It was a beautiful morning for a run. Cold & rainy. The excitement was high as I located several of my work buddies getting ready for their very first 5k's. We met up and chatted nervously as everyone picked up their race packets and secured their timing chips. People were lining up at the two (2) porta potties provided (for over 400 participants, dozens of volunteers, and numerous supporters).
I awoke that morning ready to tackle the day ahead. I had my half cup of coffie, ate a cheese stick and a banana, took my pain reliever, and drank a '5 hour energy'. I had had doubts the night before the race as to whether or not I would be able to run the 10 miles I had signed up for. I had not run for 10 days due to pain. My last run (6.5 miles) just happened to be the majority of the course in which we would be racing on. I had some major encouragement from my Team Tough Chick girls to 'go for it'. I had messages such as: "you got this" and "you'll regret it if you don't".
I stood around, stretched, drank my nuun, and talked with my husband. At 8:57am I decided it was time to head to the starting line where I chatted with a few friends who were tackling the 10-mile course also. The excitement was high as people jockeyed for position at the starting line. I tried to stay to the back of the pack as I knew I would be in the way of the faster runners.
The cowbell rang and we were off. I started my RunKeeper app on my phone which promptly said, "Activity started." I struggled to stuff it into my SPIbelt and zip it up. As I ran down the street towards the first turn I was thinking, "I feel pretty good, I can do this". We made the turn and ran across the bridge over the Willamette River which was brown, high, and fast moving. The course took us through downtown and out into the country. My RunKeeper told me that my first mile was at a 12:19 min/mile pace! I thought, "This is way too fast for me to sustain, I'd better slow down a bit." I went into the Galloway method, which I had been training with, so as to not overtire myself too soon. I continued to run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute for the next 6 miles. Things were going well; I was feeling good.
My phone was having issues the entire race! It kept dialing home on it's own. I had to keep taking it out and disconnecting the call. Then my RunKeeper app stopped working! I really count on knowing my pace and having it tell me when it is time to run and time to walk. After about a half a mile, I pulled my phone out of my SPIbelt, again, and checked my app, and started a new activity on it. This really messed me up as now I didn't know my overall pace and the mileage wasn't correct.
I was running in the bike lane, nobody else in sight, until I see my husband biking toward me! What a wonderful sight that was! He stopped to take a video of me running past him at about mile 7.5. I took off my jacket and handed it to him and asked him to bring it to the finish line.
The course had taken me down the street a block from my house and I was relieved to see the 'Mile 8' marker; only 2 more to go. Two very long and slow miles. I couldn't wait for this to be over! I was now running 1 minute, walking 2. My legs really didn't want to keep going; my lungs were burning; my head was saying you can do it. Dig deep! No problem! You can do it! You've come so far, you can't quit now! I came to a corner with several young volunteers (bundled up in jackets, scarves & gloves). Was it really that cold out? The sun had come out; it had stopped raining. Focus, Melissa! The volunteers were cheering me on. Such a great feeling which gave me a burst of energy, albeit small.
I ran down the street, along the river, under the bridges and made the turn which would take me up and over the bridge, again. I thought I'd better try and run (slowly) up the front side of the bridge as my legs just might stop working if I walked it. Had to switch to walking until I got up over the top and started running again. Almost there! Decided I'd better walk for awhile as my lungs were really protesting the effort. I came upon a wonderful police officer who was stopping traffic so I could cross the street and head for the finish line. OK, Melissa, you gotta take a walk break or you'll collapse before you get there. Short walk break over, I began to run again. I see a friend drive past me in her bright yellow VW bug and I think, "I bet she finished the race over an hour ago! She probably went home, took a shower, and is ready to get on with the rest of her day." Once again, focus on your job, Melissa! I see my husband come around the backside of the building, where the finish line was, to take pictures. I run up the sidewalk and around the corner. I see the finish line; I hear the announcer saying here she comes, let's cheer her in. Around another corner, past a few cheering spectators, and across the finish line! I had done it!
A volunteer clipped off my race chip as I clung to fence. I gave my husband a kiss and he congratulated me on a job well done. I went over to get some refreshment and everything was gone! All cleaned up. I did get a bottle of water. They were tearing down the finish line chute! There were still 3 runners still out there! Don't they know we, at the back of the pack, are as important as those at the front? Don't we deserve to have post-race food, too? Not to mention there were only about a dozen spectators left.
I stuck around until the last person finished. As she crossed the finish line they put a medal around her neck for 2nd place in her age group. She's 80 years old! What an inspiration! Those of us hanging around got our pictures taken (need to get a copy of those) together. We had survived the iRun For Kids 10-mile race! My first race of the 2012 season.