I still can’t believe I ran a 10k on Saturday. Me?? A wannabe athlete like me?? If I can do it, anyone can!
I woke up before my alarm on Saturday morning and started getting ready. I tried to choke down a bagel with peanut butter and banana, but my nervous tummy wasn’t too pleased. I managed to eat about half of it. I woke my husband up around 6:20am, much earlier than he wanted to be awake. Hehe. But he was a trooper, drove me to the race, and stayed to cheer me on.
We got downtown around 7:00am and parking was already at a premium. We took advantage of knowing the side streets and parked in a residential area. Knowing we only had a half hour until the race start, I kept a quick pace as we walked toward the starting line! I actually think that brisk walk helped loosen me up before the start of the race. I felt great and ready to run when we got to the starting line. Minus that nervous tummy of course.
There is always a huge expo-type gathering in the park where the race starts. We walked through it for a moment, but decided it was too crowded. We make our way to the starting line and I found the 11:00 minute mile marker. My goal was to finish in 1:15:00, or about a 12 minute mile.
(After taking this picture, my husband asked why I always pose that way. I have no idea. Maybe I get the thumbs up from Angela? Hehe.) SO excited!!!!
I knew that one of my Twitter friends, Megan, planned to run the 10k too. We found each other at the starting line. So much fun to meet online friends in real life!
Megan and I run a similar pace so it was so nice to have someone out there near me during the race! Since my sports watch had died, she made sure to always call out the time to me when she saw me since she had her Garmin on. It really helped me keep perspective about how long I had been out there!
I’m really hoping we can do some runs together in the future!! I actually saw a few other people at the starting line that I knew. One of those people is my friend Jaye. Jaye and I actually met at the Madeira Beach Triathlon. Our transition areas were next to each other and so we just got to chatting. We later found each other on Facebook and realized we knew many of the same people! And the funniest thing? We are both lawyers! Go figure.
Jaye is a speedy little runner, but always made sure to cheer me on when she saw me out on the race course. She is currently training for a marathon and hoping to qualify for Boston!
Jaye made her way up to the 8 minute mile marker and Megan and I chatted up until the race start. Catching up with friends is a great way to cure pre-race jitters! Before we knew it, we were on our way!
I start out with a strong, slow pace. I felt great. My husband tried to get a photo of me starting the race, but no such luck. I think I’m probably somewhere behind this guy’s arm.
The first two miles flew by. We ran out and around the St. Petersburg Pier – beautiful scenery! But then around 2.5 miles, I hit a wall. I started getting stomach cramps and had to walk. Megan passed me at this point and said we were 28 minutes in at 2.5 miles. Not too bad!
I passed the 3 mile marker pretty quickly, and then it seemed like the world stopped. At the 3 mile marker, the course turned down 1st Avenue North, and was an “out and back” type route on that road. It seemed to take FOREVER. I kept looking for the 4 mile marker but it never came. I got so frustrated, I really thought about quitting. I was walking more than I wanted to due to my stomach cramps, but I would try to just walk until they went away, then start running again. We FINALLY passed the 4 mile marker and a woman near me called out the time on her Garmin – 53 minutes. Whoa. I laughed. I couldn’t believe I had been going that slow! So much for meeting my goal! I tried to just let it go, and finish strong.
Then, before I knew it, there was the mile 5 marker!! I knew it had to have been less than a half mile since I saw mile 4, and later Megan confirmed my suspicions. No wonder that third mile felt so long – they had mismarked the race course! Suddenly I felt like I was on cloud 9. Five miles down? I could do this!
Around that time, the 10k runners merged with the 5k runners. They were like a breath of fresh air. The change of scenery was great! I felt my pace pick up as I ran with them. Behind me, I heard some people chanting cadences about beating breast cancer. It was the Army!
I knew I had to be so close to the finish line. And then there it was, mile marker 6! I made the turn toward the finish line and saw my husband.
Look at that smile on my face. You know I was feeling good!
I saw the finish line ahead and the clock read 1:14:50. Could it be?? I sprinted toward the finish as fast as I could. The clock just passed 1:15:00 when I crossed the finish line, but I knew my chip time would be better – and it was!
Official chip time: 1:14:30!!!!!!!
JUST under a 12 minute mile!
I couldn’t believe it. Despite all the walking, I still beat my goal! I felt great at the finish, probably because I had carried a water bottle with me the entire time and kept myself hydrated. Like I said, I still can’t believe that I ran a 10k! It just goes to show…don’t underestimate yourself. You are so much stronger than you think!
Have you ever surprised yourself by a race performance?