Last Saturday I ran the Richard G Snyder YMCA 10K. This event benefited their MAD Program and I was happy to participate because they are doing really good things on the trail behind our house and in our community.
This race checked a few things off my running bucket list, let’s start with the craziest, shall we?
My First “Last Minute Decision” Race
While I knew the race had been coming up, I was tossing around whether or not I’d do it. Even though it’s small, I still don’t think I love the 5k distance so I didn’t want to do that. And the Half, well, that was just definitely a no since it would start at 9 AM and was out and back and I’d definitely be the last to finish (likely with a DNF).
Just before I went to bed (less than 10 hours before start time), my mind was made up. With under 25 runners, the 10K seemed like a good plan.
My First Race in Kittanning
When I woke up, I realized that I’ve never run a race in the town I call home. This race would be the first and it sure was for a good cause. While it wasn’t my first Armstrong County race (I finished last in a Ford City 5k 2 years ago), this one was going to be special.
My First 10K Race
I’d volunteered at this race last year, so I knew not to show up super early; however, I wanted to be ready. After arriving about 45 minutes before we started, I realized I was there way too early. Since the crowd was small, there weren’t many people around and I got that imposter feeling as I watched others warming up while I sat on the ground and sipped a water. But this was my first 10K race (not distance) and whether or not I’d place didn’t matter anymore. I am not an imposter, I’m a runner!
Just before the start, I saw my CrossFit instructor and a friend from CrossFit, both were doing the 5k and pushing toddlers in strollers. Goodness, my friends are beasts (both made the turn for the 5K before me)! Seeing them helped motivate me, but because I knew I had a longer distance and am by nature a slower runner, I knew I couldn’t push too hard.
I started out with my earbuds in and fought with them the whole route. The trail is super quiet, especially when 95% of the other runners are way out ahead of you. I get distracted by my own breathing, so music was a must. Unfortunately, I’ve been testing another pair of buds and these just weren’t working like I wanted them to (more on that in another post!).
The first 1.5 miles (to the 5k turnaround and first water stop) flew by. I logged an 11’08” mile which was incredible – I haven’t run like that in years. But I knew it was too fast to keep up the next five so I got the thought of negative splits out of my mind and kept on pushing forward.
While it’s a good race for a good organization, I really didn’t love the styrofoam cups of water and had to come to a complete stop at every water station (I got three with the out and back of the 10k). I also felt quite alone out there after that first turn until I inched closer to the 3.1 miles where my fellow 10K racers were coming back. Everyone gave each other “good jobs” as they turned and it was again motivating.
After I made the turn, I started to slow down. I’d seen plenty of women go by and I knew they were all in the 30-39 age group so placing wasn’t an option anymore. At that point, I was just happy to look down at my average pace (under my Half Marathon pace) and not feel like I was sweating to death.
I Didn’t Hear You Either
After my second water stop, I started to get a little delusional. I’ve been doing Whole30 and hadn’t raced with this diet before, so my nutrition and fuel were basically non-existent. My fingers were swelling (a sign that I’m dehydrating and/or my sugar is dropping) and I was a little mentally bummed.
That’s when I heard growling. There I was, on the trail alone and I knew that the Ham Radio operators were a ways away. I put my head down and turned the music up (silly girl) and pushed harder.
I might have continued being delusional, but at the end of the race my pastor asked if I heard or saw the bear. A bear was hit along the road and its mama was on the loose and angry!?!?! I told my co-workers this and one of them sent me this as a way to commemorate this run:
My First 10K Place Medal
The last mile flew by, back on super familiar turf and knowing my family was waiting. I kicked it in finished in 1:15. While the Nike+ app says I did 6.3 miles (11’54”), the official time was 12’09”. I decided to stick around and watch the medal ceremony and I’m glad I did!
Those ladies who passed me have some good health and genes – some of them were in the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups – and I ended up getting 3rd place for the 30-39 females. I was shocked and proud – I did it!
What’s next? At this point, I’m not actively training but focusing on trimming down and muscling up. July 2 will be 16 weeks until the Myrtle Beach Mini / 18 weeks to EQT 10-Miler, so I’ll be back in a normal running plan again. Perhaps throughout that I’ll throw in races as they fit my plan, but right now that’s the main goal – a lighter and faster fall!