Once upon a time, I used to like running. But I also liked playing tennis. And dancing. I was never very good at committing to one thing in high school. Looking back, I wish I had started earlier trying to excel at one sport. But over the years I’ve spent my time bouncing around new challenges, returning to running from time to time. Last year was the first time I actually started to get serious about running, creating a routine and improving my endurance. But then I hurt myself. Twice. Recovering from injury and then starting a new job with a long commute in the winter completely destroyed my momentum.
But then the spring came. I started to get back out running again. And then I met a cute guy named Jeremy (ooooooh) who encouraged me to do more. He went running with me and helped me stay positive. He then signed me up for a 10K race. Because hey, why not? I like challenges, and goals, and having something to look forward to. So I started training for my first race.
I don’t like feeling like I’m slow. Years of reading running blogs and seeing fast friends post results on Facebook makes me very competitive. But I’m coming to terms with accepting my slower pace and achieving endurance for longer distances. As an injury prone person in daily life, taking it easy is advice I can’t take often enough.
Anyway. Suddenly 10K weekend was upon us. We had a crew going out to Cooperstown to camp for the weekend. On Friday night, we accidentally all got a little crazy and didn’t exactly get the best night of sleep. Saturday we road tripped out to our camp site, filling up the car with food and belongings. The night was ridiculously cold for a weekend in August, so sleep was once again not ideal. But we all got our butts up at the 5 o’clock hour, prepping with bagels and coffee. I ate practically nothing, as my stomach is known for causing problems before big events. I pretty much felt like a bag of nerves, the anticipation ticking away, until we started.
Lucky for me, I started out running with Jeremy’s sister, who is a bit slower than me. Which was very helpful because we immediately started out way too fast, so she alerted us to slow down. Starting too fast is still a problem for me. After three miles, though, I was ready to pick up the pace. The race course was pretty much up and down with hills, and my legs were not pleased. But I kept up, trying to pace with some other people who seemed to be going as fast as I wanted to. However, during the last mile my left knee started to lock up. I’m still working on having a horribly tight IT band and considering 5 miles was the most I’ve ever run previously (and only twice), I’m not terribly surprised.
I powered through the pain and came through the last downhill to see Jeremy and the crew cheering. It was a great feeling. From cheering at other marathons I know how exciting it is just being on the sidelines, and even in this small race with few people cheering, it was still exhilarating. Best of all, I got to be part of the last cheering wave, and then we laid around to recover. Plus Jeremy won a sweet bat for finishing first in his age group! I finished 63rd of 72 people running, at about 1 hour and 4 minutes. Wooo soooo fast. Pace-wise I ended up where I wanted, and hey, we all have to start somewhere.
Afterward we went to Ommegang for beers (whoops don’t do a tasting first when you haven’t eaten) and lunch. It was a great weekend and has sparked my interest in racing for the future. Up next: potentially a half marathon in Vermont. We’ll see how that goes…