October 22, my 30th birthday, was the day for my big race–my first 4 mile race and first race post-pregnancy. In fact, my last race was the 5k I ran on March 27, 2010, at which I got my 5k PR (33:12), so it has been a LONG time since I ran a race. Fortunately for me, one of my longtime friends from my hometown saw that I was running this race and asked if she could run it with me and I said, “Yes, please!” I have never run with a partner but knew it would be nice to have the company.
The race didn’t start until 9 a.m., but my entourage (my parents and Stephen, plus my friend Haley) arrived at 8:25, so we had plenty of time to spare. Haley and I got our race shirts and then stood around in the chilly weather (I’m guessing it was mid-to-upper 40s before we started). We took a few photos to commemorate the event:
I was really feeling anxious about the race, especially because I only ran a total of ONE MILE all week long while on vacation, so I knew I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been, even though I had run 50 minutes last Saturday. Having my family and Haley there really helped distract me from my nerves, but I was so ready to just start the race! Finally, 9:00 a.m. arrived, and we were off. Haley had pledged to stay with me the whole time despite the fact that her mile pace is about 2 minutes faster than mine. I told her she didn’t have to stick with me, but she said she was there to support me and would stick with me, and she was true to her word.
Running with a partner was interesting because I had someone to talk to and I also was able to see how my running “personality” is different. Haley spent the whole race enjoying herself, taking in the scenery, saying hi to people, chatting away. I, on the other hand, was in my own little world and wouldn’t have known if Elvis had walked by, so little was I focused on the scenery or anything around me. My eyes were fixed on the road straight in front of me, and with each step I concentrated on my breathing and on not dying. 🙂 If someone were to compare the two of us as we ran, I have no doubt it would be obvious which person was having more fun. Hint: it wasn’t me.
But you know what? I DID have fun. I wore my new birthday present from my husband, the Garmin Forerunner 305, and I loved being able to see my time for each mile, even though they were SLOW miles. I had a blast talking with Haley during the race, and I got swept up in the excitement that comes with the start of a race and the rush of the runners all around me. Even though this race was longer than a 5k, I didn’t feel as though I was out there longer, which was a relief. The most difficult mile was mile 3. I was starting to feel like my legs had lead in them, and there was a hill that left me feeling winded enough that I had to walk for about a minute. As I walked, I was tempted to walk the rest of the race, and that’s when I knew I had to start running again or I knew I never would.
Going into the race I only had two major goals: 1) finish and 2) finish the last mile at a faster pace than the first mile. I secretly hoped to finish the race in 45 minutes, but I knew that would be pushing it.
To be continued…