Monday, November 30, 2009

Race Recap: Turkey Trot 10K

On my first day of my Thanksgiving break, I was awake at the crack of dawn to do something I really, really didn't want to do. I had signed up, along with my mom, to participate in the St. Petersburg Times 30th Annual Turkey Trot.

I wasn't looking forward to it. I had tried everything to get out of it. I thought I had my way out when my mom's iPod suddenly wouldn't charge the night before the race. Alas, she managed to run without it. And I had to go.

I was too nervous to eat anything beforehand. I had a bad, I'm-so-nervous stomachache an hour before the race. I was so afraid of failing.

But I did the race. I crossed the finish line. And it was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Mile 1: Run
Obviously, my first run was easy as pie. Well, for the first three minutes. I started running with my mom but she quickly sped ahead of me and I had to set my own pace. I should mention that I haven't been running often. I did manage to run 3 miles in July but I've only been running half-mile's since then. I'm definitely not in 10K-race shape. But I wanted to run at least 3 of the 6 miles. It was hard, with tons of people passing me by. But I set my own pace and focused on the songs playing in my ears. It was also helpful for the people standing outside their houses, cheering us on! When I finally saw the Mile 1 marker, I lifted a fist in the air. I've never been so excited to see a sign in my life! I felt as if the first mile went on forever and I kicked my pace up to a sprint. And I managed to sprint to that marker. It was such a great, exhilarating feeling! I ran a mile!

Mile 2: Walk
I have short legs. Therefore, a short stride. Therefore, tons and tons of people passed me. It was fine when I was running, because I was setting my own pace. But walking? I get very annoyed when people pass me when I'm walking...and they're walking. I did see a lot of interesting people on the race during Mile 2. I saw a girl attempting to run in tight jeans and flats. Yes, that's right. Tight jeans. And flats. Who runs in flats? I think she managed ten steps before she stopped. And I silently laughed at her.

And then my theory that my stride is short because my legs are short was voided when I saw a lady, about two or three inches shorter than me, pass me. I called her Lady Long Stride and made a face behind her back. It made me feel better.

But I did enjoy walking the second mile. It gave me a chance to catch my breath and focus on the next mile. And I couldn't wait to pass the people who had just passed me.

Mile 3: Run
It was so, so, so hard to begin the third mile. My entire body felt like it weighed 300 pounds. I was so sluggish and lethargic. I really didn't believe I could do an entire mile.

But then something amazing appeared before me: a water station. Three big gulps of agua later and I was a new woman! No, my speed didn't pick up but my spirits sure did. I stopped thinking about how hard I was breathing or how much my calves ached. I just focused on getting to the third mile marker and completing this mile. I focused on the words playing in my ears. I focused on the scenery. I focused on the people I was passing (including Lady Long Stride). I focused on the people cheering me on from the sidelines. During this mile, the trail started twisting and turning. For the first 2 miles, it had been on a straight road so I liked all the twisting and turning. It made the path a little more interesting. And I sang a little "Hallelujah" when I came upon the third mile marker. I sprinted towards this one, felt as if my entire body was on fire and my heart would come pounding through my chest, and made it. Wow.

Mile 4: Walk
I have never been so happy to walk in my life! That third mile was killer on me but it was exciting to know I was halfway finished! We were walking in a beautiful neighborhood and it made me wish for my camera. Obviously, I'm rambling right now because there wasn't much happening in mile four. Nobody interesting to talk about. No pain to lament about. Nothing incredible happened. I just walked. And thought about how I was going to write this blog post. Yep.

Mile 5: Walk
Hm? Have I given up? Am I too tired to run anymore? Well, yes and no. I decided to walk Mile 5 so I could run Mile 6. And I knew I wouldn't be able to run Miles 5 and 6. So I walked this one. I was at peace with my decision and enjoyed the scenery and the people once again. And still, I've got nuthin' interesting to say about walking Mile 5. Nuthin'. During Mile 5, though, as I was walking down a street, I could see the top of the rest of the street. In other words, there was a big hill coming up. A big one. Oh, dear.

Mile 6: Walk/Run
As I began running Mile 6, I felt so sluggish and swollen. My hands were swollen twice their size. And then I encountered The Hill. Not just any hill. Imagine putting your treadmill on a 50% incline. Now try to run. Oh, em, gee. Horrible. I tried to run, I really did. But it hurt so badly that I had to walk until I got up the hill. After turning onto the street, I started running again. But at a very, very, very slow pace. I swear it took me 5 minutes to pass a speed walker. But I ran, even when it looked as if the mile was neverending.

And then, halfway into my last mile, my mom showed up! She had finished her race and I was running so slow, she managed to walk with me for a while. I tell ya, slow! But still running and my heart rate was POUNDING! And when I finally saw the finish line, I was on fire. I ran full speed to it and finished in 1 hour and 36 minutes.

I finished the race. I "ran" a 10K. Maybe I didn't run the whole thing but I still finished it. I was so proud of myself. I didn't think I could do it. I didn't think I had enough stamina. But I did do it.

I was super sore after the race and the following two days but it felt good. I worked my muscles out. And I was able to eat all the turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and cupcakes I wanted - and not feel guilty.

And I kinda want to do another 10K...soon.
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