Now, Andrew, now was your run? You’ve been working up to this for a while! How did it go?
I was at the Start/Staging area fairly early. I had my headphones in with some tunes cranked up to get me motivated and “pumped up” There was group yoga and group stretching available, which most people were participating in. I always feel terribly self-conscious in those situations, so I did my own warmups and stretching.
Here’s an amusing side note – I wear running tights, and up until today have felt slightly uncomfortable wearing them outside EXCEPT when I’m actually running – even during my warmup walks I feel a bit self-conscious. Here I am wandering around the event doing my own warmup and stretches in my tights. There’s a group of people nearby and I honestly didn’t feel uncomfortable or embarrassed whatsoever. So I can wear tights around that many people, but I’m to self-conscious to participate in the group warmups? I don’t know about you, but I’m amused by that thought…
I was hoping to finish the run in under 25 minutes as a personal goal, but this wasn’t a timed or official race – no official times or placing – so it was my own goal. Not a big deal if I didn’t make it, but it was just a target to strive for
Once everyone was warmed up, the event leader had a short speech, and it was a bit emotional – they’ve been doing this 10 years, among other events. It’s understandable that having put so much time and effort into this annual event over the years and realizing it’s the last one would have that effect on her. After that was the national anthem, and then they started sending us out. First the 10k runners, then the 5k runners,, and then finally, the walkers. When the first few 10K runners started out I fired up MapMyFitness (an app which tracks my distance – I’ve got it set up to provide voice cues every half kilometer to tell me my current speed/pace among other information, which I’ve found useful) and started my FitBit, and away I went.
THe first 100m or so I was running! I was pumped up by my music and the adrenaline and energy of the event and I realized I’d be lucky to do a full kilometer at that pace, never mind 5 and dropped my pace down a bit. It didn’t take long to realize that for whatever reason I wasn’t getting my voice cues as usual – I hadn’t realized how much I rely on them to adjust my pace until I didn’t have them…and on my first “real” event no less! I briefly considered fishing out my phone and trying to get them going, but figured it would probably be more of a frustration than to just going without them. So I just kept going. It wasn’t long before I started passing people, and settled into a nice pace with roughly 3-5 people ahead of me. 2 people around me were going about the same pace but would drift ahead or behind as we all adjusted our individual pace. I was feeling good all the way out to the turnaround marking the halfway point. Thankfully there were volunteers handing out water bottles. I grabbed one and took a few sips before stashing it in my running belt. I didn’t want to slow down and take a proper drink, and had nowhere to hand it off afterward, so I just took it with me. Somewhere around the 3km point, I clued in I was pushing a faster pace than I’d ever run, and I was getting winded, and my legs were starting to tire. At about 3.5km I started to think I might have to seriously slow down the last stretch. 4km, and I could see the last color station ahead, and not far beyond was the finish. I was tired, and started to lose my mental focus. I slowed down for a few strides…and got mad! I said to myself (quite loudly, I may add) “Don’t F—ing quit, Andrew! Not now! GO! RUN!!!” I dug deep and stepped up my pace again and pushed hard for the finish. I don’t know my pace for that last stretch, all I know is it wasn’t as fast as I had started at, and that I wasn’t going to stop until I was several strides past the finish. At the finish line I clicked off my FitBit, and then reached for my phone to pause the MapMyFitness app. Up to that point I had assumed I hadn’t started it correctly because I hadn’t been getting the voice prompts. Thankfully it had logged the run, but I’m still not sure why I didn’t get the voice prompts. Anyway, I walked around for a while, to catch my breath and to allow my muscles to wind down from the effort. After I walked around for a while (gradually slowing my stride down from fast walk to a slow relaxed walk) I decided to check my stats.
Time: 24:06 (mm:ss) – my previous best was 25:26. Not only did I make it in under 25 minutes, I was very close to making it in under 24 minutes. To put this in perspective – I’m about 6 months away from turning 40. Up until this spring I never thought about running for anything other than emergency purposes, nevermind setting goals and actually doing it! I started training in May, and hadn’t run and sort of distance since high school. I’m also still smoking almost a pack a day – something I definitely need to give up ASAP. All that considered, I’d say it’s a very respectable time! Now I need to figure out a training plan for winter and see what kind of events I’ll participate in next year! Maybe 13k by spring, and half-marathon (20k) by late summer 2018?