April 30: Toyota 10K (Part of the Flying Pig Marathon)

I am happy to announce that I completed my very first race: the Toyota 10K. After weeks of training — though sadly not so much in the last two weeks — I finished the race with an official time of 1:06, which is a 10:39 mile. My goal was to just cross the “Finish Swine”, though as I trained I thought a good time to beat would be 1:15.

We had great weather for running; it was partly cloudy and in the mid-50s with a light breeze. Earlier in the week, there was a forecast of scattered showers. So, I am grateful for a dry race my first time out. I went with three other people who have participated in other distance races; they made sure I knew what was going on, especially since I would run the race without them (I have a significantly slower pace).

I was particularly nervous about how I would do since I really haven’t made the time to train since returning from Louisiana. I did at least run on a treadmill while I was on vacation. The course was very challenging with slight inclines and true hills along the way. I most enjoyed crossing the bridges, though admittedly I was able to enjoy the first bridge leaving Ohio more than the second bridge returning to Ohio. At the point of the race with the second bridge, I was in pure Lord-Jesus-help-me mode and not the oh-this-is-so-exciting mode in the first mile of the race lol.

It was kind of annoying navigating around people who were walking four and five people deep completely oblivious that some people might actually want to run. But for the most part, participants were courteous and mindful of their surroundings.

I most appreciate the volunteers and the spectators. The hydration stations were located perfectly along the route. As I watched the Flying Pig Marathon this morning on television, I realized how I was supposed to drink from the cups while running: create a narrow spout. Instead, about half the Gatorade ended up on my face, neck and shirt *smile*. Some things you just don’t think about as part of training for a race lol.

About two miles in, I pretty much started hitting my wall. I am quite surprised that I ran as fast as I did seeing as I felt so sluggish compared to my training runs. Mentally, I received a boost when I reached the 3 mile mark and from the spectators that lined the streets. It was really encouraging to have people cheering us on.

It took about half of the race before I found a little pack of people who had a similar pace. Many of them actually stopped and walked then ran past only for me to pass them again. But I kept running. I ran every.single.step of that race. Whenever I wanted to stop and walk, a group of spectators were cheering, a hydration station appeared, or a nice cooling breeze came along. I instantly found a little more energy to keep persevering.

I think what really kept me going was wanting to look back at the end of the day and know that I did everything I could to run 6.2 miles. I didn’t want to have any regrets on my first race. Even recalling it a day later, tears still well up in my eyes thinking about how I endured. Running a 10K was the most physical challenge I have ever completed. In some ways, it was also very spiritual. Remember, I am a natural sprinter. Before training for this race, the most I had ever run was 3.5 miles, and that was a huge accomplishment. So to know that I left everything I had on that course is something of which I am very proud!

Keeping it one-hundred, the last 1.5 miles were basically hell. Every muscle in my body hurt; joints were aching. My feet were blistered; the arches had fallen. The sun had come out to beat down on us. I felt nauseous. It’s so easy to pass 15 minutes squirreling away on the internet, but when you are in pain, 15 minutes seems like an eternity. I kept willing myself to make it to the next point, be it a hydration station or a mile marker. I was at the point where I was telling myself whatever I needed to keep putting on foot in front of the other. And when self-motivation failed, it was time to pray!

Oh what a feeling to finally make that last turn toward the home stretch! I knew my own personal cheering section would be waiting for me near the finish line as I completed my very first race; Brittany (my swimming buddy), Erik, and Jessica were there to encourage me to finish strong. I squeezed out the last little drops of juice I had to cross the Finish Swine and heard my name announced. It was such an overwhelming moment. For me, it was even more emotional than the day I defended my dissertation. At some point during the defense, I knew I was going to pass. But until I crossed that finish line of the Toyota 10K, I wasn’t convinced that I would be able to run 6.2 miles.

I’m not sure what’s next for me in terms of racing. Now that I have had some time to digest such a monumental personal accomplishment, I definitely want to run more races. During my training runs, I always had enough energy left to sprint toward the end. I literally could not will myself to do that on Saturday. I’d like to participate in a 10K where I finish strong. So, I’ll run a few more until I can finish under 60 minutes and with a little gas left in the tank *smile*. Once my body recovers, I will find a race and begin training again. But first, my reward to myself will be a massage, a new running outfit and some ridiculously colored running shoes. I’m thinking some orange and fuscia kicks will make it more worthwhile to go running *smile*


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Brittany
    May 01, 2011 @ 17:55:45

    AH! I am SO proud of you. You are so strong to keep going for the entire race. That is so funny about the water cups! I didn’t even think to share with you some easy tidbits on road racing 🙂
    I’m glad you feel so accomplished, pushing your body to it’s limit to feel that sense of pain and have the will power to keep going makes you so strong for life’s challenges.
    You can do anything you set your mind towards!


  2. Ana
    May 02, 2011 @ 00:41:06

    Lakeisha, congratulations that’s fantastic!
    Personally I will go for orange running shoes,
    Mission accomplished, salud for that!


  3. Trackback: August 20: Running on the National Mall « newyearnewmenewthings

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