Yesterday I ran the Tidewater Striders Distance Series race, 6 miles. There was also a 10 mile option at the same time for those training for the full marathon.
There was no medal. There was no fancy tech shirt. There was no beer waiting for me at the finish line. All the things that attract me to live races weren’t included for this simple race though the Dismal Swamp. (I’m not joking it is called the Dismal Swamp). So why did I run it? Well, so I could get better. I push myself more at races. I love running with groups of people and it gives me a bit of anxiety that anyone can see my bib number and look up my time.
I woke up to rain outside. I was so tired. It was cold and wet, I wished I could have just stayed in bed. I paid money for the race and even roped my husband to run with me so I got out of bed and threw on my “flat me.”
It was about 25-30 minutes to the race site. I was tired and cranky. My husband was annoyed that I wanted to get there early and then just sit in my car. Finally we got out and ran in to two people from the J&A Training Team that I am a part of. Talking to them before the race got my spirits up a bit, but I was still ready to just get the race over with.
The first three miles I was feeling great. I couldn’t believe my pace, but I didn’t feel like I was in danger of pushing too hard. Then the next two miles happened. They were tough. The end wasn’t in sight. My husband left to go to the bathroom for a bit. I wanted to stop running and just walk. I kept thinking to myself though “what if I don’t stop, what if I finish at this pace.” I liked the idea of how that would feel. I kept moving.
I allowed myself to walk for about .15 mile drinking water and letting Rusty catch up to me after his bathroom stop. Then we were off. Surprisingly, my pace stayed roughly the same! Rusty asked if I was doing okay and I said “no” but I kept on pushing. I tried to slow down my pace, but the desire to keep up with him and to finish kept taking over.
He left and sprinted to the finish the last half mile. Again, I wanted to quit, I wanted to walk. I wanted to slow down to an easier pace. Again, I sucked up the pain and kept going. I started to wonder if the pain was even real or just an excuse.
I finished my 6 mile run in 1:02:20. Is this an amazing time? For me, YES! It was by far my fastest race pace. It may not be good compared to my running peers, but for me it is amazing progress.
I was wondering why I did so well. I don’t know for sure. The cold weather is nice. My husband was with me, I think he would be a comfortable 9:15 pace if he didn’t have me slowing him down. He stayed with me and pushed me to go harder. I appreciate that. It is what I need. I am taking this race as a sign that my training is paying off. I have started to become more dedicated with my training thanks to the training team. I love the idea that I may not be a slow runner forever. I doubt I will ever be Boston fast, but being in the upper middle of the pack is a fun dream to work towards.