Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Get in Gear 10K

Wow!  I have wanted to write this post for days but life has been craaazy!  As some of you know - if you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter - I RAN A 10K ON SATURDAY! 

Going in to Saturday morning I was a little nervous - not so much about running the race but dealing with the race day crowd and the sheer amount of people I knew would be there.  The forecast for weather was not good - all week all Keith Marler would tell me is that it was going to rain Saturday morning!  I begged and pleaded for an updated forecast but no dice.  I woke up Saturday morning and it was raining - and it was not a drizzle - it was raining!  Fortunately it was not too cold  - it was about 40 degrees.  We have run in much colder conditions and actually I think Melissa and I would have felt better had it just been snowing!  That we were used to - rain, not so much!

Melissa picked me up at 7:15 and we headed to Minnehaha Park.  They had buses shuttling runners over from the VA Medical Center parking lot.  It was a pretty smooth process even though the rain was pretty relentless.  We got to the park and met up with Troy and Jamie (friends running with us from work).  I had a couple of other friends running too so I was keeping an eye out - and lo and behold I spotted Ann and her husband Jay before the race started.  I was glad to see her and be able to give her a pre-race hug - we are both first time 10K'ers and she is a great source of encouragement for me!

It was cold just hanging out waiting for the race to start but we finally got to the time to make our way to the start line.  Holy people!  People everywhere - we found our way to a clear spot and got ready.  Before we knew it the gun went off and we were....moving at a snail pace!  Seriously - it took us almost 2 minutes to cross the start line to start the race.  The first mile or so was pretty congested with people but after that point it got better and there was less bumping and crowding.  I have never run in a race with so many people (5000)! 

I felt great during the run, I had my iPod turned on, running next to my best friend and it was raining!  You really couldn't ask for a better situation!  I kid!  But, really each time we passed a mile marker I kept waiting for my legs to get tired and to have the urge to tell Melissa it was maybe time to take a quick one minute walk break.  But, that time never really came.  I am fairly confident I was running on the high of race day excitement - whatever it was - it felt good! 

We got to mile 5 and I remember turning to Melissa and saying "you know if we can run this last 1.2 in less than 10 minutes we could cross at under an hour".  I clearly was insane at that point!  We still had the Ford Bridge to get over and I really had no idea what the course looked like before or after the bridge.  We ran a pretty strong last mile and when we came around the corner and saw the 6 mile sign we stepped it up a little bit.  I could feel my stride naturally get longer and our speed got quicker.  We finished that last .2 with as much energy as we had left!  We crossed the finish line together (with about 10 or 30 other people!) and I was so happy!  I had just finished a 10K race, I just ran 6.2 miles without taking a walk break, and I felt so great!  Troy was there waiting for us at the finish - he was so proud of us, I thanked him for encouraging us to sign up for the 10K (he was right, this is a good distance!).  Jamie came across the finish shortly after Melissa and I - she did so great, her first running race EVER and she did amazing! 
My official race time was 1:03.  I was ecstatic with that time.  I was hoping for just over an hour so I was very pleased.  Despite the weather I did have a few people that ventured out in the rain to cheer us on!  My in laws were on the parkway toward the beginning of the race - it was great to see them there and the energy stuck with me for another mile or so!  And then my mom was at the finish with the big crowds, shaking her cowbell for us as we came around the last bend!  It was so great to have a few familiar faces there cheering us on.  My hubby and kids stayed home because of the weather - Zoe was major bummed!  I also have to say the number of people that were there cheering for the runners throughout the course was so awesome.  Complete strangers but their encouragement really did help - if it wouldn't have affected my time I would have stopped and thanked them all! 
After the race we met up with Ann and Jen for a post race photo op!  It was fun to see them after and be able to revel in our 10K accomplishment together! 

Jen, Ann and Me - 10K finishers!  Woot! Woot!
It really was a great experience overall - even with the rain.  The Get in Gear is a really well done event, they had a ton of volunteers and I will for sure be back next year!  I have a few more races in the next couple of months - mostly 5Ks, but have decided that I need to find another 10K race for the end of June to keep me motivated and on track with my training!  I am also toying with training for the Twin Cities 10 Mile race in October.  You heard it hear folks, I have officially caught the running bug!  Who knew!

This has gotten very long but before I wrap up there is one more person I need to say thank you to.  My dear friend Melissa: she's my training partner, she's my Caribou coffee comrade and the best friend I could ask for.  If it was not for her, none of this would have been possible.  The early Saturday morning runs, by myself?  I don't think so!  Thank you so much for going on this adventure with me - I look forward to many more chapters - and adding many more crazy running friends along the way! 

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