Yesterday was the day of the big 10k race, and I had a lot of nerves leading up to it. First, I had never ran more than 5 miles, and now I had to go 6.2. Second, my first and only 10k in Auburn two years ago (when I wasn't training at all) was very difficult for me (although rewarding). Third, I had two semi-mediocre 30 minute training runs this week, where I just felt somewhat sluggish. Fourth, I read on the internet that the course was somewhat hilly, I hate hills, and I rarely train on them. I didn't even know if I could run a big hill or how much they would slow me down.
My running buddy Jana came into town Friday night to do the race with me. We went to bed at a reasonable time, but I slept fitfully (maybe I had some jitters). So I didn't feel the best when I woke up that morning. Regardless, Adam, Jana, and I piled into the car and drove the hour up to Franklin, Tennessee, where the Viva La Diva 10k was taking place.
My heart sunk when we got to the course, I saw this big ole hill that the 5k runners were in the process of running up. I did not think I could run up a hill that big and my confidence was shaken by it. Even the race start line was at the bottom of a hill. I thought I would be drained before we barely even began running. My husband tried to be comforting, but there is not much people can say to me when I get super anxious, I just have to ride it out.
Did I mention it was 33 degrees out? It was so cold! I ended up running in a t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt, old navy jacket, headband, and gloves! It was that cold. Better cold than hot I guess!
We did our race preparations, snapped some photos, and then it was time to line up for the race. I had set my running app prior the the race so all I would have to do was press a button to start. But of course, it failed me for the first time ever once the race began. So I spent the first little bit of the race fooling with my phone and not paying attention at all to where I was running. I finally got the music/app started, and perhaps the malfunction was a godsend, because by the time I was done fooling with it I was at the top of the first hill, and I had barely noticed the incline!
Soon, I had done my first mile in 13:38, not the optimal pace for me, but I knew the hills were slowing me down some. I tried not to focus on my time, and I just kept truckin' up and down the hills. Yes, I got nervous every time I saw a hill coming, but I was just determined to keep my feet moving. I hit the 3 mile marker, and it was a cruel trick they played on us runners because you actually have to run past the finish line, when you are only half-way through. I briefly wanted to just run through the finish line then and get an awesome finish time. I kid, I kid.
Around mile 4, I started to feel that I would be able to finish with no breaks in running. Although mile 5 was my slowest mile by far (14:28), due to having to run up the biggest hill ever! Plus, by then I was starting to feel somewhat sore and pretty exhausted. But I just thought to myself I will be done so much sooner if I run and not walk, so I kept running and running and running.
I hit mile 6 with the finish line in sight. I saw Adam jumping up and down and cheering me on. He ran with me the last .2 miles. Seeing how happy he was for me made me feel amazing. Once I crossed the finish line, he was actually teary eyed because he said he was so proud of me. Later he told me, " It was pure joy watching you come running down that hill." He is seriously THE BEST.
I crossed the finish line at 1:26:57, that is an average of 13:43 per mile. That was under my 90 minute goal time! I do think I could have been faster without the hills. But conquering those hills and still finishing at a decent time, gives me a lot of confidence that I can do well at the half-marathon.
After Jana finished a little after me, we headed out to lunch. We had just burned 1,300 calories according to my app, and it was time to refuel. Adam's favorite fast food place in his hometown is Culvers (he lives for their butter burgers). They aren't popular in the South, but they happen to have one in Franklin. So we went there. We just ordered a mixture of burgers, fries, cheese curds, and ice cream concretes. I loosened the reigns a bit, and I had one or two bites of everything. Which still figures into very little calories due to how little I can eat. But it tasted sooo good.
Once we got back to Athens, we headed over to my mother's to jump into her hot tub. That helped with the soreness so much. I'm super stiff today, but it is the good kind of stiffness. The I kicked serious butt kind of stiffness/soreness.
I submitted my time to the runDisney website, and I'm hoping that will bump me up a corral or two. But we will see! I'm just happy to have my first full running 10k in the books!
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