My first 10k has come and gone, and I FINISHED.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather Saturday morning. It was a crisp 38 degrees or so, but once we got moving it was the perfect temperature. There was a pretty big crowd standing around while we waited for the start (which maybe was almost as hard as the actual race! the anticipation! ah! the anticipation!) and Megan and I edged our way towards the chute pretty quickly when we saw the herd making its way over. There were about 1,500 runners–about 400 doing the 10k and the rest doing the 5k. We all started together though, so we wanted to make sure we weren’t all the way at the back. In our effort to accomplish this, though, we somehow ended up at the very front (not where 9:20 milers belong!) so our goal for mile 1 quickly became to not fall or be trampled.
The start was just fine though, and our first mile was comfortably fast (8:48 I think?) The first half of the race didn’t kick my butt too badly, and Megan did a great job of pacing us (I have no concept of pace yet! Gah!) Somewhere around mile 4, though, I started to slip away from her. Like the amazingly good friend that she is, she slowed very briefly, turned around and said “Get up here!” let me catch up, and then resumed the pace. As we got closer to the hill of death and the 5-mile mark, I felt myself slipping back again. “Don’t cross your arms, keep them down, in through your nose, out through your mouth…” I heard her words reverberating through my mind as, for a brief second I thought I just maybe was going to puke. As we neared the hill she hollered back at me “Do you WANT to watch my butt all the way up this hill? Get up here!” I did catch her at the bottom of the hill, and I stayed with her through it.
When we reached the top there were volunteers cheering for everyone going by, telling us we only had a mile to go. From that point, you can see most of that mile though, and it sure looked longer. At this point I was DEFINITELY struggling. Megan turned around every so often, telling me “It’s less than 9 minutes now! You’re fine!” I really did try to stay with her but as we turned the last bend towards the finish she broke away. She didn’t abandon me though–her dad (who had finished like 15 minutes before) was along the sidelines and she hollered to him to help me out. And he did. He ran along the path for a good quarter mile telling me to finish strong, that I was almost there, to just go for it. (And, not to sound like a lame-o who needs all sorts of help to run a race, but MAN did that help me.) And when I got close enough to the finish line to see that I was dangerously close to missing my sub-hour goal, I finally did go for it, and sprinted to the finish. (I had more left in me than I thought–duly noted for the next one.)
Megan finished about 50 seconds ahead of me, and was waiting with a hug when I got there. Not to be all cheesetastic, but I really don’t think I could have done it without her. Every time I slowed a little, or brought my arms up too high, or didn’t stride out enough on a downhill stretch, she was right by my side reminding me what to do right, and that I had run this far before (something I had actually forgotten for a minute there.)
We’d been discussing a half marathon in July, and before Saturday my committment to it was tentative (I mean HELLO? Can I even survive less than half that distance?? I had my doubts.) But now I’m all in. (Also, Megan put our training schedule into a color-coded spreadsheet–I couldn’t let that go to waste.) So I’m back where I was three weeks ago, in a way. Another race ahead of me that I’ve never attempted before, and feeling the apprehension that comes with trying something new. Somehow it’s less scary now though, because I know I have someone who will pull me through. (Also, color-coded training! How could this not work?!)
So thanks, friend. Couldn’t have, and wouldn’t have done it without you.