I once had grand plans of running a nice little 20 mile race (and even grander ones of then doing a marathon two weeks later, ha!). I mentioned it in passing, I registered, I attempted to train. And then life started to get in the way. Mother Nature decided to make this the worst winter ever, I thought working 20-30 extra hours per week would be a good idea (and totally wouldn’t affect my training!), etc. etc. I stopped blogging about my training (as well as blogging regularly) and kept making plans for “next week to be better”. I finally got myself together and had a training plan that seemed realistic, I was feeling optimistic, excited even. And then those extra hours of retail work (in dress shoes mind you) came back to haunt me. That really awesome busy week where I made reference to my training going “well-ish” did me in. I woke up on Saturday morning thinking I would be running 14 miles but instead feeling like my achilles tendon had been tied in a knot. I know that you can’t really considering working in retail as “cross-training” but it is still hours on your feet and I was dealing with the repercussions. It took me almost a week to feel back to normal-ish and I threw out the idea of running 20 miles. I planned to go to Cleveland and support my sister as she conquered the 20-Mile Drop.
I packed for CLE and threw some running clothes in my bag “just in case”. I went for a 2-mile shake out run with my sister on Saturday morning to test my foot and enjoy the weather. When we went to packet pick up (because you better believe I was still getting my race shirt- even if I would forever feel like a big phony wearing it) I decided to ask to drop down to the 10 Mile Drop, still thinking I probably wouldn’t run. I kept putting off making a final decision, I was going back and forth. The weather was supposed to be warm & sunny (my favorite!) and I feel like running 10 miles shouldn’t be a big deal to me but what if I injured myself? That would suck. I went to sleep STILL not knowing what I was doing the next day, the 10 mile race started an hour and twenty minutes after the 20 so I figured I’d just wait a bit longer to decide. I dressed in running gear and ate PB toast for breakfast @ 5:45a, but also packed normal clothes because I wasn’t sure I wanted to run yet. I hung out with my brother-in-law and caught my sister at mile 4. As we were cheering all the runners on I could feel their excitement and finally definitively said “yup, I’m running”. My brother-in-law got me to the starting line just in time and without a chance to really process what I had done, I was already running.
As the 10-Mile DROP title suggests, the race had a net loss of elevation. But what the title DIDN’T suggest is that it was actually full of evil, evil steep inclines followed by gradual declines. I really had no expectations for this race and didn’t even know how to pace myself. I settled on aiming for 10-ish minute miles. Here are my brief thoughts throughout the race:
Mile 1: nice and downhill. “Man, I’m so glad I decided to run this race. What a lovely day to run!”
Mile 1.5: “These capris are ever so slightly too big. Why did I pack these? This is going to be annoying.”
Mile 2-3: “My pace is awesome, should I slow down? Nah, I feel good. I guess I should eat a Shot Blok though. Eeww, strawberry? Why did I bring this? Does this even have caffeine in it? I need caffeine.” 5K split: 31:31
Mile 4: “I thought this race was downhill, why are there so many climbs? This is the worst. I’m also really hot. Why am I wearing capris and a t-shirt when it’s in the high 70s? this was a terrible idea.”
Mile 5: “Halfway done, awesome. I am totally on pace to nail a sub 10-minute average. I’ll feel even better about this once I hit the 10K!”
Mile 6-7: “I don’t feel better about this at all. The hills are never ending, I hate hills. Are there ANY declines in this race? Screw 10-minute miles I don’t even care. I’m so hungry but I cannot stomach a strawberry Shot Blok. Is my face on fire? I feel like my face is on fire. I probably should have put on sunscreen.”
Mile 8-9: “It’s probably a good idea to just walk up every hill from now on because this is dumb.”
Well-meaning Race Volunteer “Please stay to the far right, just until you make it up the hill”
Angry Ashley: “I’m literally never going to make it up this hill”
W-M RV: “There’s only one more big hill to go, you’re almost there!!”
A.A. (in my mind only): You’ve got to be effing kidding me.
Mile 10: “I’ll just sprint this last mile. And by “sprint” I mean not stop to walk anymore. I will also only listen to Katy Perry’s ROAR because without that song I literally will not be able to finish”
Total Time: 1:43:XX
Overall I’m glad I decided to run but it was NOT easy. It was the hottest day of the year (by a significant margin) and I was barely trained for 10 miles, let alone 10 pretty hilly miles. It’s nice to know that I’m finally at a place with running where double digits isn’t this big elusive thing anymore. It also got me really excited for sign up for some summer/fall halves and start putting together some more-manageable training plans. Pretty sure my sister (who crushed the 20 Mile Drop despite the sweltering temperatures and surprise hills) feels completely differently though 🙂