Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dexter-Ann Arbor 10k RR - June 6, 2010

My first 10k, so an automatic PR. I ran well and felt good. I pushed myself and played a lot of mental games to avoid walking. There were some hills that were ok to deal with, and one b/tch of a hill at the end that nearly killed me. The 10k distance is no joke, either, especially to a beginner like me.

I've run 2 5k's before this with and nerves got the best of me. I felt terrible in both races. So this time, I was well prepared; I ran this course last weekend in terrible heat. But at race time, I knew where I was going, where the mile markers were (this course was well marked, but it was still nice to have a feel for where I was), and how bad the hill at the end was. Since race day weather was going to be awesome, I was not nervous - just excited and happy. It felt great to be out there in a neat town (we started and ended in downtown Ann Arbor, while the half marathoners were starting in Dexter and running to Ann Arbor - my brother and his gf were in that race). The race was sold out, so I was with 1539 other runners (6800 participants total). Nice crowd!

The skies were threatening rain, which never came (altho I reall wished for it around mile 4). It was cool - 68* - and the course was beautiful. It started downhill and I didn't care for it on cold legs. But the first mile is always the worst for me, and this day was no different. I stopped at the mile 1 water station, had a drink, and never stopped again. At the 3.1 turnaround, I was at 39:40 - a 5k PR for me, and then I enjoyed counting all the people on the other side who hadn't turned around yet. It kept me busy and motivated. I was passing people those last miles, and that felt good too. There were some speed walkers that were fast, I had a hard time passing them and paced them, chatting a bit. They had just walked a 5k in 36 minutes the day before... It was nice chatting with them and then speeding up to leave them behind me. There was a couple of gallo folks that leap frogged me the entire time. Interesting way to get thru the time. It must be less painful when you have all those walk breaks. Running the entire distance was not easy - I don't always take walk breaks when I run, but if I am not feeling it on a training run, I always have that option. In this race, I really wanted to run it and be strong. I just kept talking to myself, keep going, it's only 2 more miles, you can do this, it's supposed to hurt, you don't want to leave anything out here.

Mile 5 was nothing special, I just kept running and used one of my meditation mantras to get into a zone. I knew the hill was coming so I had to just get to it. It's in the last quarter mile of mile 6. I ran it, and it hurt - it is long and steep, but I got up it and had nothing left. I wanted to sprint down the finish block, and I did pick up the pace but not as fast as I wanted. The streets were lined with people cheering us on, which was awesome, and I looked at the faces and knew that I was alone - my brother was back in Dexter still and I hadn't encouraged my family to come, it's a long day for the kids and they had other stuff to do. I was fine with it until the finish, all those faces I was passing and no one even knows me. Then I hear my dad call out "Go Tracy!" and I couldn't believe it. My dad was there for me! Such an emotional boost after a tough run. I sobbed my way over the mat and forgot to stop my watch. I didn't care so much about my time but I felt good about my run, and that was my goal. My time was good for me though, and I am happy with it - 1:21:20 (a 13:06 pace).

I got a water and went to find my dad. He walked back with me to get some food - they had orange slices and I have never tasted anything so good. The half runners were delayed because a storm had knocked a tree into the course the night before. So we had some time together to wait for my brother. I stretched and used the porta potty (I passed one and mile 4 even tho I needed it, not peeing my pants was part of what kept me running!). My stomach was upset and food was not appealing to me.

When the first half-marathoner crossed (1:06), we were there cheering the runners on. That was so much fun. Those runners are just amazing - to maintain such a fast pace for 13.1 miles?!? Incredible!

There was a really large woman finishing the 5k around the same time. Her time was 1:26. We were at just the top of the hill, which was clearly a struggle for her. But she did it, and it was great to see the effort that people put into their own participation in these events. We can't all run a 20-minute 5k, but we are still out there, using events as motivators to get fit, be active, run what we can. I wish running were a bigger part of our culture, I wish I had started sooner, but I am glad I started.

My brother ended up running a 1:44:50, his gf a 1:41:27. We went to the Taste of Ann Arbor together and then a micro-brew for food and beer all afternoon. A great day, truly!

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