This is the second year I participated in the Papa John's 10 Miler. It is the final leg of the Triple Crown of Running, which I may do one year, but this year I was using it as a training run. I had 10 miles on the training calendar for this week and I knew I couldn't skip out on it.
It was cold before the race started. The temperature was 37° at the start. I met up with a friend from work, Melinda and her husband, Jason about 7:45am. We talked for a little bit while I danced around to stay warm, then headed to the start. Melinda and I lined up about in the middle, while Jason went closer to the front. It was so great to have someone to talk to as we waited for the race to start even though we knew we wouldn't stay together the whole time. Once it started, we walked together until we crossed the actual starting line and then I started running. Melinda passed me not long after that, but I was trying to stay on my pace and not start off too quickly because of the excitement of the crowd.
I made it very comfortably the first 3 miles to the Iroquois Park. Just before I entered the park, we started seeing the lead runners coming out. I find it rather inspiring to be passed by someone that can run so fast. I was pleased because I knew I was closer to the park than I had been when I started seeing lead runners last year.
After entering the park, I continued with my plan to run 9 minutes, then walk 1 minute even though that didn't always coordinate with the hills. At 59 minutes, I started taking the nutrition supplements I had brought with me. I had 2 Honey Stinger chews that I ate then and Clif Shot Bloks, which I used every 20 minutes after that. The Honey Stingers are a new (to me) product that I've been trying. I think 2 of them is about equivalent to 1 Shot Blok in terms of energy. I like the flavors about equally, so I'll use up what I have and then will probably buy whichever is cheaper next time.
Even though I was feeling pretty good, I was ready to be out of the park because I could see sunshine at times through the trees and I was looking forward to basking in it. Also, I was getting tired of going up the hills. After thinking "this is the last hill" several times, I reached the final downhill to come out of the park and head back to the stadium. About mile 7, my legs began to hurt. I told myself I just had a 5K left to go. I also debated trying to finish the rest without any walking breaks, since starting to run again was more uncomfortable then continuing to run. I was worried about being able to finish if I did that, so I continued the walk breaks except for the last one, which would have been about mile 9.5.
As I entered the stadium, I was passed by some people, but didn't think I could go much faster. Then I made the final turn and decided to speed it up for the last 50 yards. It felt awesome to really run to the end, but after I crossed the finish line I was ready to collapse. I finally understood not having any more to give.
Jason was waiting just past the finish line. He'd finished in 1:23:50, which is awesome. Melinda was just a little behind me at 2:11:47. I finished under my goal and with a new personal record at 2:05:44. This is almost 10 minutes faster than my time last year. After we finished, we ate a banana and some pizza, then headed to our cars. The wind really picked up on my walk to the parking lot and my hands got so cold. I was very happy to get in the car and turn on the heat. I just sat warming up for a little before trying to deal with the traffic.
I made it home and had a lovely hot shower. It felt so good to climb into sweats and turn on the fireplace. Last night, Richard came over for some mulled wine and basketball watching. The wine was a lovely ending to a cold day. It also ended up being a perfect night for a warm beverage since it started snowing. Crazy Southern Indiana weather. The snow is gone today and hopefully the weather will cooperate for the next 5 weeks as I finish training for the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon.