This was my favorite race ever! I really, really like the 10K distance because I don’t feel like I have to push so hard the whole time, which is how I feel while running a 5K.
I felt good the entire race. The running came easily. The running was fun. I never walked (except very briefly through two water stations). And I smashed my [secret] time goal of 60 minutes with a huge smile on my face.
I crossed the finish line when the clock said about 56:45. I think my chip time was a little faster [update: official time was 56:35!].
Let’s start at the beginning! I woke up with a nervous stomach, meaning there were multiple bathroom trips before I left the house at 7:00. Yeah. Luckily, I felt fine by the time Aaron and I got to Bellevue. (All the awesome photos below are by Aaron, of course!)
There were no pace groups designated in the starting corral, so I just stood near the middle-front on the right side, which I knew would be the inside of the course (thank you, bike preview). My plan was to start at an easy 10:00 pace and stick to the inside of the course with little to no weaving. (By the way, I think the latter really worked because my Nike+ said I only ran 5.95 miles!)
Once the race started, I realized there was no way I could run at 10:00. I was hitting 9:00 with ease and felt no need to slow down. The first hill came up quickly – I’d say within 0.3 of the starting line – but it wasn’t a problem. I just went up! No freakout.
The first mile marker came surprisingly quickly. I ran the first mile in exactly 9:00 and felt awesome. The second hill came up in mile 2, and it was much longer than the first one. I went up slowly and steadily, and then was really mindful not to run too hard on the downhill. I heard people hammering down the downhill behind me, and then saw them pass me, but I resisted the urge to speed up. More than anything else during this 10K, I kept telling myself, “Run your own race.”
I ran the first three miles in 27:something. I felt like I could have gone faster, but knew I’d need the energy for the remaining miles. After I passed the three-mile marker, I got really excited that I was about halfway done and that I would now be racing farther than I’ve ever raced before. I actually got pretty emotional at this point and felt such a surge of love for running.
Aaron and his mom, Greta, had driven to about the 3.5 mile point and were waiting to cheer me on and take pictures. I had never had people I know there to cheer me on in the middle of a race before, and it was such a boost!! Hence why I look extremely happy in these photos…
The four-mile marker was the last one that seemed to come quickly. I hit that at 37:something. At this point, I knew I could break 60 minutes if I didn’t fall apart, so I tried to stay around a 9:30 pace.
I must have missed the five-mile marker, because the next one I saw was the two-mile marker for the 5K route. I took that to mean there was only a mile left, so I sped up big-time. The 10K runners also ran into the last of the 5K walkers at this point, so there were quite a few people to dodge.
It seemed to take forever until I saw the six-mile marker, and then forever to run the last 0.2 miles! The last bit was on a hill (mean!), and then it turned to the left to reach the finish line.
I saw Aaron and Greta waiting just past the finish line and gave it all I had. I was so happy to be done and so proud of myself for meeting my race goals and even exceeding my expectations.
Side note: Around mile 5, before I started pushing hard, I felt like I could run miles and miles more. This gives me more confidence for my 15K in May and half-marathon in June!
And my annoying shin pain was never a problem in this race – even now, only my knees hurt a little from nearly an hour’s worth of impact. I think taking four days off to rest, then doing only 3-milers, then taking two more rest days right before the race did the trick!
Of course, all your support helped me believe I could run this race in the first place, and I’m so grateful for all your nice comments, encouragement and American Cancer Society donations. I got some thumbs-up from other runners for the back of my t-shirt during the race, too! (I’m sure they were equally enamored of the front, too, Abel!)
Thanks again, you guys, for everything.