I am pleased to announce that this is my FIRST race report EVER! This fact alone makes me extremely happy. Before I go into it, please understand that I am still going through many blog changes so stick with me as this all comes about.
As many of you know, I have been in training for the Cherry Blossom (10 mile run) since January. April 5 was race day and I was super nervous. The longest race I’ve ever completed was a 5k! Anywho, my mom visited this past weekend to see me run which was extremely helpful and I loved spending time with her.
Saturday night, we went over to Dan‘s parents’ house for dinner. They cooked us a lovely meal of pasta, salad, and other goodies. It was just was I needed before the big race! Saturday night, however, something terrible happen to Dan. Basically, he has a very, very bad back because of a disc problem. Unlike many of us with back problems, his goes much deeper than muscle tissue – it’s pure bone. That night, he threw his back out and was in the worst pain I’d ever seen him. I felt terrible – especially since I knew he wanted to accompany me to DC on Sunday for my race.
Sunday morning, we all woke up and exhaustively got ready for the Cherry Blossom. I woke Dan up and it was obvious that he wasn’t ready to leave the apartment so he decided to stay back. I know he would have been there if he could and he was super disappointed. That’s okay though because after this experience, I know there will be plenty more races in my future!
The metro opened at 5 am and my mom and I arrived to our stop around 6:15. Many runners were amongst us and I was becoming increasingly nervous. When we got there, it was unbelievably busy! I’ve never seen DC like it before. As soon as we arrived near the Washington Monument, we decided to stand in line for the porta potty.
Ick. Seriously… it was the worst porta potty experience ever. I’d rather not go into much detail.
Let’s fast forward. I figured out where I needed to be in the line of runners and waited for what seemed like decades before my wave started.
Do you see me?
When I started to run, it really just felt amazing – like other runs I had done in during my training. I felt good – especially since I was wearing my brand new lime green running shirt from the expo during the packet pick-up. Oh and the shirt just so happened to match my running shoes. Yes, I care about these things.
Honestly, the first 5-miles went very quickly. I felt strong, motivated and even smiled for photographers on the sidelines (even though I know they weren’t taking pictures of me). Around mile 2, I even saw Santa Claus (no joke) rooting for runners. I guess this is what he does during the running season – cheer people on
It wasn’t until the 3rd mile when I was like, “Holy shit, I’m running a 10-mile race”. This was when I saw a gigantic sign for “5k” meaning, I had passed my previous race distance with ease. Oh the joy of training… everything is much simpler! Around that time, I also passed by a male runner who was juggling the whole time. Yes, folks. He juggled the whole entire race. I know this because I saw him again much later during the run. I even saw him drop his balls once (sounds kinda dirty, yes?), pick them up, and continue on his juggling merry way. Oh… runners are crazy fun people
The first water stop was around mile 3. I was doing so good by that point that I decide not to stop. This was not a good idea even though I thought it was at the time. The next stop was later on – maybe 4 or 5 and by that stop I was extremely thirsty so I ended up drinking too much. Then, I got a little cramp which I ran through but it definitely slowed me down a bit. By mile 7, endurance-wise I was kicking-ass except for my feet. My feet starting hurting so bad but of course, I pushed through. By mile 8, however, I absolutely had to stop. My feet were hurting so bad – the same kind of hurt when you buy a new pair of heels, go out for the whole night, realize the heels hurt your feet, and come back to your apartment in excruciating pain. So, I walked a little bit. Mile 8 was definitely a walk-run kind thing which was fine. Towards the end of mile 8, I was looking around and I met this girl who looked about my age and was walking too. Her name was Lauren and we started up a conversation about random stuff. We connected on the fact that we both have flat feet and her feet hurt as well. We both made a decision to run at mile 9 to finish off the race. As soon as we saw that sign, there we went – pain and all. I really owe a lot to that girl – as we were running she talked my head off about what she bought at the expo the day before, where she was from, and why she loved DC. I did all that I could to respond, but she told me she understood if I couldn’t.
At 800 feet, we saw a bunch of people… “You’re so close! Just around the corner and you’re there – KEEP GOING!”
At 400 feet, I wanted to saw off my feet one-by-one but I kept going. WHERE WAS THE FINISH LINE?
Then, I saw it. I pointed at the finish line like it was a shot of tequila on my 21st birthday. I wanted it bad but I couldn’t believe I could actually have it. I JUST RAN 10 FRICKEN MILES.
Towards the right, I saw my mom cheering me on. That was the best feeling in the world seeing her there for me. As soon as I passed through the line, I started walking. Strangely, I resembled how Dan walked the night before with his back out. My mom asked if I wanted to stick around and I said “NO”… I needed the metro. I needed to sit down and sip a slurpee. The walk to the metro was harder than the 10-mile run… my feet KILLED me. But, I did it.
I came in 7971st place among women, running a pace of 12:35/mile. I have never been happier.
On a personal note, I have to thank some very special running bloggers. First, Miss Chicrunner herself has been an inspiration from day one. Her blog is extremely real and personal and her love her running really shines. Even if you’re not a runner, you will be inspired.
Also, Marci from Triathlete 4 Life has been a blog inspiration and more recently, a real-life inspiration. We went for a run together during my training and it just so happened to be a difficult running day for me. She helped me pull through. I can’t wait to run with her again! She also inspired me to buy a slurpee after my race. That is her tradition and I think I’ll adopt it as mine too.
I have learned that running can be a lonely sport. I challenge every runner out there to take someone under their wings to teach, encourage, and be a shoulder for a new runner to cry on.
I know this won’t be my last race report