I realize that running a race is an individual activity, as a person’s own body is what physically carries them from start to finish. However, there were masses and masses of people participating, volunteering, and cheering us along, so I’m going to go ahead and slide this into the “group fitness” category. A little back story- I’ve never been “a runner”. I stand at a whopping 5 ft. 2 inches with short legs meaning real short strides. Last year, I made a new year’s resolution to run a 10K in the year 2017 and honestly this stemmed from some of the treadmill challenges I had participated in at Orange Theory .
I decided my time had come to try out a race last April and I ran the Junior League Downtown Dash in April. In all honesty, when I set the goal to finish, I had no idea just how far I would have to go. I just knew it was more than 5 miles and that seemed plenty far enough to challenge myself. The morning of the race I literally parked my car and Googled “How far is a 10K?” Needless to say, I wasn’t very prepared and when I saw that 10 kilometers is actually 6.2 miles, I definitely felt a wave of panic come over me. I finished the race that day but it was a STRUGGLE. I was not conditioned to run that distance and my body sure let me know it that day and the days that followed. My finish time was 1:03:43 with a pace of 10:16 per mile.
This year, when making my resolution list for 2018, I made an attempt to build upon some of my resolutions from last year or “try again” at the ones I failed at in 2017. I wanted to run another 10K, but this time finish in under one hour. I also decided to switch it up and run the Little Rock Marathon 10K because it is a much larger race, and despite having several friends run in the different events in past years, I have never been a part of this festive weekend. I started “training” in January but I really didn’t follow any training guide. I would randomly go out and run varying distances. I tried to run 2 days a week at least, and in the 2 weeks leading up to the race I ran 5 miles 3 different times. In my head I figured that if I could make it 5 miles training, I could push it to 6.2 the day of the race. Going forward, I would like to follow a training guide before I do another race and see how it helps me in feeling prepared.
The race was on Saturday morning at 7:30 and I had to pick up my race packet on Friday. Picking up my packet at the expo is when I realized how NOT casual this weekend is. There were people and vendors everywhere but it was a really neat set up and everyone was having a good time. I felt a little overwhelmed and basically made a mad dash for the pick up line and got out of there pretty quick.
I had a friend that had signed up to run the 10K as well and we rode downtown the morning of the race together. During sign up, you are asked what timeframe you expect to finish the race in and by that information they place you in different corrals. My friend and I were in different corrals but I wanted to start beside her, although we had previously planned to just run it at our own paces and find each other after. (I can’t chat while I run. Headphones in and no talking is my zone) So, I started a corral back from where I was supposed to be and this made for a rough first mile. It was rough because there are a lot of people who sign up to walk the course, which is totally fine, but they weren’t all in the last corral. Also, a lot of walkers like to walk in groups taking up a lot more space than just on or two individuals beside each other. Those of us jogging got back-logged trying to get to the sides of the course around the walkers. I use a running app to keep an idea of my distance and pace and I knew in my training I had been averaging a somewhere in the 9:40s per mile. My first mile time for the race was 9:55. I freaked out. Typically, my pace times would increase the further I ran and I knew that my slower first mile meant I was going to have to make up time for the duration of the race. Mile 2 was more about trying to find the gaps that had started to appear and I did a lot of juking around people frantically wanting to find my pace. I finally found a comfortable stride around mile 3. Mile 4 had a gradual incline that I thought might end me, but I made it through. At 5, I knew the end was near and tried to pick up my pace a bit. Thankfully, most of 5 was flat or sloped downhill. When my app told me I had hit 6 I could see the finish line, there were a lot of people cheering on the sidelines, and I basically attempted to run as fast as I thought my legs could go at that point. I put on Grace Potter’s “The Lion the Beast the Beat” and gave it hell. At one point I caught myself saying “COME ON” out loud to myself.
I made it! 6.2 in under an hour. 58:57 to be exact. Woo! It felt SO good to accomplish my goal. My total pace was 9:30 per mile, I ranked 222nd out of 241 total, 85th out of 241 in the female division, and 16th out of 34 in the 25-29 age group. Strong and steady landed me in the middle of the pack and I was very pleased. I know I will never be someone who wins these types of events but it is inspiring that I can “win” by attaining goals I set for myself and continuing to improve each time. Always room for self-improvement!
The sponsors and volunteers did a great job with the race! The course was great, I was thrilled that it wasn’t a double loop and that our journey constantly changed from the start line to the finish. If I could make any changes it would be that there be a walking-specific corral at the start line or even a walking lane just to make the beginning of the race go a bit smoother. I love some power walkers, they bring so much fun and energy to the race! Being a part of this race definitely humbled me as a human just because all of those runners, joggers, and walkers were there moving their body and crossing a finish line. That is a huge accomplishment in itself! I would love to participate in the Little Rock marathon events again in the future, hopefully to go a little further or a little faster next time. 😉
New adventure, new outfit- duh! I bought this lightweight half-zip the week of the race because I wanted to have some sleeves as the temps were in the low 40s. I love the blush color so much! Went with my favorite Salutation tight from Athleta, since I knew they wouldn’t slip. And lastly my sports bra that I’m loving right now! By the end of the race I was a little warm but can’t imagine not having those sleeves on at the starting line. Just click any of the links to buy my look, and remember to subscribe so you don’t miss a post (or an outfit!)