Sunday, April 11, 2010

Big Race Announcement

I haven't chronicled my fitness pursuits here on the blog yet - it's early in my blog's life, and I'm just trying to get into a rhythm of photographing food and writing posts about it. But I wanted to share something that I have been working toward for the past two months.

Today I ran my first 10 k - the Sacramento Zoo Zoom, to benefit the Sacramento Zoo! That's 6.2 miles, and it's the farthest that I have ever run. It's a huge accomplishment for me. I ran well and I finished strong, with pride and with no regrets. It was a great day for a run - cool, breezy, a pre-storm morning. We were fearful that it would rain this morning, so yesterday I ran around trying to acquire gear that would keep me as comfortable as possible in the rain (non-cotton long-sleeved shirt). I had my iPod, my new shirt, and I felt pretty good. My legs both got a little sore - something happened to my right leg yesterday and I knew it would likely be sore today, but the left leg was a bit of a surprise. But I could run through it, and I don't think either is an injury, just a nagging inconvenience during the run.

I got up at 6 am to get ready. I had a bit of coffee and a piece of peanut-butter-and-honey toast for running fuel. My husband came too and did the 5k (yay - his first race - he did GREAT!), which started 35 minutes before the 10k. I was a bit nervous to hang around in the cold by myself for half an hour before the race, but I was okay. I just stretched and wandered around, trying to locate water. At 8:35 exactly - we were off!!

The race started and finished at the zoo, which is in Land Park, an absolutely gorgeous neighborhood. The homes here are unique and historical, and the streets are lined with large, leafy plane trees. The park is a lush green right now, since we are coming out of winter and our rainy season. The streets are wide and great for running. I started out fairly slow to try and set a reasonable and sustainable pace. I have only run one other race, but I have had the same experience twice: at the start, people race off ahead, making you feel like you are left in the dust. But they can't all be that fast!! They start strong and their energy wavers. I don't like to feel like I can't maintain my pace, so I like to set it and try to stick with it (or get faster toward the end - negative splits style). I don't have a Garmin, so I have to guess it - at the first mile marker, I was already at 11+ minutes! I freaked a little, then reminded myself of my goal: to finish strong, no walking. And that's exactly what I did - I ran the entire way, without stopping once. And at the end, I even felt like I could keep going.

It helps me to put my goals into perspective. I wasn't running to achieve a specific time - I was running to finish strong, to accomplish what I set out to do: to run that race. And run it I did! The leg pain only happened for about two miles in the middle. The rest of the time I was happy as a clam, excited to be tackling something that I never thought I would be able to do. I look back at the person I was - a teenager who couldn't even run without feeling panic, convinced my throat was bleeding, my teeth aching. And now I can proudly say, as my husband pointed out today, that I am indeed a runner!

I am happy, proud, and full of energy. I know this is just a stepping stone. I feel as though if I set realistic goals, I can achieve them. And I am thankful that I am blessed with a supportive husband who encourages me and helps me to succeed. I know I have more running and more races in my future!

Race results
Distance: 6.2 miles
Time: 1:05:11 (will confirm when official results are posted)
Avg pace: 10:31/mile


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