Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Navy Run 10k

I ran my first official race Saturday since Jan. 2006. Of course I have been running a little here and there for general health, but mostly I have been getting my running from playing soccer. I and a few other guys that played in college meet up on the weekends and play some serious soccer for a few hours. But to stay on track...the Navy 10k.
Saturday morning I woke up at 5:30am to get everything together and start thinking about the race. Much to my chagrin despite the early time the temperature was already in the 70s. High temps are never good for a race. I, of course, put on my special running shorts, new high tech running shoes, "Hoover" hat, eye-black, and wristbands.
On the way to the race, I did not run into much traffic, so I made it to the Navy Base quick. Unfortunately, once I got on the base I could not find where the race was. The directions I got said go straight through the light and you will see it on your right. After circling around for about 15 minutes, I found it. Apparently, the directions should have read take a right at the light. Anyhow, I found it. I had about 15 minutes to attach my chip timer and be warmed up before they shot the start gun.
Going into the race, I was just hoping to finish in the top 1/2 and to try to maintain some sort of steady pace between an 8 min/mile pace and an 8.5 min/mile pace. My feet have been hurting a good deal since I have started training a few weeks ago. The bad thing about that is that I know it is the old injuries I suffered 2 years ago coming back. The pain is the exact same and in the same spot. The good thing is that I am still early in my training, so I can be cautious and make sure not to let the injury get away from me. I know that I can't avoid it all together. Anyone that has ever trained for a marathon or a grueling sporting event knows that you cannot ever avoid injuries, but rather all you can do is try to minimize the severity of the injuries you have.
Once I got running, I kept in mind that the marathon was the most important race and it was not until July. I needed this 10k just to get in shape, but not to hurt myself TOO badly. I hit the 1-mile mark at 8:20. "Not a bad start", I thought to myself. It felt like I was running much slower than that so I was fairly pleased. After that, I was curious to know my pace as I ran farther, but reminded myself to keep a slow steady pace and not hurt myself. Right now I just need to run and build up my mileage slowly until I get to the marathon in July. OK. But what was my time, it seems like it has been forever and I didn't see a 2-mile marker. Finally, I saw a 3-mile marker and my time was 25:00. "OK" I thought to myself. I have maintained the slow steady pace and I feel fine. Now I only have 3.2 miles left to go. It is time to start accelerating just a little bit.
From this point on all I remember is a steady breathing. At first I breathed in for 4 steps and out for 4 steps. Then I breathed in for 3 steps and out for 3 steps. I slowly started passing a few people. I breathed in 2 steps and out 2 steps. I was passing more and more people. "This is good" I thought to myself. My legs and feet feel good, keep going. I continued passing people slowly, but surely. Wow! Now my lungs are having some trouble. This doesn't feel too good anymore. I haven't seen any signs for mileages recently. I haven't seen much of anything really. I have been so focused on passing people, I haven't noticed much of anything.
Then I noticed that there was only about 3/4 mile left until I could see the finish line up ahead around the bend. Yes! Almost there! I had a shot of adrenaline go through my whole body. I tried to remain calm, because the finish was still a ways off and now my legs felt like rubber. My breathing was getting much harder and more painful. My nose started burning and my eyes started watering. I just want to keep up this fast-paced jog. I don't know if I can but I will try. It hurt so badly, but I wanted to keep this pace up. This would be my personal challenge. Despite being tired, having rubber legs, and the breathing starting to hurt really bad I want to maintain this very fast pace jog that I am moving at now.
Then I noticed a noise coming up from behind. I heard a steady rhythm of feet pounding. Then I noticed in my peripheral one of the runners I had passed a few moments ago starting to push the pace towards the finish line. I told myself not to worry about them. I told myself to let them go. I told myself to just stick to the plan and keep up my own pace. Something snapped. My brain started screaming at me, “DON’T YOU DARE LET SOMEONE PASS YOU AT THE END OF THE RACE!!!”. Over and over it kept yelling at me. So I took off at a full sprint. For the next ¼ of a mile I ran as fast as I could. My legs, nose and lungs were burning so bad I wanted to cry. I ended up passing him and several others. After I finished I realized I had finished in 48:49. Despite the 8:20 pace at the start, I averaged out to 7:52 min/mile. What started out as a leisurely jog turned out to be an all out hell of a race at the end. I hated it and loved it. I will be running again this Saturday in an 8k this time. My goal is to finish in 38:00.


At 3:21 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Congrats! I was never very good at running, so this sounds mind-blowingly difficult to me.

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Hall "Hoover" Hunt said...

You may not be good at running, but you are definitely good at being a bunnette! To me that is a much better quality to have.


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