I promised myself one more PR (personal record) this year, and today I made good on that promise. I ran my first official 10k - thus guaranteeing that no matter how I did, it would be a PR.
The weather was unbelievable for this time of year. We've been having something of a warm spell the last few weeks. Temperatures have been in the high 30's - low 40's. It hasn't snowed at all. Normally by this time of year, the snow is piled up and everyone has taken to huddling on the couch with blankets and warm beverages, so I definitely have no complaints in the race day weather department. We arrived at the starting line about half an hour before the race, just in time to watch the 5k start. The 5k racers did one loop of the course (10k runners would be doing it twice) and the lead male came in in just over 15:30. Watching those guys finish never fails to amaze me.
Then it was my turn to run. I settled myself in toward the rear of the pack, knowing that my lack of training was going to make me slower than I would normally be. The gun went off and the race was on. The first mile felt pretty good and I was pleased to see that I clocked a 9:57. Not bad for a girl who has been slacking big time. After that, I slowed down a bit, knowing that there was still over 5 miles to go. The first loop of the course wasn't bad - other than the mile markers being misplaced (some miles were short, others were long). I figured as long as I had my Garmin, the messed up mile markers really weren't a big deal. The sun was shining, the wind wasn't crazy, there were relatively few hills, and I was racing for the first time in months. I was happy.
My second lap had just started as the lead male finished the entire race. About half a mile into that loop things started to go wrong. My right IT band began to flare up and I had to pull off the course and attempt to stretch it out. The stretch seemed to help and I started running again. That didn't last. Before long, the ache in my right knee demanded attention again. After that, I moved to a pattern of running until the ache became too much, stopping, stretching and slowly working my way back up to something that resembled a run.
I was thrilled as I power-walked up the last big hill, knowing that the finish line was less than 2 minutes away and all down hill! I pushed the pain in my leg out of my mind, cranked up my iPod, and sprinted to the line. It may not have been my best race ever, but I was proud of finishing strong. Official Finish Time: 1:04:31.
I collected my shirt and champagne (oh yes, they gave us a full-sized bottle of champagne for running), located The Husband (who finished in just over 56 minutes), and headed home.
My last race of 2011 is in the books and I'm already excited about my first race of 2012 - where I will try to begin the New Year the same way the previous year ended...with a new PR.
Happy New Year everyone!