Sunday, May 6, 2007

The official 10K race report

I'm home now. Tim, the kids and I tried out the new Chinese buffet here for dinner, and it was yummy!! Of course we ate too much, but we were celebrating my 10K finish, so I didn't mind.

The day started early for me. I went to bed a little after 11 p.m. last night, but I didn't sleep well at all. Around 3:25 a.m. Matty woke up, so Tim took him out to change and feed him. I stayed in bed, but I swear I couldn't get to sleep fully. At 4 a.m., I almost decided to just get up and start gearing up for the race, but I forced myself to stay in bed. I was so amped already. Finally, around 5, I fell asleep and got a good 30 minutes. Yep, my alarm went off at 5:30 and it was go time!

I got up, ate a small breakfast and got dressed. I took a shower the night before so I wouldn't have to worry about it in the morning. By 6:10 I was ready to go, so I headed out the door.

I should add here that the night before Tim and I decided he would stay home with the kids instead of trying to load them in the van and drive 30 minutes to watch me race. We were told the day before that parking would be a nightmare, and the kids don't like getting up early (take after mommy and daddy, I guess) so we thought it was best for me to go alone. Well, come to find out officials had this HUGE parking area right on the bank of the Eel River that they opened up for parking, so they could have come and had no trouble finding a place to park. And I couldn't call him on my cell because we were in the boonies and I couldn't get coverage. Oh well, lesson learned.

Anyway, I drove to the race location and found a good parking spot, since I arrived shortly after 7 a.m. I had more than two hours to kill before my race. It was already like a big party at that time of the morning. Vendors had booths set up, and people were milling around. Music blared over a loudspeaker. There were some teams of women wearing matching T-shirts getting ready for the race. I wandered around for a few minutes and used the porta-potty. Over the course of the next two hours, I visited the potties five times.

Skip to 9 a.m. The marathon and half marathon started then. There was a guy on the loudspeaker telling the runners/walkers to get in position to start. He was also mentioning that people from as far as England, Scotland and Kenya were participating, as well as many from all over the country. That was really cool! I think there were about 2,000 people who ran and walked today, and a small percentage of us actually live in Humboldt County.

So the marathoners and HM'ers take off. The 10K didn't start until 9:10, so we all waited near the starting line. I saw an acquaintance of mine, Jeremy, standing nearby and he waved at me to come over. We talked until the race started. This is the third race we've both participated in this year. We were waiting, and waiting, and waiting. The race didn't actually start until closer to 9:20. But at last, the man was counting down from 10 and this huge mass of bodies started moving after he said "Go!" Jeremy took off, and I got boxed in by some walkers and had to wait for an opening so I could get by. I also was not exactly sure where to start my Garmin, as there was no pad to run across at the beginning, so I guessed. Turns out I guessed wrong, because Garmin told me when it was all over that I ran 6.4 miles.

We all run over the Dyerville Bridge and descend into the redwoods. It was like running into a dark room. The redwoods were so thick and the canopy blocked out the sun completely (it was a GORGEOUS sunny day, BTW). I should have known that might throw Garmin off a bit. As I ran, I looked at Garmin every once in a while and noticed the pace was reading slow. Like 17 minute/miles and I was flying, so I knew the trees were probably messing it up. Then there were times when it stopped reading the pace altogether, so I had to wait for a clearing for it to pick up the satellite signal again.

The course itself was fairly flat. There was one decent hill within the first mile, but nothing too bad. Thankfully, there were aid stations set up every two miles or so, which helped a lot. I was following a huge pack for the first mile, and then people started splintering off. I made sure to always have someone to "latch on" to, though. I like having someone to chase, if you will.

The scenery was breathtaking. It is amazing how small one feels when running through a grove of gigantic redwoods. I could not have asked for a prettier course, and that made running it even more enjoyable.

I finally reached the 3.1-mile mark, where the turnaround was. Oh yeah, I could do this! I had a nice, steady pace and was feeling really good. There were a couple women who were doing the run for a few minute, walk for a few minute method. They were constantly playing leapfrog with me, it seemed. Around mile four, I passed one of them and we talked for a minute. She said I had a really nice pace and complimented me on it! I was so surprised! She told me that she is a sprinter at heart, not a long distance runner, and she wished she could do a pace like mine. LOL! I was so flattered!

By the time I got to mile 5, it seemed like time was flying. I was totally enjoying the experience. Runners were cheering other runners on as they passed each other (since it was an out-and-back, I passed by a lot of people who were well behind me), and the mood was really cheerful. I finally got back to the Dyerville Bridge and rounded the corner for the finish line. There was a woman on the speaker, calling out runners' numbers, names and city of residence as we neared the finish. I heard my name and started getting a little teary. I was just a few steps away from reaching my goal. I passed under the finish line arch, and just felt like a million bucks. The sensation was so much better than I could have hoped for. I didn't want my moment in the sun to end.

I walked down the chute and Tim's co-worker's brother (funny he was there volunteering) cut the timing chip off of my shoelace (they gave us twisty ties to use). A girl handed me my prized medal and I beamed. Then I headed for the water table, because I was so thirsty!!! Everyone was wearing their medals around their necks, so I put mine on and watched some other runners finish. Then I caught up with an old high school friend of my sister who happened to be there and left for home. Overall, it was an awesome day!!

I am still waiting for the official results to be put on the Internet, and I will update this once they are. When I left, only 271 of the approximately 360 people running the 10K had finished. I think it said I finished 231, but I don't remember for sure.

I still can't believe it's only been five months since I started running again. At the time I wouldn't have imagined I would run this distance and love it. I think this was my favorite race so far.

I told Tim already that I plan on doing this race again. And this time, he and the kids will be there too. :-)

Oh, and I will try to add a pic of me and my medal soon. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me, but they were taking our pics at the finish, so when that pic is on the 'Net, I will share it with you.


Marcy said...

Sounded like a BLAST!!!! Bummer that DH and the kiddies couldn't come (but at least next time you'll know hehe) GREAT, GREAT job!!!!!

Jason The Running Man said...

Great race report and congrats again, you did amazing!

Nikki said...

OHHH Congrats!! I got teary with you! I'm a sap :)

Great report!

Laurel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurel said...

Wow, sounds like a beautiful course. I wish I could run through Redwoods!
And you did so great! I'm so happy to hear you had such a positive race. Congratulations!