Goal: finish the race healthy and pain-free in an hour or so.
I was plagued by phantom popliteum pain all week leading up to the race. (Plus the need to carb-load, even though this is not a long-distance race!–Old habits I guess)
I even considered not racing, but one of my work colleagues, a veteran trail runner, counseled that I probably needed a “FINISH” under my belt for my own peace of mind.
He was SO right.
I met up with some other running gals the day before at an impromptu Marathoners Tweetup and soaked up the great energy. One was running her first marathon: I saw in her the sense of trepidation and excitement I felt exactly a year ago. The other two were running the Half. It was just the fellowship I needed.
I woke up early and walked to the start line, timing it just so I got there, checked my extra gear and made it to the start with 2 minutes to spare. I’m getting this racing logistics thing down to a science!
With over 3,000 runners in the 8k though – I got behind some walkers and slower runners. I kept telling myself “This is OK – you don’t WANT to actually race – you just need to take it easy and finish pain-free.”
So I tried to calm down, keep my pace at 7:00/km or slower, and take in the positive runner energy around me. I feel kinda bad that “positive runner energy” for me meant comparing myself in smugliness to other runners. I have a bad habit of judging other people, especially when I’m nervous about my own performance. For example:
- Why would you wear a water belt with 16 oz of fluid for a race that will take you at most an hour? I couldn’t believe how many people I saw doing this.
- Why do they let wheeled walkers on this course, but not baby strollers? (Not that I want either on the course)
- Why not corral the walkers behind the runners?
I guess I’m just not used to running shorter races with lots of people participating – it was definitely an eye-opener and something to consider if I ever decide to run another 10K.
At any rate, the race was a relief, I felt very little pain in my upper calf, and the most fun part of the day was coming back to the Marythoner’s station to dance and cheer on my run clinic buddies as they came in for the homestretch in the marathon.