Thursday, January 20, 2011

August 1, 2010 - Who would have guessed??

I have to say that this was a super awesome running weekend!
On Saturday, Ryan and I ran in a local 5K race. Ryan signed up for cross country next year, and this was his first ever race. He has been running a couple of days a week with Shane and Ben (and those two were bummed they were going to miss the race). I was so so proud of Ryan! He got up super early and was excited. He ran hard and had a great attitude, even though it was tough. I was really proud of him. It was super fun to cheer him on when he came across the finish line. Go Ryan! I wish I had remembered my camera. He had a lot of fun (and got a shirt, a water bottle, a flashlight and a watermelon!)
I was nervous about doing a 5K. With all of the training I've been doing for the half marathon next month, I have been focusing on going longer distances at decent paces, but have not done any short/fast runs or done much speed work. I really, really wanted to do well but I was nervous.  My goal was to be under 27 minutes, which would be under a 9 minute a mile pace. I was really hoping for that, but just wasn't sure how to pace myself. I was worried about taking off too fast and dieing before the end, and I was worried about going out too slow and wishing i had pushed myself harder when it was over.
I took off at the start of the race and could tell I was running quite a bit faster than my usual pace, but at the same time I felt strong, and I felt I could keep it up. My legs felt great, my breathing was good, and I was really enjoying it. I was passing a lot of people (even guys!) and felt super good. I never did let myself look at my watch... I didn't want to be discouraged if I was slow or get all worked up if I was fast. Plus we were running in a canyon I wasn't familiar with, so it was hard to know how much further we had to go anyway.
For the last half mile or so I was just behind a girl I know that is usually quite fast in these 5k's and I was excited to be right with her. I could definitely feel myself being TIRED, but knew I could keep it up to the finish line. (I would not have been able to keep it up much further though! I was definitely done when I crossed that line).
When I crossed that finish line and they yelled out my time I couldn't believe it... I had to triple check that it was right. I finished my 3.1 miles in 23 minutes and 33 seconds! WOO HOO! 23:33. I never even dreamed I could be so fast. That is just over a 7 and a half minute a mile pace. I know i am not setting any records or anything and that in a bigger race I would not have even been very competitive, but for me, that was quick!  I am still excited about it. :)
I thought I had won my age division, but there was an incredible iron woman that finished in 19 minutes. WOW. But I was more than happy with second place and my time.
And then this morning, Jenny and I decided to run a half marathon distance for the first time. Josh drove us out to the top of the mountain pass we live by, and we ran the 13.1 miles back home. It had a lot of downhill, but two decent uphill stretches too. It was a GREAT run. The weather was great, we saw a rainbow again, and we were both feeling good throughout the whole run. We took the pace nice and easy and the miles just clicked on by. We had run 10 and 11 miles before and I knew we could do the half marathon distance, but it feels really good to have done it so successfully, and to still have a whole month to train before our race.
We ran over 168 miles in July and are going strong!
And... on top of that... with the (prodding) support and encouragement of a couple of friends and my awesome husband, I have decided to sign up for full marathon. So crazy. I remember saying not very long ago that I just wasn't cut out for that kind of distance and that I didn't think I could ever do a marathon, and now I am really excited to try and feel pretty confident that I can do one and will be able to do it fairly well. I am trying to decide between two marathons... I will let you know when we decide.
It is hard to put into words how much I love running and why. I have to get up at the crack of dawn (and earlier) every day to do it. It is HARD (sometimes really really hard). It is tiring.  And yet I love it. It is something I do just for myself. It is something I enjoy and feel proud of. And I am amazed at what I have been able to get this body to do and how great I feel both physically and emotionally. Who would have guessed that at 32 years old I would figure out that there was a runner in this body just waiting to be discovered?  I sure am glad I found her!

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