Monday, August 19, 2013

This one goes to 11

Even though I still have kidney stones rattling around my insides and I've been battling tendinitis and have barely run in the last couple of weeks (my last long run was July 27), on Saturday August 17th I laced up my new ankle brace and set out to run the 10 mile Clove Run for the first (and only) time. I LOVE the 5K. It's local, it's small, it's fun. I always do my best there. I LOVE making it home in time to cheer on the runners doing the 10 mile that goes right past my house. But this year I decided to do the 10 mile instead--as preparation for the half in October--and to prove to myself that I could do it a year after having a baby. My fourth baby. It was kind of a bucket-list race. This was going to be my one time doing it so I could go back to the 5K and get back to cheer my friends on next year! So, even though I've had some set backs and I knew it was going to be the hardest run I've ever done, I felt like I had to do it. The race course is made up of my local country roads. Long, hilly, deserted country roads. I drive these roads all the time. I knew every hill and long stretch of corn fields coming up. It's kind of tough to keep running when you know EXACTLY how far you have left and what's around the corner.


Before the 10 mile I ran the 1 mile with the Princess, SkyWalker and Vader pushed Chewie in the jogging stroller while Grama stayed with LightRunner. It was the best mile I ran that day. SkyWalker took off and Vader had to really run to keep up with him. He walked a couple of times but for a lazy kid who complains about everything he did really well. I'm not sure how quickly he did it because I was with the Princess. She had to walk a bit more, but when she was running she did pretty good. We finished in the 12 minute range, which meant SkyWalker finished well before that. Which is pretty awesome when they've never done a 1 mile race before. I thought the 1 mile would be a good warmup for the longer race and I think it was.

I started the 10 mile with my friends (who all did wonderful! Bridget did awesome and had a major PR. Felice was her usual amazing self despite being sidelined with an injury not too long ago) and as usual I started out too fast. But my foot would not let me keep it up. I knew I wasn't "racing" and I knew that the half marathon is the more important race, so I just fell back and ran my own race. Quite literally my own race. I ran up the first smaller hill and had to stop and walk so I could adjust my water belt and my bib. Then I kept going and going. When I got to mile 6 I realized that the only person behind me was on a bike. I asked if I was last and he diplomatically said "we were at the end." I had NO idea until then. I knew there were still two big hills coming up and I still had the hardest part of the race to go and I was already last. There was a woman about half a mile in front of me and I hauled ass to pass her. I caught up to her and ran with her a little and then we walked the first big hill and then I was on my road so I started running ahead of her.

I passed the house and the kids had signs and were cheering and Vader was there and I wanted to just stop and let him carry me inside. But I kept going and going. I passed the house when I told him I would so I really wasn't running much slower than I anticipated. It was just that everyone else was much faster. But somehow I made it to the end of my road and the last 2 miles of the race.

The last part of the race is the most brutal. There is a a huge hill (I walked) and then you still have more to run before the end! There's no crowd support. Nothing to get you through. I almost tripped and the old volunteer dude said "We can't have any falling now." in that funny old man way so that helped. I got to the last half mile or so and one of the Strong Running Mamas was running in the opposite direction but turned around to run with me and it was exactly what I needed. Just to have someone else with me.
When I sprint, I heel strike. When I run normally, I don't.
When I started to turn the corner for the home stretch I sprinted to the finish and then I was done. 10 miles done. 10 miles after a 1 mile fun run. So I did 11 total miles, my longest ever, with tendinitis and kidney stones and still nursing this baby, and I did it in less than 2 hours (1:54:36 official time) which is what I expected with the hills. I've looked at previous years results and there were more people in this race but they were all so much faster! There were people who finished in 2 1/2 hours in the last couple of years. Clearly they've been training! I'm not really thrilled with it, but I'm proud that I finished and I'm okay with my time. I wasn't racing it, I was just trying to run it. And I did.

And I did it on my 11th wedding anniversary, so that's pretty cool. But no, I won't be doing 12 miles next year.