Monday, October 18, 2010

Halloween 10k Race

Distance: 6.2 mi. (10k)
Time: 1:18:50
Pace: 12:43 mi/min
Time of Day: 8 a.m.
Weather: close to 60°F., sun coming up over the buildings downtown; just a beautiful morning!

This race was a winner for me! 

I have been lax about running recently for a variety of weak reasons. I was out of town a couple of times, I had a miserable head cold for about a week, and The Love also was sick-just not the same times as me…really weak excuses. In fact, at one point last week I told The Love I wasn't going to run this race. But then I changed my mind and decided I would give it a go and if I ended up walking—well, walking was exercise and better than giving up totally. I also told him he didn't have to attend the race because it was just 6 miles, he had poker Saturday night, he was getting over his vicious cold, etc.

So I went to the race by myself. I found a parking spot pretty close to the finish line. Yeah! It was kind a weird being by myself. Running seems to me to be a group sport, especially this kind of race where the element of "fun" is front & center. It was hilarious to see all the costumes. Some were elaborate as in the guy with the refrigerator box-sized pink Cadillac that he literally carried the entire race. Some were just a token costume like the funky plastic head band. But there lots and lots of groups of people. I felt pretty alone at the start.

But as the race progressed I embraced that singleness. I watched my pace closely so I didn't get caught up in the out-of-the-gate-9-minute-mile. I set a goal to finish around 12:45 min/mi. As groups fell apart I chugged along by myself passing first this person and then that person. As I went up and down the hills I pumped my arms hard and slowed my pace slightly, using the downhills to recover. I did walk about 1/4 mile up a hill that was the 2nd of two hills in a row and the 3rd in a sequence of hills. That was at around 2.5 miles. But after that it was pretty smooth sailing. I fell into a groove a couple of times which was a great feeling. I finished pretty strong. 

This race brought into focus for me a couple of things. First, I am not as slow as I used to be . I was looking back at the first race I ever ran last February. It was 5 miles and I ran at a 13:01 min/mi. The Son ran with me as support and he kept me going. I believe I would have been much slower if I had been running alone. The Family ROC race I ran in September was a 5k and I ran at 11:49 min/mi. Half the distance of this 10k and I was less than a minute faster there. I am not speedy by any means, and I think I don't really care any more. I will continue to work on speed because I know I can improve. But I'm content with aiming for a consistent 12 min. mile. 

The second thing I realized is that I have a solid running base. I haven't run much the past month and I would have to look at my log to see the last time I ran 6 miles. But I was able to do it yesterday! I have a, dare I say, solid base to operate from. It is awesome knowing that I really can run 6 miles and feel good at the end.

The final thing I learned yesterday is that I can do this by myself. I navigated the race site before and after. I didn't forget where I parked the car. And most important of all I monitored my running, adjusting pace when necessary, motivating myself when needed, cheering myself along. I can do this. I missed having The Love with me yesterday (especially the towel he hands me at the end to wipe away the sweat). His smiling face at the finish line is a joy! But I did it all by myself yesterday. And that is huge for me!

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