2 miles: I just ran a 10k!
6.9 miles: Only a 5k to run. I can run a 5k any day.
7.2 miles: I want to walk. I really want to walk. I am not going to walk.
7.5 miles: This (aka, Desperation Sets In):
8 miles: This is now officially the longest race I have ever run.
8.2 miles: Oh, thank God, the water stop that was supposed to be at mile 8.5 is early! THANK THE GOOD LORD! I will now take my short, sanctioned water-stop walk.
8.5 miles: According to the course elevation map, I just crested the last hill. Only one and a half miles to go—and they’re all downhill! Piece of motherfucking cake!
9 miles: Not a piece of cake. But only one mile. On a good day, I could hop one mile if I wanted to. (It’s no longer a good day.)
9.5 miles: This race is never going to end.
9.7ish miles: I can almost see the finish line, but the course takes a windy route down and around a turnaround and then back up a veeeery slight uphill that will almost kill me.
10 miles: I DID IT! Except that unless you run the very edge of a course, you are always going to run longer than the official distance. Only .2 miles to go. Not only can you do this, Stimey, but you should be able to speed up juuuust a smidge.
10.2 miles: FINISH LINE! I REALLY DID IT! VICTORY IS MINE! I AM AWESOME! Oh, shit. How far away is my car?
10.7 miles: I am at my car. It finally feels safe to stop moving.
Yeah, that was hard. I was just barely trained enough to run that. Also, why—when I did a lot of long runs with absolutely no foot pain—did I develop blisters at mile four during this race? I don’t understand that.
All said, I’m proud of me. I pushed myself and I met my goal. Now I know I can do it—and knowing that is worth every tenth of a mile I ran.