I couldn’t have asked for better weather. I couldn’t have wished for better company. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better race result.
For those of you who do not read this blog religiously, I signed up for a 10K just two days before the race, without any real 10K training.
Sure, I’ve been running again. I now have about two months worth of running under my belt. This means running anywhere from three to five times a week. But, prior to the race, my longest run had been about five miles. My plan all along had been for the Beat the Bridge 8K in May to be my “comeback” road race.
But, I got anxious and antsy. I was also getting major FOMO as the excitement of race week built for Tenacious Ten. I wasn’t going to miss out this year like I did list year (due to my knee injury).
My Oiselle teammate and friend, Rebecca, and I carpooled together to Gas Works Park early on race morning. I was feeling super excited. A little tired, but super excited. It was cold and windy while we waited for the race to start. But, I ran into some other teammates, whom I haven’t seen in quite some time so that was fun!
Even though I wasn’t planning to “full on race the thing,” I still wore my Oiselle singlet and shorts. As I waited in the crowd of runners waiting for the race to officially start, I was questioning my wardrobe choice. I was cold.
Once we started running, my legs felt light. I had a huge sense of warmth and happiness: I was road racing! After nearly two long and hard years since my last road race, I was back again!
Although I was wearing my GPS watch, I paid no attention to it. (Also, I haven’t figured out all the settings on my “new” Suunto so it doesn’t beep at mile marks, which I guess is a good thing for now). I trotted along, with lots of smiling runners around me. Or, I was smiling so I just figured everyone else was too!
But then some thoughts started popping in my head.
This feels a little slow.
I started making my way past other runners as we ran up a short incline to get on the University Bridge. It was from that point on that I continued passing runners … for the duration of the race.
Every time I’d settle into another pack of runners and feel like I was at a good pace, I’d think to myself “I can go faster.” So, I did.
My knee felt off-and-on achy but nothing new and nothing painful. I kept on running. In the final two miles, I really started picking up the pace. Even though I wasn’t racing for time, now I wanted to definitely beat one hour.
(At one short point, I was running 7:27 pace!)
Within the last mile, I looked at my watch and told myself I had a good chance of breaking 55 minutes.
After crossing the Fremont Bridge, I dug deep. I started breathing harder.
I’m actually racing now!
The sun was shining brightly. Since I hit that part of racing where things are feeling uncomfortable, I even had a moment of “When will this be over?”
Once I was back at Gas Works Park and about to leave the Burke Gilman Trail, it was all or nothing. I saw a handful of people in front of me, and I began chipped away at them.
I full-on sprinted into the finish — so fast and mindless, might I add, that I didn’t even notice Lauren Fleshman or Sally giving high-fives to finishers.
I did it!
Rebecca greeted me right at the finish line and said, “OK, ready to go?” (I had told her earlier that I wouldn’t have time to hang out after the race since I had a bridal shower to go to. Actually, I had my bridal shower to go to).
I reached for a cowbell medal from a nearby table, since I also somehow managed to sprint right by the volunteers handing them out. I also grabbed a water bottle. Despite half the race thinking I had to pee, now I no longer had to and was extremely thirsty.
My official time was 54:21.
I couldn’t be happier.