Cotton Row 10k Race Recap – My FIRST 10k!!

I DID IT, GUYS. And now for the recap:

5am Monday morning– I woke up feeling horrible. I always have to wake up at least two hours ahead of time to get ready to run in the morning. If I don’t get up and get moving and eat something, I crash and burn (and usually end up with, TMI, horrible poop cramps) I forced myself to eat some breakfast, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to make it through the race without it. I continued getting ready, paced around my yard for a while, and right as we were heading to the car to head down town the feeling of eminent puke hit me… it wasn’t pretty, I’ll spare you the details. Grumpy, feeling the post-puke general disgusting-ness, we loaded up and headed for the race.

After walking around the race area for a while and seeing and excitedly saying hello to so many runner friends, I began to feel excited and even managed a smile in a couple photos with Best Running Mom– still nervous, but at least happy to be there.

We found my running group and took the obligatory group shot in our matching neon shirts. I have loved running in this group SO much, and I am so extremely sad that I won’t be running with them every Wednesday night and Saturday morning anymore. It was at this point that I thought about how at the beginning of this, 3 miles was a long run for me. Now 3 miles is a short and easy run. I started to think about what it would be like to cross the finish line, and how much progress I have made in the 11 weeks that I’ve been running with this amazingly supportive group. I have SO much love for these people and our coaches!!

Right before time to line up for the race– I met Michael and Anna!! So exciting and slightly surreal– the internet IRL, whaaat?? They were so nice, and it was lovely getting to meet and talk with them right before the run.

A few minutes after that, we all lined up! IT WAS TIME. The cannon went off, and we started to run. There were SO many people. It was kind of funny to read Anna’s post describing it as a smaller race, because all I could think about during the first few minutes was the crazy amount of people around me. A little before the first mile  mark or so Best Running Mom and I took our usual spot a little behind the pack, around an 11 minute pace, and held that for a while. There were a couple of aid stations, where I just grabbed a cup and dumped it on my head. It was hot, but soaking myself in cold water and the breeze really helped keep me cool. I never felt overheated at any point during the race. Right before mile 3, mom started to lag. I could tell that she didn’t feel well, which worried me– there was No way I was leaving her behind! We trained for this together, we were FINISHING this together. We slowed up a little bit, but kept going strong.

Right at mile 3 was THE HILL. It was seriously no joke. At the bottom, the steepest part, we stopped to walk– as did most of the other runners. I think I remember deliriously shouting something along the lines of, “I signed up for a RUN. NOT A HIKE.” Near the top where it flattened out a bit, we began to run again, and of course hammed it up for the guy with a camera.

At the top of the mountain hill, I grabbed a Gatorade at the aid station. At this point, I was thrilled– I was feeling a little tired after the constant hills miles 1-3, but knew we had made it past the hard par, and I knew it would be smooth sailing from then on. Miles 4 and 5 were completely downhill, as far as I remember, and mostly uneventful. I continued to pour water on my head at every aid station, as well as run through the sprinklers and hoses that some spectators had going. I probably looked completely ridiculous being soaking wet the whole time, but I bet I looked a lot happier than the runners that looked like they were about to pass out from heat exhaustion!! haha. We hit the home stretch, mile 6. We made it back into the central down town area and there were more spectators cheering and playing music. It pumped me up and I wanted to pick up the pace and power through to the finish, but Best Running Mom wasn’t feeling it. We stayed steady and even saw a few unexpected friends cheering us on the way!

(I always look so silly in race photos!) We turned the last corner, and there was the finish line. I had a huge smile on my face. WE DID IT. I was so proud and SO happy. I had managed to get a little ahead of mom, so I circled back and said, “Mom, we’re almost there! Let’s go!!” She shook her head and said, “Chels, I can’t breath…” I knew this was legit, because she ALWAYS pushes through any pain or discomfort without complaint. I nodded and stayed with her– no way was I going to gross the finish line without my #1 running partner. We made it to the final stretch, joined hands, and pushed towards the finish.

And then it was done! I ran my first 10k! 1:14:38.

I was so, so, SO happy. And so proud of my mom and the others in my running group. It was a great race for me– I felt good the entire race (despite the gross morning), and I got to see so many of the people that have become my good friends accomplish their goal. I found out later that mom was feeling pretty rough during the entire race– and I was so proud of her for staying strong and pushing through the way she did.

After the 10k, I met up with some cousins that were running the 5k. They jokingly asked me if I was going to run with them next, and much to their and my surprise, I shrugged and said, “Hey, why not?” I guess that whole runner’s high thing can lead to delusions of grandeur too 🙂 Not much to report about the 5k– we did it in run/walk intervals, and mostly spent just enjoying the company of my family. My cousins don’t run regularly, so none of us were going to hit a particular time. We crossed the finish line in 38 minutes and some change.

And that was it! My first 10k and unplanned 5k experience. I am SO happy. No, my time wasn’t the fastest, but I did it. 11 weeks ago I set a goal, one that I was slightly afraid of, and I did it. I am so proud and can’t wait to move on to bigger and longer races– half marathon training time, anyone? 🙂

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