184 feet

I promised an update on this weekend’s running.  So here goes!

First, the CASI St. Patrick’s Day race.  This was the first race for the Live Uncommon REVOLUTION Race Team, so I’ll be honest and admit that I was actually nervous.  Not nervous for the race itself, just for the whole event.  I wasn’t sure whether I should be worried that I’d be in a crowd of amazing runners…which I was.  There were supposedly 30 Race Teamers at this weekend’s event, and many of them are rock stars.  But as it always turns out, runners are runners, and most of the runners I’ve ever met are positive, supportive people.  Regardless of pace, ability, we runners are a pretty awesome group.  Must be all the endorphins.  (Not to say there aren’t jerks who are runners, just that I don’t bother myself with worrying about them).

I also didn’t know what to expect about the race.  I had never run this race before.  I also didn’t know what to expect regarding my pace or speed.  I hadn’t raced a 5k (or anything, for that matter) since October, when I had PR’ed with a 25:39.  That for me, was amazing.  I can still remember just a few years ago struggling to break 30 minutes for a 5k.  So I went into this race blind, having looked at the course map once.  And, as almost everyone has experienced, looking at a map doesn’t really help you know what things will look like when you arrive.

I also decided to race “Garmin-less.”  Shocking, I know.  As an engineer, it’s really hard for me to give up my precious number generating machine…  But, I wanted to run by feel and just have fun.  My husband and I were going to run together, and so I didn’t want to look down at my watch and feel like something was wrong.  So I left it lonely on the counter at home.

We started the race in a crowd of people.  My husband was tripped three times in the first 20 yards.  Then, less than a block from the start, still crowded with all the runners, the race takes a sharp left hand turn, followed by another left hand turn a block up.  This made for a chaotic, tightly packed group of people stumbling around each other.  It was hard to get a good start this way.  Once the second turn was made it was a straight out and back course – things opened up quite a bit.  At the first mile I heard the timer calling out 7:46, 7:48…and thought “What?  That’s way too fast!” But, the mile was done and I had to keep going…  We turned around at the halfway point, where I tried to get a cup of water, but the lady dumped it over my hand.  Oops!  At 2 miles, the timer called out 16:02.  It was good that my husband was still with me because otherwise I would have slowed down here.  The pace was faster than I would usually be comfortable going, and I had a stitch in my side.  But with his help, I hung on to the end, and when I saw the clock was counting 24:55, 24:56…I sprinted those last 10 yards to the finish, hoping I could make it in under 25 minutes.  And sure enough, when I got my official time, it was 24:49.  A new PR!  Not bad for the first race of the year. 😀

Post race, our group of friends (there were six of us that ran) headed to Bent River Brewery for lunch and beer. Then we headed home and watched NCAA basketball while the boys played.  It was a good day.

This morning, I woke up at a blissful 7:15 am.  Yes, all three boys let us sleep until 7.  This never happens, which is why I don’t bother to set an alarm any more.  So after a quick pancake I headed out to run and got onto the trail about 8:30.  I had 14 miles scheduled for this weekend.  I had considered cutting the run short since we raced yesterday, but I knew I’d feel like a cheater if I did.  Plus, then I would have a really hard time feeling ready for a longer run next weekend.  Since each week builds on the previous week, for me, having that previous week’s mileage done is a confidence boost for the upcoming week’s run.  So out for 14 I headed.

I planned my route to bring me back to the car after 9 miles, so I could get a drink and refuel before heading out to finish the last 5.  This would break the run up into two 4.5 mile segments and two 2.5 mile segments (really a 4.5, 4.5, 5).  During the first 9 I was feeling pretty good, although I was really wishing I had parked the car closer, because I really wanted a drink at mile 8!  But I got to the car, got a drink and an energy gel, and headed back out.  I won’t lie.  The last 5 miles were tough.  I was tired, it was getting hot, and mentally I kept thinking of excuses to turn around.  (The PR on Saturday being one of them).  So when I reached my turnaround point and saw that it was only 2.3 miles instead of 2.5, I said “screw it” and turned around anyway.  I slogged my way through the return, allowing myself a walk/stretch break in the middle (hence a 10:52 mile 13).  I got back to where I’d parked the car, hit “stop” on the Garmin, and pulled out my keys.

I stopped in the middle of the trail.

I looked at my watch.

13.65 miles.

At this point, I didn’t even want to walk to the car.  I was tired, my legs were tired, and I wanted to sit down.

But, I was thinking about that 0.35 miles.

“You’ll feel like a failure if you don’t finish this run.”

“How about you just try.  You’ll feel awesome if you finish the full 14.”

So I put the keys away, pressed “start” on the Garmin, and finished the 14.  And it felt…awesome.  Much better than 13.65.

It’s amazing what running 184 feet can do.

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