February 27, 2012 – I posted a picture of my first pair of real running shoes on Facebook. A pair of Saucony Guide 4s. They were blue and white and very plain looking compared to the wild colored shoes I buy these days. I wrote on that post “10K, here I come!” I had planned to run the River Run 10K that June. I didn’t have a training plan. I didn’t know about long runs, easy runs, and speedwork. I just figured I could slowly build up my mileage and get to the 6.2. I didn’t make it. I could list a bunch of excuses as to why I didn’t, but I’ll just say I wasn’t ready. The runner in me was still dormant. She wasn’t ready to make her debut just yet.
Fast forward two years…February 2014 saw me start a training plan for a half marathon. I was ready for the distance. I had all the running knowledge. I had prettier shoes…Saucony Guide 7s in a shiny blue with hot pink accents. But that 10K still lurked in the back of my mine. I’d never raced a distance longer than 4 miles. I did manage to complete a 10K before my half…the neurotic side of me wouldn’t have had it any other way. But it wasn’t the River Run. It wasn’t the race that I had FAILED to make it to two years ago.
So this race was a big bucket list item for me. I’m a very different person than I was two years ago. I’m many pounds lighter, several pants sizes smaller. I’m stronger, because I run. I’m happier, because I run. I’m a runner.
The race was an early start…7am. I got up at 4:45 to go through my paces. PB on toasted English Muffin bread. Coffee. Bathroom. Race kit check list. I wore my neon orange Runner Girl tank. I really was Neon Runner Girl for this race!
I had to drive myself to the race because Noel and John were doing the 2 mile at 9:30 and I didn’t want them waiting around for me the entire time. It worked out for my mom to drive them in and then I took over Mark duties while they ran their race.
If you’ve read one of my race reports before, you know the drive to the race is the worst part for me. And this time, I had to do it alone. I couldn’t rock in the back seat, fighting down bile. I had to do it from the driver’s seat. It was a rough ride, but I managed to make it there. I got a good parking spot and headed to the village. I ran into a few people, chatted a bit, hit the porta potties, and then did a few dynamic warm-ups to get ready. I lined up in the middle of the pack.
This race always starts with a big cannon, which made me jump like usual. I managed to keep myself under control and not start out too fast. I knew I wasn’t going to PR due to the heat and humidity, but I told myself I would happy if I could come in under 1:05…under a 10:30 pace. I hadn’t run more than 4 miles since my half almost a month ago, so I was a bit undertrained.
I used my usual 4:1 run/walk, so I played leap frog with people until the runners spaced out. I had cotton mouth for the first two miles and the first aid station was a welcome relief. I gulped down a big cup of water, but waited until mile 3 to take in half a bag of Stinger chews in my usual cherry cola flavor. I order them by the box from Amazon now. Ha.
The first three miles were nice. There was a cool breeze and it wasn’t too hot yet. The River Fest had launched hot air balloons earlier than morning, and they were fun to watch until I reached the turn around point where we crossed the river.
Here’s the balloons above the GoRun tent. Love my running store! Photo credit: GoRun Wichita
Once we hit the turn around, I could feel the heat starting to climb. The breeze kind of died, and the sun started beating down. I kept my breathing under control to avoid any side cramps. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with any cramping the whole race. I drank another cup of water at mile 4, but I only took a couple sips at mile 5 and dumped the rest down my back.
I just kept a steady pace, trying to stay under 10:30 until I got close to the finish. I did some quick math in my head and knew I was going to have to book it a bit once I got across the bridge. And then I realized where I was running…the finish line of the 10K was in the same spot as the finish line of the half marathon. I had a brief flash back and got a bit choked up. I was hurting big time running this same route not even a month ago.
I felt a sense of vindication and redemption as I plowed across that bridge…no foot pain, no side ache…just a good 10K finish. I had looked down at my watch and saw 1:04:20. Ack…better get the sprint legs going. I had plenty left in the tank and made it across the finish line with a smile. Official time: 1:04:55. Perfect.
It helps to know the race photographer. You can holler her name as you get close and she’ll get a perfect shot. Photo credit: Karlee from Running Connection
I headed for the water and oranges and then made my way over to the GoRun tent where I was meeting my boys and my mom. I got to chat with the store’s team members while I waited. It’s nice to be accepted even by the fasties, who I think all walked away with hardware.
I got a little queasy waiting around for the 2 mile to start, but I finally forced myself to drink some electrolyte drink and eat a few more oranges. I have decided I need to pack a recovery bag for races where I don’t go straight home after. I usually can’t eat most of the food they have…no pizza, no donuts…too much dairy. I needed a Clif bar and some salty pretzels bad!
As for my boys, they both had GREAT races. John ran his first race in his Flying Angels uniform. Noel ran with him to pace him and keep him going. It turns out John had other ideas. He came flying into the finish line at 17:20, with a HUGE grin on his face. I got over to him and asked where Daddy was. He just looked up at me and said, “I don’t know. He’s back there somewhere. I beat him!” He had told Noel he was going to beat him and he certainly lived up to that. Noel finished in 18:10…a 2 mile PR for him.
Noel’s in blue and John’s in glasses to his right. I love my running family!