I have done 99% of my running since June indoors on the treadmill because it was just too hot outside. In preparation for this past Saturday’s 5k, I tried a couple of outside runs, just to acclimatize myself. They didn’t go horribly but they didn’t go well either. I couldn’t even make it one mile without walking for a few seconds. Running outside is harder, no doubt. The hard part is keeping a sustainable pace. On the treadmill I run at about 13:20 minute mile but outside, with no machine telling me how fast to go, I was running quite a bit faster, which I didn’t know until I got home and mapped the run. Turns out that one of the runs I averaged 12:08 minute mile and the other 12:15, over 1 minute faster than I’m used to, and I just couldn’t keep it up. I didn’t even run 2 miles either time, I was beat, the heat and the humidity were pretty bad. This made me worried about the race. If I couldn’t run 2 miles, (or 1 mile without walking), how was I going to run 3.1 miles?
On race day, I was scared. On the drive there I had a huge knot in the pit of my stomach. I was scared shitless. I had paid my entry fee and I wasn’t going to forfeit it, plus I couldn’t let myself fail without even trying, so I soldiered on. The weather was good for running. It was was overcast, breezy and it actually rained for the first half of the race so it was cooling. When people started lining up, I pushed my way to the front, not sure why, then all of a sudden, as people started running, a swarm of lycra and tech shirts just ran past me and I felt like I was dead last. For the first half mile or so I kept looking back, just to make sure I wasn’t last. Thankfully, I was not even close. I knew I wasn’t going to win but I didn’t want to be dead last either.
By the time I made it to the water station at mile 1, I was drenched in rain water and according to my watch, only just over 11 minutes had passed. That was fast for me. It felt surprisingly good. You just don’t feel the humidity when it’s actually raining. Pretty much the entire time I kept thinking to myself “Why the f&%$ am I doing this?” By the time I was 1.5 miles into the run, the crazy fast runners were already passing me on the way back. Even a woman wearing very little and pushing a stroller was already coming back. I was trying really hard to keep a pace I could maintain, to run my own race and not everyone else’s.
The hardest part was the last 0.2 miles or so because I could see the finish line. I could also see it getting further and further away. This stretch was on sand (this was also the beginning of the race), some of it was compacted and but some was not. I kept running and the damned chute kept getting further away. Finally, when I was close enough to it that I felt I could sprint without burning myself before making it, I did it. I ran fast, as fast as my little heart and worn out legs could bear at that point. As I crossed that finish line, all the “What the f%$£ am I doing?” feelings had gone away and I was just so freaking proud of myself that I had actually done it and so freaking happy that I HAD done it that it was now over. I crossed the finish line at 36:49 minutes and I thought my heart was going to stop when I stopped sprinting. That put me an average of 11:52 minute mile. That is the fastest I’ve run since I started running in June. I’m happy with that time and I am not even beating myself up for walking 3 times for about 5 seconds each. I did MUCH better than I expected.
Pretty much all the official pictures of me sucked. You don’t realize how horrible you look and the faces you pull while running until you see pictures. My own personal photographer, my husband, did a silly as well. He thought I was going to take 45 minutes or so to run so he decided to go on a beach walk. He was not at the finish line when I crossed it so not only did he not take pictures but he missed the climax of my very first race. I was heartbroken but I will let him off this once because he was trying to keep the kiddo entertained.
I’m ready for the next race (though I’m freaking out about the 10k in November) and I might register for another 5k soon!!!!