June 26, 2011

Cancer Challenge 10K

I ran my first 10K yesterday and set a new PR! This is the fourth local race that I've run, and it's definitely one of my favorite events, second only to the Bentonville Half Marathon. I haven't run any long distances since the half, so I was very worried about how this race would go.

The night before, I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep. I had my snazzy new orange and blue outfit laid out with by bib pinned on and my chip already on my shoe. I checked and double checked to make sure my Garmin was charging, and I made sure my favorite playlist was ready to go on my iPod. In the car on the way to the race, Trea and I were talking about how long it took us to finish the course last weekend when we ran it for practice. It was tough with big hills, and it took us 1:12, which we weren't happy about. I thought maybe if we were lucky, we could finish in 1:10. Maybe. Trea said, "Nah, I think we can do it in an hour, or an hour and five minutes." I told him he was crazy and that you can't shave off 5-10 minutes just because you want to.

Boy, was I wrong.

Ready for 6.2!

There was a 5K that started at the same time as the 10K, and I was not looking forward to a crowded start, dodging little kids and walkers. But we didn't have any issues at all because they lined us up on the road facing opposite directions - we got in one lane, and the 5K runners got in the other. The gun went off, and we all went in different directions, which sounds chaotic but wasn't. We had no problems getting started and running a good pace immediately. In fact, I was running a lot faster than I needed to be, but there's always this urge to keep up with everyone else at the beginning of a race. I KNOW not to start too fast, but I do it every time. I was thinking when the field spread out a little, we would slow down into the pace we knew we had to run to make it all the way to the finish. But for some reason, I just kept running way too fast.

I kept watching my pace, but not doing anything about it, so I ran the first 2 miles worrying myself sick that I was going to hit the dreaded wall when I got to the huge hills on Tiger Blvd. I ran with my Nathan Sprint handheld filled with G2, so I pretty much ignored the water stops and just focused on taking little sips every 5-10 minutes. Trea, however, hit every water stop so he could pour water on his head. When we got to the biggest hill, I slowed down a lot. I was struggling and I could hear my heavy breathing over my music, which is never a good sign. I was starting to feel awful and had convinced myself that I had overdone it at the start and I was going to end up walking at some point.

And then I saw my friends!

I was so happy to see friendly faces!

My sweet running friends had gotten up early, woken up their little ones, and trekked to the top of the hill with funny signs to cheer us on at the hardest part of the course. I knew they were there and had seen them at the start, but I didn't expect to see them again until the finish line. The three couples - Charles and Jenn, Lori and Jason, Tiffany and John - had a total of 6 kids with them, so I was surprised to see them in the middle of the course. It was just the boost I needed! Even though I really wanted to sit down on the curb with the kiddos, I was able to push ahead and make it up the next big hill. Trea and I spectated the Race for the Cure, so I know how exhausting it is to walk and cheer all morning. I cannot express enough how much I appreciated them!!

After we made it past the hills, we only had 2 miles left and I started to relax a little. I knew at this point that I could make it all the way and keep a decent pace. I kept checking my watch and realized we could actually finish quite a bit faster than we had in training. I had expected to be one of the last to finish, but the closer we got, the faster I ran. First, I just wanted to come in under 1:10. But then I realized we could do even better than that. When we saw the finish line and the big huge clock counting the seconds, I ran as fast as I could. I wanted to come in under 1:07, and I knew I wouldn't make it if I didn't sprint. I crossed the finish line at a 6:19 pace and my official chip time was 1:06:48! So I guess Trea was right; maybe you can shave off 5 minutes if you aren't afraid to push yourself. I had nothing left at the finish line, which is just how it should be. I did my best, had a great run, and I couldn't be happier with the way things turned out. 

We made it!

About the event
The Cancer Challenge did a great job putting together a fun event, and one of my favorite things was the course map. Instead of posting a blurry homemade PDF on their website, they linked to someone's run on Garmin Connect! Since I run with a Garmin, I'm familiar with this site and use it all the time. It was awesome to be able to zoom in and see exactly where the course went and see the elevation. ALSO, I noticed a handy little button on the Garmin page that said "Send To Device." I clicked this, and it transmitted the course map to my Garmin, so when Trea and I went out to practice last weekend, I just followed the arrows on  my watch and didn't have to worry about remembering every little turn. Thank you, Cancer Challenge!

This race also had the best goody bag I've ever gotten. We got a t-shirt, a hat, and a super nice backpack by Outdoor Products filled with TONS of samples and fun stuff. Most of the products were for women, so Trea wasn't as impressed, but that means I got double!

The event was well-organized, parking was easy and it wasn't too crowded. There were plenty of water stops along the way, though it would've been nice to have mile markers and the traffic could've been controlled a lot better. I came way too close to cars on several occasions when I thought at least one lane of the road had been closed for us. At the finish line, a volunteer handed me an icy cold rag. By my reaction, you would've thought she had given me a $100 bill. That cold cloth was amazing, and I was so grateful for it. There was plenty of fresh fruit and ice cold water for finishers, and the results were posted online within about 24 hours. All in all, it was a very well run event, and it's one I hope to run again next year!

1 comment:

  1. Girl, you KILLED that 10K - way to go!!! You ran smart - taking in the couse before the race so there are no surprises, good move.

    And how sweet of your friends to come out and cheer for y'all! Spectators are the best!

    Can't wait to see what you do next...



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