Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dan River 5k.....check

Two weeks ago, I was walking in the park with a few friends and we encountered a guy that used to direct the VA Ten Miler. When he and I started chatting about my training and where I was, he told me, "You should run a race in a few weeks." Up until that point, I was on-track to do my first of a series of races on May 12th. That would be right at the end of my "Couch-to-5k" training. So, when he suggested I run without being prepared, I laughed it off. Then, I thought, "Why not?"

I mean, I didn't have to win. That's not the goal. But, doing it. Trying to cross that line. That really would help my training. It would take my confidence from, "This is hard," to "I can do this. I just did it a few weeks ago."

So, I found a race that I would care about and committed. This race benefited Autism Awareness in Danville, VA. I am not autistic, but I have a nephew who is. He is one of the smartest, most honest and spongiest kid that I know. He just happens to have autism. So, I ran for Colin.

They had everyone running write why they were inspired to run. It was legit.

This is Colin. He has a brain like a sponge and a charming wit. Love him!
Two weeks ago, My training partner and I were only worked up to running two miles- in intervals. So, I knew that this run was going to be a challenge in more ways than one. What I wasn't expecting was to develop Bronchitis eight days before the race. It sucked all by itself. It meant no running for a bit. Since allergies and asthma caused my cold to advance so quickly, I had to be careful and rest up so I would be able to heal. Needless to say, before today, the last time I ran was ten days ago, which is when the cold started.

Last night, I was so excited that I had problems getting to sleep. I needed to get up at 6am, so I knew I needed to be all rested up. I popped out of bed this morning with excitement after only five hours of sleep. I knew that would come back to haunt me, but what was I going to do? I was in bed by 9pm. I just didn't fall asleep until 3 1/2 hours later!

The drive to Danville was about an hour long, and was fairly quiet. Neither Jaime nor I are morning people, so just the fact that we were awake made us a tiny bit grumpy. I managed to keep positive in spite of being fairly grumpy, and no one attacked anyone else :)

This is Jaime. I was a little camera-happy. She was tolerating me and my excitement.

I was excited. I convinced myself that 76 was a lucky number. Plus, it matched my shirt!!
We got our racing packets, put on our numbers, and walked around for a little bit to get loose. In hindsight, I should have been more intentional about warming up. Jaime and I were chatting, and I was taking pictures of the park (which was super-pretty). So, I was a little distracted.

We were hoping that our run took us down this path. It didn't.

Cute little shaded area. Perfect for fishing or wading :)

We stood here for a while watching the ducks and decided being a duck would be pretty cool.

Ze Ducks (Geese)
Okay, so here's the synopsis of the race:
  • The race started
  • I started at a slow-but-I'm-gonna-finish pace
  • I stayed pretty much with the pace of Jaime
  • I felt my right leg cramping
  • I slowed down a little bit, but kept a steady pace
  • People passed me, and I got a little discouraged
  • I started to get really irritated with the playlist on my iPod. (Sidenote: While Gaelic music is usually good to work out to, it is now officially crossed off my "things I want to run in the sun to" list.
  • I felt the cramp in my leg go from the outer part to the hamstring.
  • I made it to the first mile before I had to slow to a walk and rrrrrrealllly stretch out my leg.
  • Once I started running again (about 1.25 miles), I started having breathing issues as my chest started to feel tight, mimicking the early part of an asthma attack.
  • I continued through mile 2 doing a walk-run-jog interval.
  • At mile 2, I decided to push through some of what I was feeling.
  • I started talking to myself. Out loud. Luckily, no one was that close to me. Things I said included, but were not limited to:
    • "YOU CAN DO THIS!"
    • "Just push a little bit more!"
    • "You can slow down when you get to that tree!"
    • "You don't have to run for your life. You just need to jog!"
    • "Stop trying to win. Just finish."
    • "This is not going to kill you. This is just exercise. People do it everyday." (I said this one frequently.)
  • I got to mile-marker "I," which meant I only had 1/2 a mile left. This was encouraging.
  • I told myself that I would run hard and finish the last 1/4 of a mile.
  • I came closer to the finish line and saw my time (enter discouragement and beating myself up)
  • Jaime was waiting for me at the finish line and came and ran the last 100 yards with me. Love her!
  • The closer I got, the more distinct everyone's cheers were. "You can do it, 76!" "You're almost there, 76!"
  • I realized that I was number 76 and started pushing harder.
  • I finished.
 In my head, everyone in front of me finished forever ahead of me. But, it was really only a minute or so. I'm glad I pushed that last bit. Plus, I told myself a few times, "Just try not to be last. That's not setting the bar too high." Well, I wasn't last. There was a kid way behind me that decided he wanted to try to win a 5k. He started out sprinting. When he lost steam, he walked. Then, he sprinted again. Then, he walked. I caught up with him at the halfway point. By that time, he was walking the whole time and looking like that was even strenuous. I high-fived him and walked with him for a bit to help him feel happy. (I don't know if that made him feel happy at all. My gesture probably lost it's effect once I peeled out and jogged away from him. Poor guy.)

This is what we looked like about 15 minutes after I finished. Apparently, this Irish girl's face was pretty red!
 We did it. For a good cause. We finished the race.

And we're (or at least I'm) doing it again in three weeks.

Monday starts the training up again. I've heard that a recovery run is pretty hard, so hopefully my body doesn't protest too much. :)

P.S. I've lost 12 pounds so far!!

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