Yesterday morning, I ran another race. This was a regular road race and not a mud run. Even better, it was here in town. I was very happy for that since it started at 7AM.
I was doing the 10K, and my goal for the race was to finish in under an hour. The last two I did were both in 2011, and I had finished just over an hour both times. As a result, I’d done a couple of 9 mile runs over the last couple of weeks, hoping the longer distances would help my legs and cardio be ready to push it on race day.
Then Wednesday, I came down with a cold. I blame the 2’s and 3’s from church the previous Sunday. I wasn’t sure how I’d do, but I figured getting my goal time was pretty much out the window. I canceled my last short run on Thursday to give my body more rest in hopes it would heal.
It turned out to be a mild cold, and by the time I got up Sunday morning I was feeling pretty good. Maybe I could PR after all.
I’m still not quite sure what happened Sunday morning. I got to the race in plenty of time and wandered around a bit. I hit the bathroom one last time and then walked back to my car to empty my pockets. I thought I’d have about 5 minutes before the race started, but as I got back to the start line, they shouted go, so I took off.
Not too far past the start line, I was passed by a friend. I was supposed to be doing this with two friends, but I hadn’t seen them before we started. One of them caught me and said the other couldn’t make it at the last minute due to a long night with a sick daughter. Then he took off at his own pace, and I was on my own.
We hadn’t made it more than a quarter mile when my shins started bothering me. I hadn’t given them much thought, figuring I’d be up in plenty of time for my legs to warm up. Obviously not. I stopped for a few seconds to stretch them, but they still were bothering me. Not enough that I couldn’t run, but enough that they were noticeable. I decided to keep going and stop and walk if they got to bad, but after mile one, they began to feel okay, so I just kept going.
Most of the course was on the bike path that travels through town. Since it was the other side of town from where I live, it was very nice running an unfamiliar stretch. It’s the nice part of the path, too, not the part right next to the road.
I kept a close eye on my watch, trying to keep my pace around 9:30. If I was under that, I didn’t back off, but if I was over, I’d start speeding up again. Every time I passed a mile marker, I’d check my time, and I was under10 minute miles, but not by much.
When I hit 3.1 miles, I checked my time again. I was just over 30 minutes. That’s when I knew it would be very close. The suspense was beginning to kill me.
It wasn’t until I hit mile 5 at 48 minutes that I began to have faith I could actually make my goal. My legs didn’t feel too badly, and I wasn’t nearly as tired as I thought I’d be. I pushed just a bit more, always aware that I didn’t want to overdo it and miss out at the last minute.
I made the final turn toward the finish line at 59 minutes. Fortunately, I just had a few feet to go, and I poured on the speed. According to my watch, I finished in 59:16. My official time via the race organizers was 59:20. I’ll take either. Even better? I finished 24th overall out of 90 something people doing the 10K. Actually, I saw lots of people walking the course behind be after I turned around about mile 4, so that doesn’t surprise me. But it still made me feel good.
So, despite my potential set backs, I made my goal. Might I have gone faster without them? Probably. But for today, I was rejoicing in my time. Plus, I’m happy that I didn’t feel like I was going to die like I did when I hit my first 5K in under 30 minutes back in March.
My shins are definitely a little sore today. I’m debating about trying to run on them tomorrow or if I should let them rest all week and wait for ultimate Frisbee this weekend. I’ll probably decide based on how they are feeling tomorrow.