Thursday, September 5, 2013

My longest race yet

A few weeks ago I looked ahead on my training calendar for my half marathon training. Here is how things read:

Saturday, August 31-Run 6 miles with Fleet Feet
Monday, September 2-Run 5 miles (training, so this is solo)

And as I was stalking browsing the Fleet Feet calendar page, I came upon a 10k race that was happening on Labor Day. FF was sponsoring the event, and they had a team in as well. I thought, "Well, 10k is around 6 miles. What the heck? What is another mile that day anyway?"  So I registered for the Franklin Classic Race. It was to be my first 10k and my longest race to date. YEAH for taking the plunge, right?

On race day my parents, kiddos and I all got up early to get to downtown Franklin in time. We arrived about 30 minutes before the race. We went our separate ways (the bouncy houses were way more appealing to the children), but it was nice after the race started to see them cheering me on! I even high-fived my youngest son and my dad!

I will say that the 10k race, even though it was roughly the same distance as the run two days before, was easier in some ways, hard in others. Let me tell you about the first six-miler of the weekend.

When I packed for the weekend, the thought ran through my head (no pun intended), "Wow, this is ONLY a six mile run. It should be easy, I don't need to pack my fuel belt." Boy, was I WRONG! It was hot and humid and miserable. Now I know, in this heat, anything longer than a four mile run gets the fuel belt. I will also say there is something about running in a social group. There are about 4 or 5 of us that try to run together, our own little group, but during the run we tend to lose runners a little at a time. One will drift back around mile 3, another one a few minutes later, and so on. So when I am coming to the end of the run, at least this time, I was the first one in. So personally it was a confidence booster to be the fastest in my group this week! YIPPIE!!  But it is also nice to chat with other, teach them things about the Army and military life they would not know, get talking with other adults is a nice change of pace.

Monday's race was dramatically different. Still no fuel belt, but there were more water stops along the route. The beginning of the race I probably went out a little faster than I wanted, so I slowed it down a bit. And kept running. And running. And running. I ran 1.5 miles before I stopped and needed a walking break. Now this is significant for several reasons. First, I think it was the first time I had EVER run a mile without stopping. And second, on our Saturday runs I am usually doing 3/1 intervals (3 minutes of running followed by 1 minute of walking, and repeat). I was so proud of myself!  I walked a few minutes, and tried to repeat this process.  The next walking break was a little sooner, but it was definitely a longer run than 3 minutes.

The course was pretty enjoyable. It started in historic downtown Franklin, and ran through some nice shady streets (and "shady"  hear means tree-covered streets, not "shady" as in "not a good part of town"). We turned a corner and entered into a city park, and passed through a middle school parking lot. At this point I saw a down hill, and thought "Awesome!  This 10k is not too bad." Wrong answer.

After this down hill, we turned left onto Del Rio Pike. know a feeling of dread when you see what is before you? Yeah, well that hit. Hard. There was a hill. Two of them. Actually, it was more of a mini-mountain. But since this part of the route was an out-and-back, it was more like four hills instead of two. And let me tell ya, it sucked. Big time! There was some walking, but I was not the only one. And when we finally got through those and back to  a water stop, there was another hill! It was a more gradual incline than those two (or four) mountains I had just tackled, but was rough.

The last few miles, from what I remember of it, went through more neighborhoods and back into historic downtown Franklin. The energy from the spectators along the route at the end was uplifting, and according to the little runner on my Nike+ system my speed shot straight up at the end. My family missed me crossing the finish line, but they found me later and congratulated me.

There were awards that day, none that I received. But I felt like a winner for my longest race and my longest distance without a walking break. No medals for things like that, and that is ok by me.

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