I suppose it would have made more sense to recap the Fairfax Four back when it happened, you know, FOUR MONTHS AGO. But in my defense, I could hardly type for all the coughing when Bronchitis #2 settled in a day or two after the race. I know science doesn’t put much stock in the cold-air-making-you-sick folklore, but gulping oodles of cold night air certainly didn’t speed me on the road to recovery, either.
Anyway. The race. I love Fairfax races because they’re just so darn convenient. Easy to get to the start line, and as usual for Pacers races, well organized and a lot of fun. My newbie runner friend Jo happened to be running too, which was nice because we were able to kind of push each other along when the going got tough. Considering that I was only able to run 2-3 times the whole month of December, I was pretty darn pleased just to finish (Net time 52:16, average pace 13:04).
I have no snazzy pics for this race because apparently I was not shiny enough to be seen in the dark. Boo.
Fast forward through more coughing and wheezing and sleeping…
…to last Sunday. The GW Parkway Classic, another great Pacers race (I swear I’m not a shill) and at 10 miles, the longest race I’ve attempted to date. I took the Pacers shuttle to the start line, AKA Mount Vernon. This is pretty much the most nervous I’ve ever been before a race — even my first 5k was nothing compared to this.
I ran less than once a week for the 4 months leading up to this race, and now I’m just going to knock out 10 in one shot? Are you insane, woman?!
Apparently YES. YES I AM.
As I rode to the start, I decided that the only shot I had at completing the race without injury or a humiliating ride on the sag bus would be to Galloway (run/walk) it. I ran (more of a shuffle, really) for 3 minutes and walked for 2, over and over again, as the pack pulled away. (Hey, that’s okay, I prefer to run alone, especially on a gorgeous spring morning like this one.)
The legs were pretty tight and whiny for the first few miles, but miles 4/5/6 were not too bad. Mile 7 was neat because everything after 6.2 was the farthest I’d ever gone. Spotify was giving me all the right songs at just the right times. It was meant to be.
And then, mile 8. Ouch. From here to the last half mile, it was not a pretty scene. There was much walking. And by walking, I mean kinda limping along hoping that the pain in my feet and ankles doesn’t get any worse.
At one point around the 9 mile mark, when I realized that I was actually probably going to actually for real finish this thing, I got emotional… a sweet little moment for like half a second, until I literally almost choked on the lump in my throat. As in, airway closed, no O2 for you. Suck it up girlie, and keep going.
I let myself walk-hobble until Mr. Garmin showed 9.5 miles. Then it was time to pick it up to a shuffle-hobble. Got some encouraging cheers from passers-by in Old Town, and managed to make it across the finish line in 2:26:39 (14:40 average pace). I was kinda hoping to finish in under 2:30 (assuming I finished at all), so MEGA WIN for me.
Got my shiny finishers medal, hobbled out the finish chute, and kept hobbling until I found the bag pickup. I was the last bag for the volunteers at that particular table, so when they saw me coming they shouted my number and whooped and hollered and made me feel like a Finisher.
Which I suppose I am.
The moral of the story…
What did we learn from running a 10 miler with pretty much no training?
1. I can do it.
2. I never want to do it again.
Without training, that is. All my weird aches and pains during and after have just underscored the need for a realistic, gradual training plan if I want to move up to half marathons and full marathons. This is a very timely lesson to learn, because…
I won the lottery.