I couldn't sleep Friday night. I just wasn't tired. Was it because of the excitement of the 10k coming up? Perhaps. Even though I have been running for two years now, I had never run more than 5 miles at one time before. I think I managed to get a few hours of sleep in before the early 5:45 alarm sounded. My sister and I had a breakfast of oatmeal and I had a cup of hot tea. We talked about our goal for the morning race and both agreed that we would be happy finishing within an hour and fifteen minutes. Neither of us had trained as well as we should have. I had been doing long runs over the weekends, but never did above four miles. I accepted the fact that I would have to walk a half-mile at least. As long as I still made it under an hour and fifteen minutes...
David, my brother-in-law came to the house at 6:30 am and we left shortly after that. With a forecast of 70 degrees and high humidity, we all drank a lot of water on that hour drive to the event. We made it to the event, parked, found the restrooms, and made our way to the start line. The race, consisting of some 16,000 people, was well organized. My sister and I predicted that we could finish the race in 1 hour when we signed up for the event (yeah right! We laughed six weeks later) so we were in the H group wave start. David had a slower predicted time but he went ahead and started with us anyways. We were all anxious to just start running. When the H Group was let through, we were off!
The first mile was just spent getting around the slower people, some who were already walking and setting a pace for myself. There were tons of people on the sides cheering us on and local groups shouting at us that we could do it. There were even bands dispersed throughout the course to provide music and motivation. It was really fun. We lost David around mile 2, when we made an attempt to get through a particularly slow pack. I got water at the mile 2 mark. I felt pretty good at this point. The weather was starting to heat up but there was a nice breeze blowing towards us. I was forcing myself to go a little slower than normal so that I that I wouldn't burn out. There was a girl in a green shirt ahead of me that I used as a pace setter since she was going about my pace. At mile 2.5 (or what I thought was 2.5) I realized that I was over a third way done with the course and feeling pretty great. I entertained the thought that I might be able to run this whole thing, but rather than dwell on this I concentrated on my pace and just kept running.
At mile 3 the course just looped around the street so we were running in the opposite direction on Monument avenue. Another water stop, a lot of high fives between my sister and I. At 3.1 miles, still feeling pretty good, I was convinced I would be able to run the whole thing afterall. The problem with the last half of the course, however, was that we were running towards the sun. It was hot. Luckily, I had dressed appropriately for the event with a tank top and shorts and I even remembered my sunglasses (oh how much comfortable it is to run without having to squint the whole time!). However, I definitely started feeling myself slow down because of the heat. We passed a man being helped by paramedics around 3.7 miles...it reminded me to pay attention to my body and not push myself too hard. I passed mile 4, drank some water and Powerade, and mile 5 seemed to be near in the distance. I thought before I started the race that this is the point where I would need to walk. But I felt fine; hot, but doing ok so I kept running. There were more people cheering us on at this part of the course. A few saints were out with water hoses and I made it a point to be under them. I felt newly revived after being sprayed with cold water. I quickened my pace, just a little bit.
At mile 5 I was glad I only had another mile to run. I was starting to get tired, the heat was starting to get to me, but I had run that far so I didn't want to stop then. I let the crowds motivate me to make it to the end. My sister ran ahead of me and was lost in a sea of bouncing heads. "Are we there yet?" I thought. Ah, the yellow sign indicating mile 6 gleamed shortly in the distance. I passed it. Oh no! I still have another .2 miles!!! All along I knew it was 6.2 miles, but I had been telling people it was 6 miles just for simplicity sake. I think I fooled myself after a while that it was only 6 miles. My mistake! I kept running. At 6.1 miles, the finish line was just ahead of me. I started sprinting, surprised I still had the energy still left in me. I crossed the finish...in 1 hour 5 minutes and 19 seconds!!! I had well achieved my goal! I found my sister, who finished a minute ahead of me and gave her a big hug. We were proud of each other and ourselves for completing the event in under our goal time and for running the whole way. I still can't believe it. David came in well under his goal time too. We were a happy group.
Overall, I was impressed with the event, impressed with Kathy and David, and impressed with myself for my performance. I now know I can run 6.2 (don't forget the .2!) miles. It's a really good feeling.