Monday, April 11, 2011

Ukrop's 10K Conqured

Since I have been starting to exercise on a regular bases back over the summer, I started to walk/run.  I would walk a loop that was about 1.25 miles about once a week.  Shortly as the end of summer came, I started walking two loops, which would be about 2.5 miles.  In about October, I would start running the down hill parts, but that's not many in my neighborhood.  I went to California in late October and while I was there I got about 4 strait days of running around a flat marina.  I got it up to 25 minutes before I had to stop and walk/run back to the hotel.  That was my very first accomplishment in running.  So when I got home, I started to run, not only the down hills, but the flat parts too.  I added a little more each time till I got to the point where I was running all but the up hills.  I still wasn't ready for that.

January came around and talks of the Ukrop's 10K started to surface everywhere.  This is one of the biggest 10Ks on the east coast.  Now, 4-5 years ago, I did participate in the 10K a few times.  The first time I was going to walk it and decided that it was just a walk and I could easily do 10K.  And there were so many people there that I had to park like a mile away and then in my first mile, I pulled a leg muscle.  So I limped the whole way through the other 5 some miles to the finish line.  Then I limped another mile to my car.  I was not a happy camper that year.

The second year, I decided to join the YMCA 10K Training team.  I was still just going to walk it, but this time I was gonna get some extra exercise from it and really prepare myself.  I really did well and sped walked it.  It was really good.  The next year I did the same thing, joined the YMCA 10K Training team, but didn't keep up with it.  Then it took me almost an hour to find parking, which I never did, and I missed my wave start time even though I showed up extra early.  I went home mad and did some gardening.  I vowed that I wasn't going to do the Ukrop's 10K again till they fixed the parking issue.  That was about 2 years ago.

I have been exercising regularly with a group of people from work.  We talked each other into joining the race this year.  My thought was that I could make someone else drive so I didn't have the stress of parking, or maybe getting one of my parents to drive me down and drop me off.  I joined the 10K Training team again this year, too.  The goal, run the whole 6.2 miles.

Each week, on Saturday, I would go up to the Downtown YMCA (they actually training on the roads the race was going to be on) and run with them.  Started out with a mile, then 2, then 3 for a couple weeks.  I knew I could do the first couple weeks, but was going to try my best the rest of the time.  I set up my schedule to run on Saturday with the Y and then Sunday on my own.  Monday and Wednesday is my Adrenaline Exercise class.  Tuesday and Thursday were my palates classes.  It was a full week of exercise.

We started a few weeks in to 3 miles.  I wasn't sure if I could do it, but the stubborn part of me wouldn't let me stop and walk.  The same for the week we started 4 miles.  I couldn't believe that my body was able to do it.  The week with 5 miles was one of the hardest as I planned on running 5 miles both Saturday and Sunday.  But I was shocked that not only did I run the whole 5 miles on Saturday, I turned around and did it again on Sunday.  I knew if I could do two 5 mile days, then I could do the 6 miles the next week.

Now let me tell you, I wasn't really loving the running, the distances or the amount of running I was doing in such a short period of time.  But I had a goal, and my mind was set.  My stubbornness kicked in each week and made me accomplish it.

Two weeks before the 10K, we had a "dress rehearsal" at the Y.  We were to run 6 miles that week.  The first couple miles were horrible, as usual.  The middle of the run came up and I was thinking that maybe I could do it.  But the last mile or so was really hard.  I was tired and in pain, but I knew I was close to the end, that I couldn't give up no matter what.  I just kept running.  And up came the finish line and I was done.  I ran my first 6 miles (no stopping, no walking) ever.  I knew I could do the 10K and finish it.

Race day came.  I got a ride from my parents to the race with someone else with us.  Mary and I got all ready and had our bibs on.  We checked our bags and sort of made it over to the start line (we had to walk extra around the kids race).  We were about an hour early so we walked up and down the waves and started to stretch.  We only saw one other person we knew, even though we knew tons of people participating.  But it's kinda hard to find people that you know in the middle of 40,000 runners and tons of spectators.

Me and Mary before the race.

Our wave started to come up.  We got ready with our headphones and made sure our shoes were tied tight enough.  And before we knew it, the race had started for us.  We stayed together for little under a mile and I started going a bit faster than her.  We already knew I would go faster than her and she was fine with me leaving her.  I needed to do this at my pace and my time.

The first mile marker came up out of no where.  I couldn't believe that the first mile was over with already.  1/6th of the way done.  As I moved on to the mile 2 marker, I was sure they forgot to put it up and I would soon be upon the 3 mile marker.  What seemed like ages I saw one of the markers, but to my really big disappointment, it said 2.  I was sure that what I had just done was more then that.

I kept running, weaving in and out of walkers.  The water stops started and that was more weaving as people stopped to get water.  I had been training without drinking druing the race, so I planned on not stopping for water this race.  I knew if I stopped or walked at all, I would lose all my momentum.

The third mile came up as we started our turn around.  That mile went a lot faster than the second, thankfully!  The half way marker came up after the turn around.  I was expecting to see a clock to see how long it's been since the start, but they didn't have one there.

Off to the 4th mile marker and that mile wasn't too bad either (from mile marker 3 to mile marker 4).  I was really noticing the hills at this point.  Anything that made me work harder was evil.  Once I hit the 5 mile marker, I knew I was getting close.  I couldn't wait for that last 1.2 miles to be over with.  This last mile really was long too, cause I wanted it to be over.

I kept looking for the camera guys.  They always are there at the very end taking photos close to the finish line.  About this point some woman with a jogging stroller comes running in front of me to where I had to weave to avoid her.  She went over and I guess ran with her husband some.  Two things that you were not suppose to do: family was not suppose to run with the runners at the end and there were no strollers allowed.  I did yell toward her as she almost tripped me up that there were no strollers allowed on the course.  How rude.

I finally got to where the official cameras were.  I waved up to them excited to be close to the end.  I could now see the finish line.  At that point, I took off.  I knew I could use the rest of my energy that I might have had left.  As I crossed the finish line, I looked up at the clock.  I calculated my time to be about 1 hour and 10-15 minutes.  That was not right in my head.  I was sure it would take me about an hour and a half, but I would find out my official time when I looked it up.

My official race photo just before the finish line.

A few feet from the finish line I moved over as quickly as I could so that I could stop out of anyone's way.  I bent over and tried to catch my breath.  I had used everything in my tank for that last few hundred yards.  I was spent.  A lady in front of me asked if I was alright, I said yes, I just needed water.  I walked toward the exit area and passed someone puking.  At this point all my emotion of the last two months of training and the last hour of the run came flooding out.  I was holding back tears.  I was not only physically spent, but emotionally as well.  I had put in front of me a goal to run 6.2 miles and I just completed that.  It took 2 months of training and a bunch of fortitude to complete and everything just rushed to me.

I got my water and got the food that was offered.  I headed for my bad and called my dad to tell him that it was time to come pick us up.  I walked over to the T-Shirt stand that was selling VCU Final Four shirts and bought a couple.  Then walked over to the finish line and took some photos and waited for Mary.

The finish line.  Can't see the runners through the spectators.

Not long after I got to the finish line and took a couple pictures, Mary called and told me that she was done and at the baggage claim area.  I headed over there and the two of us headed to where we were going to meet my dad.  My dad was already there and waiting - he made great time getting back there.  Mary and I went up to my moms office to say hi and go to the bathroom.  After we left, we headed to the Waffle House (basically my dad's favorite restaurant) to have lunch.

 Me and Mary after the race.

Overall it was a pretty good day.  I didn't do much but shower and rest the rest of the day.  But I was glad I did it, but am really unsure if I ever want to run that far again.  I didn't like the training - running so many long distances in a short period of time.  Though, I'm already signed up for a 5K in a few weeks.  I can do that with no problem.

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