This past Saturday, I participated in the longest race I have run to date. The Monster Dash 10 Mile race was always something that I joked about doing, then chickened out on. I very distinctly remember the first year that I (very drunkenly) agreed to to the 10 mile… only to sober up and realize I could barely run a 5k.
This same exchange between me and my friend Alison happened twice more (always after the Saint Paul Summer Beerfest, where apparently I think I can run marathons), and each time I chickened out.
This year was different. I waited quite a long time before I actually signed up. Pushing that “Register” button on the website for the Monster Dash felt like playing Russian Roulette with myself. I’d either run the race, or I’d totally chicken out.
Determined to not chicken out, I started training. Slowly. I was getting more and more nervous about the race as it approached, since running 4 miles filled my body with all kinds of aches and pains.
Somewhere in the middle of this, my friend Sara convinced me to run a half marathon… And this blog was born, and so was my determination to make it through that 10 mile race. If I could make it through 10 miles, I could do 13.
Running. Is. Such. A. Mental. Game.
I can’t say that enough.
I started going for “long runs” on the weekend, stepping up to 6-8 miles at a time. It started feeling easier. It wasn’t as terrifying to be out running for over an hour… It kind of felt nice to be alone out in the quiet of nature.
Austin happened, with the accidental 10 miles, and I finally… FINALLY felt confident enough to run the race.
As we crossed the start line, I freaked out. I think I made us walk about half a mile in, mostly because my brain instantly went into panic mode. It was COLD. It was RAINING. I was certain I couldn’t breathe… and I was also certain I would never finish this race.
When we hit mile one… Something happened. I didn’t see it. I just kept running. My lungs opened up, and I just kept pressing forward. We started a pace of running about ¾ of a mile, then walking to recovery, then running to ¾ of a mile. Most of the time, it actually felt pretty good.
When my friend Paul told me that we’d hit a 5k, I asked what our time was… and I just PR’d my 5k time at 38 minutes. That sure put a pep in my step. Suddenly, I could do anything. I WAS THE FLASH. Not really… but I was keeping a 12:30 pace pretty steadily… and I wasn’t in pain OR dying.
It was a Festivus miracle!
When we hit 6.2 miles… I PR’d again. I took 11 minutes off my last 10k time, coming in at an hour and thirteen minutes. I was pretty much floating on cloud nine. I might have cried. It also might have been all the rain.
Thanks to some encouragement from my awesome friends and a couple of Guu breaks… We ran across the finish line together at 2:13:00. 13 minutes faster than my 10 mile time in Austin.
Wait, what? I had predicted a 2:45:00 time when we started… and we were AHEAD of that?! I literally wanted to fall over and just cry tears of pride and joy… unfortunately the ground was soggy grass and mud, so I resisted. It was probably for the best, really.
After a bus ride to the party center, we slammed our post-race beers (yes, I am aware that running 10 miles to get a beer is crazy. I never said I was sane), and off we went to get home, warm up, and DRY OFF.
I still can’t quite believe it. I didn’t die! I didn’t injure myself! I PR’D ALL THE THINGS! How is this even possible?!
It’s crazy how much I put myself down; how much I constantly tell myself to quit and that I’m no good at this… And then I do amazing things like run 10 miles in the rain on a freezing cold day and get personal records for every distance I’ve ever run. Why do we do this to ourselves?
I’ve recovered from some very sore quads and calves, and I’m up and at it with my half marathon training, officially. Now, I believe I can do anything. Well, anything that is 13.1 miles long. Because I’m never running a marathon. Screw that kind of torture. I mean, seriously…