Let me just say that I was a bit nervous about this race. I started feeling a pesky sore throat coming on by Thursday, so I was afraid I’d get the normal progression – sneezing by Friday, stuffy nose by Saturday. I decided to just ignore the sore throat and hope for the best! Fortunately, by Saturday I only had the pesky sore throat and nothing more. I did register for the race at packet pick-up and got this cool swag:
Okay, so the shirts are not as cute as last year...grey is not really my color. But, it's another new shirt, so no complaints from me!
I arrived at the race around 6:40 and met up with my running peeps. It’s been a long time, since I’ve run with anyone, so it would be great to at least start the race with friends. We headed to HEB for to use the bathrooms and then got to the start line with a few minutes to spare. We heard the anthem and then the gun. We were off! We started out the race at about a 10:08 pace and kept it there the first couple of miles. I was running with my former Woodlands Fit friends, Kelly and Katie. They’ve both been working really hard this year with a new running group, Strides, and doing lots of speedwork. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. I knew for sure that I would not be able to hold a 10-minute pace for 10 miles. But, we all seemed to get into a nice groove at a 10:30 pace and kept it there for pretty much the entire run. By mile 2, I was already sweaty…it may have been 60 degrees at the start, but it was humid as heck!
Me (on the left) with running peeps Kelly and Katie. They're so much fun to run with!
I did question my ability to maintain a 10:30 pace for 10 miles. A year ago, I would have been content with an 11-minute or maybe even an 11:15 pace for 10 miles.
That was then.
This year, I have been pushing myself on all my runs. I’ve grown tired of being complacent and just getting the runs done. I think the Tri training has helped a ton with me getting more fit and stronger than last year, too. Tri training has also made me want to push myself harder. I’ll admit, there were a couple of times that I thought to myself, “Just keep this pace until mile 5” and then you can slow it down. But then, I reached mile 5 and thought, “Damn, I’m halfway there…and I feel good!”. Next thing I know, we were headed back towards the start and at mile 6. Our pace stayed between a 10:30 pace and 10:31 pace the entire time. The miles seemed to pass pretty quickly – mile 7, mile 8….At that point, I really felt great. Up until around mile 8, the three of us stayed together. And, we were super excited about our pace. We only walked through 2 water stops and even then, it was a short walk break. Around mile 8.5, Katie took off – she was having an awesome run! I wanted to pick up the pace, and I did just a bit, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Katie. Before I knew it, I was heading back into the Market Street parking lot and could see the finish line. I reached the finish at 1:45:10 (per my Garmin) – an average pace of 10:28!
Yay me! And yay for Katie, who finished before me and Kelly who was right behind me!
I am extremely proud of all three of us, because:
1) We’ve gone from 5/1s to running straight through. I’ve been doing 5/1s since 2002 when I trained for my 1st marathon….you know the saying “old habits die hard”, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!
2) We’ve really picked up the pace! Seriously, I’ve never run a 10-mile race, but I know on my training runs, I’ve never run a 10:30 pace. In the heat of the summer, I was happy to run 10 miles in less than 2 hours…maybe 1:50 on a cooler day. We’ve come a long way baby! And, it felt great…not that I could have run any faster, but it didn’t feel that difficult.
3) For me, not whimping out at the end was a big deal. I was the girl who got to the bridge and said "SCREW IT" and walked up. I was the girl who reached mile 12 and said "SCREW IT" and took an extra walk break...notice I said "was" - not this time! Nope, I got up that little overpass and said "SCREW YOU" instead and didn't stop till I reached the finish line. No more of that crap.
I will be honest here too - the nice cool temps were helpful…I KNOW I would not maintain this pace if it had been 80 degrees! And, having my friends there next to me helped a great deal too. I may have taken an extra walk break (or three), or slowed down a bit if they had not been there. That’s what I am worried about the most, as we get closer to the Houston ½ Marathon in January…Katie and Kelly are doing the full. What happens if I don’t get to run with them? Will I be able to maintain a 10:30 (or better) if I don’t have them there to keep me going? I think the next couple of months of training alone will be interesting. I have to work hard not to let myself slip in to “Slacker Christy Mode”. When you’re running alone, the only on there to hold you accountable is YOU. I want to run Houston no slower than a 10:30 pace and I think this run helped me realize that I can do it.
I think I am up for the challenge.