When it all falls into place. When your training comes to life. When you remember why you worked so hard. When you see that finish line and tears well up in your eyes. When you realize your dream has come true!
Running is emotional AF! When I first began running, it was just something I did every once and awhile to mix things up. I didn't really like it. It took a good year of consistency before I really gained anything from it. It took 1 year before it started to change me in ways I never thought possible. My life was completely saved by running.
When I saw the State Capitol on that Sunday and knew I was almost finished with the race I had put in so much hard work for over the past 2 months, I started to get so emotional. It is a funny thing to some non runners that running can make you laugh, cry, love, and make you a better person. To them, it is just a silly sport. To us, it is a way of life. It is so much more than just a pair of running shoes and far out goals!
My goodness; When I entered the lottery for the 10 mile, I kid you not I was only built up to 3 miles. Those 3 miles were not running miles; they were run/walk. I was running around 10:20-11:00 pace. I knew something (BIG) in my training had to change in order to conquer these 10 miles in 8 weeks! So, I made a plan. Recently, I had just decided I wanted to start training for a triathlon next summer and I was training for rugged maniac at the time. So I had to work swimming, running, biking, stair master, and lifting. Easy right?
This is how it went;
Mondays - Swim, Lift, Stepper
Tuesdays - Bike, Abs
Wednesdays - Easy run with strides OR Tempo, Lift
Thursdays - Rest/Stretch/ Abs
Fridays - Swim, Lift, Stepper
Saturday - Bike, Lift
Sunday - Long Run, Abs
For the most part, I adhered to this schedule. With decreasing my run days and increasing cross training, I found that I was running pain/injury free again! Even with the criticism I received for my training regimen, I stuck with it. Many said I would never gain speed, I wouldn't build endurance for running this way, blah.blah.blah. Sunday, I got to prove them ALL wrong! In 2 months I went from a non consistent 3 mile run around 10:15 pace to 10 miles at 9:28 pace. That is proof enough that my training regimen works!
My favorite part about big races is the Expo! I left work a little early on Friday to ensure we made it there! There were so many fun booths! I had been saving money to buy a long sleeve and shorts so I was pretty pumped! I also discovered some great headbands from Bondi-Band and bought 3! The Expo makes you feel so pumped up and energized and I left feeling super ready! I love the happiness in everyones eyes and excitement!
Saturday I took it super easy doing basically nothing! I didn't want to risk pulling something or tripping over something and twisting an ankle; anxiety at its best, haha!
Sunday morning I woke up at 5 am; no snooze alarm that day! I was ready to get going! It didn't take me long to get ready, then we hit the road. Man, the traffic on marathon weekend is tough! I am so grateful Jason drove me, I hate driving! Jason dropped me off by the Stadium and wished me good luck, then he was off to find parking!
It was a little nippy out so I found a garage where other runners were huddled and hung out, did some stretching, then headed to find bag drop! It was getting close to take off time so I didn't get a warm up in but I had planned on using the first two miles for warm up anyways!
7:10 - I jumped into my race corral (C) and huddled around a big group of runners to steal body heat. I tried to get my watch to sync as corral B was taking off but it was not happening. At first, I was mad but then I realized I can't change it so I just set the stop watch.
7:16 - Corral C begins to take off! I was full of excitement as the crowd cheered. I was happy that I would warm up soon!
Miles 1-2: I knew I was taking it way too easy. It was hard not to since I was stuck behind big groups of people and trying to weave in an out of them would just waste energy so I kept the pace slow.
Mile 3-4: I was ready to pick it up. I was on such a high from being so happy to have gotten this far in 2 months. I was singing 160 BPM songs in my head and reading fun signs. I picked up the pace a bit and had to run on the sidewalk to pass people. Now, I was in race mode!
Mile 5: I head there was supposed to be a hill here. From afar it looked like it so I braced myself and reminded myself that I am trained for this! Well, not too long before I found myself wondering where the hills were. I saw many people walking at this point but I felt super strong and not tired yet. Not too long before mile 6 I spotted Jason! He called my name and was snapping photos! A whole rush of excitement was sent through me!
Mile 6: In my training, my hips would begin to stiffen at mile 6 or so. They weren't today but just in case to avoid later stops, I jumped off the course and stretched everything out for about 30 seconds. I am glad I did! I could tell there would be pain in my near future if I wouldn't have. I also saw Jason in this mile and that put a big smile on my face. I am so bad at smiling when I run but that day, I just couldn't help it!
Miles 7-8: There were thoughts coming into my head at mile 7 saying "You only trained up to 9, you might have to walk after 9". Nagging at me I was losing my footing out of frustration. I was beginning to believe I really wasn't going to make it. But, then I saw Jason cheering at me; he always swoops in to save the day. I pushed those thoughts out of my head and reminded myself that one of my athletes only trained up to 18 for a marathon and did an awesome 26.2 miles this year! I could do this!
Mile 9: This was fun! The start you got to run through a tunnel with music blaring and people cheering! I felt soooooo good at 9. I took off as fast as I could! I WISH I had the race split for this because I know I was cruising! I saw the Capitol and knew it wouldn't be long! Tears started to well up in my eyes as I realized; 'holy shit, youre going to finish a 10 mile race AND you're feeling really good'. I pulled it together so I wouldn't lose time.
The Finish: The most epic feeling I have ever felt! I thought for sure I would be more around 1:40 missing my goal by 2 minutes but I didn't care. As soon as I caught my breath after that full out sprint, I look at my watch. It said 1:34:43. What the heck just happened!?? Did I literally just train for 2 months with 2 runs per week and set an 8 minute 10 mile PR?? You bet! I almost starting balling I was so happy! First things first though, I had to find water!
Getting out of the runners 'village' was tedious. A big cluster of people trying to get out of a little space; talk about bottle necking! My friend Heather called me to see what I was doing after. I didn't realize she was coming to the race so I was super excited she came out to support me. We went out for coffee and bagels once I found Jason and snapped a few photos! My favorite quote from Heather was "I just looked for bare legs, I knew you wouldn't be wearing pants" She knows me so well! Thank you so much to Heather and Jason for braving the cold and coming out to see me make one of my dreams come true!
This race was the best race experience I have ever had, period! The course was beautiful and the crowd was super encouraging! I will definitely be doing this race again. I know I sound cocky but I really didnt feel any hills in this run. I want another shot to go faster and push it more! I held back thinking there were going to be massive hills I needed to save energy for but I run 2-3x this elevation in training runs (I looked at the map after the race). So, train hills people!
What I learned from this experience is setting big goals is scary but achieving them is what makes everything worth it. The early mornings; the double days; the naysayers nasty attitudes and words!
Thank you to everyone who supported me and believed in me on this journey in those times it was hard to believe in myself! Also, a big thanks to Twin Cities In Motion for always putting on great events!
Believe in yourself, ALWAYS! You are capable of anything you have the patience and work ethic to see through!
Click here to see my finish video!