I’ll never forget the day I became a “distance runner”. It was the first Saturday morning track and field practice my freshman year of high school. I was a sprinter (or so I thought). Before the end of the practice, the coach approached me and told me I needed to talk to the distance coach. I’ve never felt so confused in my life. I ended up finding a happy medium as a mid-distance runner throughout high school, earning my letter at 2 different schools with the 800m dash.
Post-high school I ran on and off on my own. I never made it past 6 miles in training. I only remember racing two different 5ks in my past. But a half marathon has always been on my life’s bucket list. So, at age 34, I decided to take baby steps and sign up to run my first 10k.
I chose the Race for Maggie’s Place, as I’ve had friends run it in the past, and it benefits an organization I support. I’ve never been able to do it because it usually fell on my birthday weekend. I ended up scheduling a trip to Colorado a few days before the race, returning less than 12 hours before the start of the race, which may not seem like the best idea, but which actually helped me relax, get some altitude, and eat (mostly) clean the whole time.
I felt ready on race day. I had been getting my distance runs in, with some amazing negative splits the weekend before. I get my interval training in along with my cross training with cross fit. I brought my new Nathan palm bottle, and packed all the fuel I needed for pre and post race. Once I arrived, I noticed my phone hadn’t been charging properly. Yes, I’m one of those people who rely on their phone for music and Map My Run in my ear to stay focused. I watched my battery fall rather quickly, for not being in use, before the race. I put my phone on low battery mode, trying to preserve it the best I could. I used the bathroom, um, portapotties, twice, tried warming up my legs a bit, and got to the starting line about 20 minutes before the race started.
On your marks. Get set. Drama! The race started. I tried not going too fast, I allowed people to pass me without worrying about it, and then I had to pee (AGAIN). Mile one. Done. Then my phone blacked out. I started stressing out BIG time! How was I going to run another 5 miles with no music, no split times, and needing to go to the bathroom? The thoughts swirling around in my head were unreal. How can I finish? Where is a bathroom? If I can’t handle a 10k, how am I to handle a 15k and half marathon? The ONE good thing that came out of nothing in my headphones was over hearing the conversation of a small group of runners in front of me- one of whom also needed to pee. I was relieved to not be alone and felt slightly less abnormal. There were construction port a potties way off course, but I passed on those. Fortunately around mile 2, there were brick bathrooms. While in there, I started pushing my phone home button a billion times, and by the time I started running again, it all started back up again! Yay music! Unfortunately, Map My Run was no longer current, but I at least had my music.
I got into a groove, and was able to relax. I found people to try and stay or go back and forth with, wondered why non-racers would be so bold as to ride their bicycles going with, or against, the flow of a race on our path, and finally made it to about mile 4 before I started to tank. It was hot. Yes, it was “cooler” than it had been, but the race started at the time I’m used to finishing my training. I was grateful for my running hat I had recently won from a challenge through my MRTT running group. I accepted water on the go from a couple spots, as the water in my palm bottle was no longer refreshing. I kept my head held high, enjoyed the random breeze over the bridge, and made my only goal to keep running and not stop. I usually have a negative last split while training. This time was not the same. I had absolutely nothing left, which is the one reason I can look back and despite the drama in the beginning, have no regrets. 1:15:45.