If ever there were a time my faith in finishing the half marathon were restored during this training, it was yesterday, when I ran my first 10K.
Sure, it was only a half of what I’ll endure in October, but I ran this shit with ease. I ran 5 miles without stopping before I finally did break to walk for 10 seconds – and then I ran non-stop again until I hit the finish line.
During a time when my training has gone down dramatically (reason being there are more miles to squeeze in time-wise every week, and I’ve run the biggie of 10 so feel like that was a big hurdle), I needed to know I could still go strong at greater distances. Apparently, I can. So, yay!
I ran the Roller Coaster Race at Six Flags in Agawam, two rounds on a 3.1 mile loop that took you from inside the park to up the slanted walkways to get in/out of the park, through the streets of town and then into the back entrance of the park, where you ran alongside Bizarro and comic-centric backdrops, before making it back through the main strip.
When I picked up my packet the night before the race I was pretty stoked – there was a race shirt! There was a bib! The race shirt said RUNNER – oh my god, does this mean I’m official?!
I’d also have Boy waiting for me at the finish line, a first.
We all compacted ourselves at the start, and for a good 30 seconds after the gun went off I was crowded, then broke away as we snaked up a small hill to head out of the park.
It got crowded again on the exit ramps because there is only so much space, but I didn’t let that discourage me. As we ran out through the parking lot I found myself keeping pace with another girl; we’d alternate in falling back a little, but would always catch up to one another. She has no idea, but she was great motivation.
We ran across a street and into a little neighborhood area, then back into a Six Flags lot, which ended up taking us back into the park. That was a little daunting, as it was on uneven gravel and cracked rocks, so I was more concerned about not twisting an ankle over anything.
Back into the park, past Bizarro, and into the main strip, with the finish line in view – but I was only halfway done. As a 5K was also an option, the 10Kers had to run the loop twice, and as I crossed the start I looked frantically for Boy – I needed some inspiration. I found him, phone at the ready for pictures. I smiled and gave him a little wave, and he smiled back, and I got so amped up that for a good 30 seconds after I saw him I felt nauseous and thought I was going to puke, buuttt that soon passed, and I was back up the exit ramp, still running strong. And, I later found out, he caught a good one:
LOOKIN’ LIKE A REAL RUNNER AGAIN, FOLKS.
I was all the way back into that little neighborhood part when my left leg started to cramp. Painfully. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to stop running and walk it out – however, I had made it FIVE MILES, NON-STOP at that point. Hell. Yes.
As I neared the finish line I kept my speed steady, and as I crossed and grabbed my medal I could see I was at the one hour mark – not a bad time for my first 10K, and right around what I was hoping for. My official time was 1:01:14, putting me in 70th place out of 147.
My first medal. My first 10K. My first time feeling like an honest runner.
Oh, Brooklyn. I am SO coming for you.