I started running again late July after a two and a half year hiatus. I quickly signed up for a local 10-miler called Ten for Texas. I needed a goal, so I wouldn't quit exercising in the crazy Texas summer heat. My primary goal for the race was to finish. However, I quickly realized that I could do better than that and pushed my goal up to 10 minute miles. Training was going well and I finished several six milers at a 9 min pace so I decided to make my goal finish time 1:30. This was maybe a little too ambitious.
Race day started early. I woke before my alarm at 5:15 am. I dressed, ate a breakfast of Nutella on toast and drank about 8 oz of gatorade. I left the house at six. I brought both my arm band for my iphone and my hydration belt. I didn't intend to use my belt, but lightening and thunder made me change my mind. I didn't want to risk my phone in a downpour. I took all the water bottles off my hydration belt (I can't run fast with them in--too much sloshing and bouncing) and walked from the parking lot to Market Street.
Upon exiting the portapotties, I ran into my running buddies. Serendipity. We hadn't planned a meeting spot. More friends joined up with us, too. I guess the portapotties is just the place to be.
After taking pictures and chatting, we lined up in our designated zones. I lined up at the 9 min spot, hoping to make that my goal. The race hadn't even started yet and I was already soaking wet. It was so hot--75 degrees already and the humidity was about 95%. Why, oh, why, couldn't the race have taken place on Monday when the weather was perfect--50s and no humidity? Oh, well, it is what it is. I live in Texas.
My stats aren't perfect, I started my phone early and I forgot to turn it off when I finished, but I'll put out the best numbers.
Miles 1-5: 9, 9, 9:39, 10, 9:30 I was sweating a lot, but my heart rate was good. I was really happy to see my husband and kids just after the two mile mark!
These miles, I didn't feel like I pushing it too hard. At mile four I realized I was slowing a bit, I worked a little harder and got my feet to turn faster and brought my pace back down a bit. The heat and humidity were really getting to me, though. I knew this meant I would probably have to go for my plan B under 1:40 or ten minute miles. Woodlands Parkway has a slight uphill grade and I could feel it by mile 5. I couldn't wait to turn the corner and start the slight downhill.
Mile 6 and 7: 10:13, 10:30--Ugh! The sun came out as I turned the corner and I was having a hard time with the heat. I took my Gu at mile 6 water stop. I think this was my downfall. I should've taken my Gu earlier, like mile 4. The Gu helped a lot, but with the sun and humidity was wearing me out sooner than if it was a cooler morning. I had never ran more than six miles at my 9 minute pace and that was on a much cooler day. I started to get discouraged. Even though I had changed my goal around mile 5, I still harbored a secret wish that my adrenaline would kick in and I would be able to give it my all. Instead I was talking my feet into turning over. And, by the way, where was that rain that the heaven's promised earlier! Seriously, I could have done with a little of that downpour now.
Miles 8, 9, and 10: 11:20, 11:13, 11:30 I did not want to run. My feet felt like they were in a sauna. I don't know why. It's not like I'm new to running in the humidity. I was wearing the same socks I always were. Honestly, when I finally took my shoes off at home, they were all wrinkly--like I'd been swimming. That has never happened to me before. It is now hours later and my shoes are still wet. I don't get it. I must have stepped in a puddle, though I don't remember it. Or maybe it was all the cups of icy cold water I poured on my head that dripped to my feet, but I digress. My sauna feet hurt and I couldn't move them. Just after mile 9 we had to climb a very short hill to get over the overpass. I ran over it and let my feet fly down the other side. That felt good, but the momentum didn't keep. I had to go back to talking my feet into turning over.
At last I entered Market Street. I couldn't see the finish line because it was in the courtyard. Someone yelled out, "Just three more turns!" This gave me a little bit of a boost and I was able to pass a few people. After the third turn, I was able to see the finish line. I don't know where it came from, but I did those last 50 yards in a sprint. My ap put my speed at 6:20 min/mile for those last 50 yards. I passed a lot of people on that stretch.
I crossed the finish line at 1:43:40, or at 10:22 average pace--most of those extra minutes were logged in the last three miles. It's okay, though, because next year I'll have a time to beat.
I am very proud of myself. I had a baby eight months ago. I started running three months ago. At the start I couldn't run a mile at 11 minutes and now I ran ten miles at less than that pace! I didn't get my goal number, but I gave it all I had today.
I loved this race. It was such a fun atmosphere and the race food was divine. I loved that my husband brought all five kids to the finish to cheer me on. He is a special guy. I am very lucky.
And, I can't wait for my first marathon in March!