I ran my first 10K race! Since my last running update when I ran Calico Racing’s Recycled 5K, I’ve been increasing my running distances to get ready for the half marathon in March. On December 8, 2012 I ran my longest distance, 10 miles, in 1:59:27. Having broken the double digit barrier I decided to scale back and run 5Ks for my two weekday runs and 10Ks for my long run on the weekend until the Running from an Angel 10K on January 12th. The weather was gorgeous on my last weekday run before the race, 52 degrees instead of the 32 degree temperatures I’d been running in – I was excited for a repeat of the weather on Saturday but alas, it was a lot colder in town by then and especially by beautiful Lake Mead (pictured above).
The race start was a little later than I’m used to: 8:50 a.m. (I usually get up at around 5 a.m. to gear up for a run before the kids wake up). I broke my own rule of not doing anything new on race day and ate a little breakfast at 7. Sure enough, I wasn’t feeling great on the drive down to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area but by the race’s start I felt fine. The race takes place in the fee-based part of the park (usually we’ve parked by the trail for the Six Tunnels hike and didn’t make it to the fee area) so we paid our $10 (my husband remembered cash, I would have forgotten) and drove to the parking area. We debated walking from the free parking but I’m glad we didn’t try. After packet pickup we were able to warm back up in the Subie, and pin our bib numbers on without fumbling with our gloves on.
We’d registered for the race way back in August 2012 so I’d requested a Medium shirt and my husband had requested a Large – both were too big for us! I was able to swap for a Small but he didn’t mind hanging on to his Large though I have to mention he’s now lost almost 70 pounds in the last 8 months. I am so amazed and proud of all of his hard work. We’ve both been using MyFitnessPal.com and have had a lot of success with tracking our exercise and calories. I reached my “30 before 30 goal” right before the new year so I’m down 30 pounds myself – it is so important to us that we’re healthy so we can be there for our kids. I think they’re a big part of why we decided to get healthy. I digress, but I know many people start running for the weight loss benefit but even with losing the weight I think what really makes me feel good about myself is putting my shoes on and running distances I never thought possible (for me). I never even ran in high school P.E., I was always in the straggler group around the track still walking.
Well, not anymore! One of the coolest things was that I wasn’t nervous before the race as everyone lined up. I had worked a long day the day before so I didn’t have the energy to toss and turn that night and I ran into several friends that have been my running cheerleaders. Jodymarie was doing the half marathon (it had been her first half marathon last year so she was running it again!) while my friends Angie (check out her awesome first half marathon recap here) and Kristi (who most recently ran the Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon here in Vegas for the second year in a row) were doing the 10K. It was a surprise to run into all of them, I even saw a few familiar faces from law school on the course as I ran, which all went to making me feel at home. I have to also mention my friend Kacey, who ran the 2012 Running from an Angel race as her very first half marathon at 5 months postpartum – her recap is part of why I thought I could try running myself.
I was so excited to be chatting with my friends that I didn’t notice my husband line up near the starting mat. Our plan was to use the delay start on our Run Keeper app so we could get our phones into our tune belts (amazon affiliate link) and gloves back on. I started my app right before I crossed the mat so my tracker didn’t kick in until a minute later. In a way, it was good because I would see a mile marker and then get the confirmation about a tenth of a mile later that I’d done that distance (the reverse is usually more discouraging). My initial pace was fast, even uphill, so my first mile came in at about a 9:20 minute/mile pace. Too fast, but race starts will do that to you. By mile 2 my split was almost 11 minutes, my mile 3 and 4 it was almost 12 minutes per mile. I was trying to attack the hills, not get injured, and have some energy left at the turnaround point. With a 5K you know as soon as you start that you can push yourself and still finish but with a 10K I think there’s more planning involved, especially on a course that isn’t flat. I saw my husband already heading back when I was about 26 minutes in and not near the turnaround point. I had lost sight of him early on because of the hills. The crazy thing is that I then did something I’ve never managed, even in training: getting faster at the end of a run (“negative splits”). Mile 5 was at an 11:15 pace, Mile 6 at 10:59, and the .2 bit at the end was a downhill 8:58 minute pace. I think that last bit had to do with seeing my husband at the finish line waving me on. I love running races with him but also hope someday I can return the favor and cheer for him at a finish line.
Official chip time: 1:08:00.8 for a pace of 10:58 minutes per mile. Not only a record for me since it was my first 10K race, it beat my best training run by almost half a second and was at a faster pace than my 5K race in October. I can’t believe it! I knew my GPS tracker was off because of my glitches at the start so the official time was a real surprise to me. So encouraging to do that well on race day and on a trickier terrain – you can see the elevation in green on the image above. I also included a shot of the course so you can get an idea of the beautiful views we had with the lake right there. I got the exciting news that my husband finished 12th overall which is fantastic – he really rocked the course and we’re both excited for the half marathon we’re doing the day before our 6th wedding anniversary in March!
Here’s a picture of me (on the left) with Angie (middle) and Kristi (right) wearing our medals. I got cheers from both of them when we would pass one another on the course!
This is a shot of the finish line from where they had refreshments laid out. Someone was making fresh pancakes for people which I thought was so indicative of the kind of outfit Calico Racing is – very personable! I made a cup of tea (best idea ever for after a cold race, though by the end of the race I’d shed my gloves and panda hat) and grabbed a banana and applesauce for the car in case I needed them but I never like to eat after running so I ended up giving those to the kids. E and R were most excited about the medals but the race banana comes in a close second (we even had bananas at home already!).
The wing theme was pretty cool – I saw people wearing wings on the course and our race tees (long sleeve tech tees, very nice) have white wings printed on the blue shirt. I will wear my shirt proudly.
I still have never experienced a “runner’s high” but I was left feeling like a real part of this community. I spent my childhood moving from place to place. I moved to Las Vegas in the summer of 2000 but going to an event and getting to connect with friends we’ve made here and to not feel like an outsider makes me feel like I really love this place. I think the change happened a little after our brief foray to Winnemucca, Nevada for almost a year. We never thought we would move back, but when we did we knew we had to make an effort to make this our home.
“Bloom where you’re planted,” as a friend once told me. I think in the last three years especially we’ve done just that. I can still voice things I’d like to see improved here, like education or access to justice, but Nevada is our home and it really feels like I’m home. I know it is already a little after the new year but if you are feeling unstuck or out of place where you are, please consider taking up a hobby or connecting with people in your community. Resolve to reach out in real life (the internet is a great facilitator but I quit Facebook a few months ago and am glad I am focusing more on making time to meet people for lunch or playdates instead of just sending greetings out into the ether) and the results may surprise you.
2012 was a rough year. We had many scares and struggles but reaching out for happiness is never a mistake. Every day is another chance to start something and before you know it you’ll be looking back and seeing that you made a positive change in your life.
Favorite songs during the race:
Imagine Dragons – On Top of the World (amazon affiliate link)
Tidal Wave – Sub Focus (amazon affiliate link)
Taylor Swift – Red (amazon affiliate link)
Ed Sheeran – The A Team (amazon affiliate link)
Also, I made a page to gather my running posts: Couch to 5K and Beyond