Last night I worked twelve hours behind my dispatch console. I got off from work at 5:30 am and drove home to let Gabriel out and to feed my furbabies. I puttered around the house for a bit – trying to fight the typical after shift sleepiness. I did the dishes, put away some laundry and ignored how inviting my comfy bed looked (especially with Gabriel lounging in it with the “come on Mom, its time for bed” look on his little puppy face).
I got dressed and headed out super early. I wasn’t able to get my packet at the early pick up times so I wanted to beat the race day lines, plus I wanted to find a good spot to park. It was dark and pretty chilly once I got situated. There was practically no one there so I was able to get my packet pretty quickly. I was kind of disappointed that they had already run out of smalls. I pre-registered a couple of weeks ago but I’m also pretty sure I did so after they had already ordered shirts, so I’m happy I was able to snag a medium. And really, that’s such a small thing to be frustrated about at the end of the day.
I had plenty of time to kill so I went back to the (warm) comfort of my car. I talked to Wes for a little bit on the phone and read a few pages from my current book. I went back and forth about whether or not I would wear a light jacket over my tank and shorts because it hadn’t warmed up more than a couple of degrees and while I love running in the cold, I hate running when it feels harshly cold (which it did this morning to this thin-blooded Floridian!).
(I decided on the jacket, by the way).
Once the sun started to come out, I made my way to the start line to start warming up. I stretched and walked around, working the 12-hour-shift-sitting-on-my-bottom stiffness out of them and people-watched. I also admired the views around me – Tallahassee can be such a beautiful city.
As the race start drew closer, I shuffled further back into the crowd away from the start line. I try to stay away from the front of the pack as much as possible – those runners are true beasts with their 5:00/6:00 minute average mile times! Amazing! I’m pretty proud of my 12:00 minute mile… but I don’t want to get run over!
So I shuffled back. And shivered. It was still pretty cold – I was happy I had decided to keep the jacket on!
The first mile of the race was largely downhill. I started the race thinking that I needed to conserve my energy so I wouldn’t start to fall back toward the end. But I love running downhill and decided to let my legs go – taking the first mile in less than 11 minutes (pretty rare for me!). Of course I paid for that throught mile 2 (my slowest mile at 13:12) as it went up and up and up hill around where the 5k and 10k split off.
I started out running 1:1 minute intervals but decided to toss that to the wind once it started getting hilly. I walked steep inclines and ran as much as I could – especially when there was an incline. My legs felt pretty tight at first but that slowly started to ease away and I really started to enjoy myself. I felt strong and could feel the endorphins pumping through my bloodstream. Its not often when I truly hit that “runner’s high” feeling during a run, but when I do… I feel awesome. That was definitely happening today!
It helped a lot that there were awesome signs like this:
To get me through hills like these:
Stuff like this just makes me grin. It put a little bit extra “feistiness” in my steps.
This morning while Wes and I were talking about the race, he said to me, “Maybe you’ll get a PR.” When he said that, I shrugged it off. I had not trained at all (I’ve been kind of lazily running since the half marathon) plus I knew that this race course was more difficult and hilly than I am used to running on. Well, I guess I should learn not to nay-say myself… because I got myself a Personal Record from this race!
Official time was 1:15:43.. a PR of about 4 minutes. My last official 10K was the Run For Lawson 10k with a time of 1:19:48. My other 10K was around 1:13 or so but it came in around 6.09 so I’ve been kind of hesitant to count it as a “PR”.
This was an emotional experience for me. I felt strong. I felt good. I felt like my feet and heart were soaring as I ran. I felt positive and happy and wonderful. I knew a PR was possibly coming but I didn’t care. All I really cared about was the road under my feet and the blood pumping through my veins. I cared about the fact that while looking at the people around me at the start of the race, I found myself thinking, “Gosh, how amazing it must be to just pick up and decide to run a half marathon.” And that’s when it hit me. How amazing was it that I just picked up and decided to run a 10K just because I wanted the medal? A year ago, I couldn’t imagine myself running further than a 5K… a 10K was a goal, not a “normal” distance for me. Today, I ran with all heart. I ran because I loved it. I ran because running is a part of what makes me… me.
Featured Image from the Springtime Tallahassee 10K website.