Monday, April 23, 2012

Race for Charlotte 10K

Sunday I completed my first 10K. I know that everyone says not to go in with a time goal on the first race of a new distance (I am also aware that I said I didn't have a goal in my last post), but I did want to go and finish in 1:05. This would give me about 10:30 miles... slow I know, but for me that's all I wanted. 

I was a little nervous going into the race for a few reasons: First, I had never run a 10K.Second, it was supposed to downpour the entire race and I had no idea how to dress.  Third, I wasn't sure how many people were racing and I didn't want to be the last person. Although I was nervous, I was determined not to let it psych (I can't figure out the right spelling even after googling... please forgive my spelling if it's wrong!) me out. I had a relaxing morning and hung out with my family and got ready to get to the race only 40 minutes early. I figured any earlier and I would stressing myself out and any later and I would have to shovel my way into the line up where everyone was. When we arrived at the race, I realized there were at least 3,000 people at the race. Luckily, the majority seemed to be doing the 5K run and walk, which was one of my biggest pet peeves about the race (more about that later). At 20 minutes until race time the announcer asked us to line up and my husband and daughter headed out to run some errands locally. Usually I would have expected them to stay around until the race officially started, but it was sprinkling and the threat of downpour was looming over us. I figured it wasn't worth them getting wet waiting for me. After 20 minutes of waiting, which felt like forever when you're by yourself (I'm extremely shy in social situations so I'm not one of those people that will just start talking to someone I don't know), we were off. 

This race was a learning experience for me for many reasons. The first thing I learned was that I hate when races have everyone line up by mile minutes and then just let us go all at once. The start of the race begins to resemble a herd of cattle. Everyone starts pushing through each other to get started and inevitably the people who are slower runners (like me) get caught up with people who really aren't as fast as they think they are, or are much faster. For someone like me who gets overwhelmed easily in social situations, it's not a positive way to start the race. I constantly am trying to find some place where I'm not on top of everyone to run. I usually run on the very outskirts of the street so that I can avoid the mad group of people. I now know that I need to be preparing myself not only to run, but the social anxiety that may come from a packed starting line. 

One of my goals this race was to really pay attention to my pace. I didn't want to start out at 8 minute miles because I let the adrenaline get the best of me. I started slow and I'm ashamed to admit it but my first mile and a half was probably an average of 11:30 - 12:00 minute miles. However, I'm really glad I did this because my mile 2 I had settled into a groove and when I checked my pace I varied between 8:30 and 9:30 minute paces up until about mile 4. At mile 4 I hit a wall. It wasn't that I had to stop running because I was tired. I had hit the mental wall and I'm sad to say it that it got the better of me for a short time. After allowing myself about .5 to walk, I forced myself to get back out there. Leading me to my second lesson learned, I am stronger than my mind makes me think. Now that I have finished this race, I know that I can push myself further and harder because I have proved to myself that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. 

When I ran that last mile all I could imagine was in a few months I would be crossing a finish line after running 13.1 miles and that the accomplished feeling I felt running this 10K would only be magnified. This brings me to my last lesson learned. When I finished the race and got my official results later in the afternoon, I realized that there were only 30 people who had finished after me out of 560. I was so embarrassed when I shared that with my husband, which made me realized an important thing. I don't just want to finish my races, I want to win. OK, I know that I'm not going to ideally win any races because I'm not an elite runner, but if I have to be honest with myself, I want to at least be in the first half of the racers.  It's to finish the race and be proud that I did the best I possibly could. Now that I have a few races under my belt, it's time for me to stop "trying to finish" and time for me to start "giving it my all." This might have been the hardest race I've done, but one of the biggest learning steps for me in my training for my 1/2 marathon and as a runner. 

Now that I've shared my experience, I'd thought I'd share some of the few images from my day. As the weather gets nicer, I'll try to get more images to add from each of my races.

Baby Bubs and I post race. Proudly finished 1:04:56. 

Baby Bubs and the Hubs post race. Proudly holding my race number.

Race for Charlotte 10K (April 22, 2010 )

What were some of your most memorable first races? Why were they so memorable to you? 

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