This morning, bright and early, I showed up at Gas Works Park for the inaugural Heroes Half & 10K. It had slipped my mind until this week, but I thought why not? A 10K shouldn't be too bad. I should have rethought the race when I saw the start time was 7 a.m. Ugh, which meant I was up early.
I made it to registration and picked up my number, t-shirt and chip. The t-shirts looked quite small so I asked for a men's shirt, hoping it would fit, and it did for the most part, but hearing a couple of the girls complain about how small the shirts were behind me in the line for the bathroom, I think I did right in asking for a men's instead of a women's shirt.
The race started in waves, which wasn't clear until you got up close to the front. They asked the slower runners to hold off, so I stood off to the side until probably the second to last wave. I didn't have a good plan going into this race for a run/walk ratio, so we'll be playing it by ear (or knee as the case may be).
I knew the 10K split from the half at some point, but I wasn't familiar enough with the course map to know where and I started getting nervous. I kept looking for blue race numbers (10K) but all I could see were the red race numbers (half). But there was no need to worry - they had volunteers at the separation point, and I dutifully followed the 10K signs. My first walk break was forced when I came across uneven wooden railroad tracks. Even slowing down to a walk didn't stop me from slipping a couple of times. Somewhere between 2K and 3K the fast boys doing the half started passing me. A little demoralizing that it happened so early, but not unexpected.
I kept trudging along, walking through the first water stop (approx mile 2). One of the fast boys said to me as he passed "Great job! Hang in there!" I'm always so impressed by people who cheer on others. It's all I can do to breathe! Thanks!! I accept any and all cheers!!
I walked through the second water station (approx mile 4). I was starting to feel it a bit in my legs so I decided to run 6 songs, walk 1. That lasted through one hill and halfway up another before I slowed to a walk. I got to the top of the hill and started running again. I had another unanticipated walk break on the downhill - it was fairly steep and given my propensity for tripping I thought it would be better to slow to a walk.
I had reached the top of a hill (another one) when I realized I didn't have my race number anymore! I stopped trying to see if I had just lost it, but it was nowhere to be found. I was so disconcerted. I don't lose my race number! I shook it off and continued. I was beginning to think I was going to have to rethink my strategy and start running 1 song and walking 1 song. But all the worrying about the race number had carried me to the 9K sign. 1K? I can so run 1K! With that reassurance I powered through, although that might have been the longest 1K ever! But finally I crossed the finish line!! Yay!!
And the stress over losing my race number? Well I'm almost embarrassed to admit, but guess what I discovered when I looked down after I crossed the finish line? Yup, my race number. My race belt had slipped and gotten tangled with my layers of shirts and when I initially looked down, didn't see or feel it, I assumed it was gone forever. Whew!
Going into the race, I had hoped to finish in around 1hour 20 minutes. After the second water station (when I began to fall apart), my new goal was 1 hour and 30 minutes. As I crossed the finish line the clock read 1:28:52 (or there abouts). Woohoo!! Plus, this was the clock time, not my chip time. Sweet! My chip time, you ask? Why, 1:20:48 - nice!
Again, running the shorter race meant there wasn't a long line to get stretched out. Wow, he stretched me in ways I didn't know I could move. I stretched a little more on my own before getting in my car and heading to hot yoga to continue the stretching process. I was fairly useless in hot yoga but I did get a few good warriors and chattarongas in. I have found going to hot yoga after a longer run greatly reduces the soreness the next day.
And that was my morning!