I knew that if I wanted to have a chance of completing the Country Music Half-Marathon at the end of April, I would need to get some experience running longer distances. After several months of attempting to learn how to run, I got pretty comfortable running the Central Park Loop, which is around 6 miles. The park had always been intimidating to me, and I've always gotten lost somehow, but once K showed me the ropes, I love running there now. I'm pretty happy with the fact that I can even run 6 miles, it's such a drastic upgrade from where I was last summer. I would sometimes even run 7 miles (run to the park, run the Loops, run back to my apartment) but that was always stretching it.
15K seemed like a daunting distance to me when I signed up for it. 9.3 miles is a long distance to be running, but I knew I had to conquer it if I wanted to run 13.1. I had a hard time forcing myself to go on longer runs, I just get really bored after an hour, even with music. Exactly 1 week before the race, I made myself go on a 10 mile run in the park. It was painful, drizzly out, and I was miserable by the time I was done. I definitely struggled a lot on this run, but I made myself keep running, even if I slowed down terribly at some points. I did feel a bit reassured after this run, because I knew that I could finish the 15K. At this point in my running, I don't really care how fast I go. I'm just excited to finish the race!
So this past Sunday, April 1st, I ran my first 15K. Luckily it was a great day for running, cool but not too cold, bright but not too sunny. I knew I had to pace myself if I wanted to run the entire thing, so I tried not to overextend myself too early. One of my favorite moments was seeing my friend K along with another friend around the 5 mile mark, and they were cheering for me! I was so encouraged by this and definitely picked up my pace. After 7 miles I decided to try the PowerBar gel-thingie that I bought in case I was running low on energy, even though I had only 2 miles left, since I'm not used to running over 6 miles and I hadn't eaten that much that morning out of nervousness. Of course I am clumsy and spill half of it all over myself, making a sticky mess. I just dumped a bunch of water on myself and sucked it up for the next few miles. But I really do think the energy gel did work, because I felt less worn down and definitely perked up a bit. Next time I'll just be more careful.
As soon as I could see the finish line, I could feel the adrenaline pick up in my system. I was almost done! I'd be out of my misery! I could pee as soon as I cross the finish line! I pretty much gave it all I had for the last half mile or so, which is definitely not something I do when just running on my own. And the best surprise? Seeing my closest girlfriends cheering for me moments before I finished. I was really touched that they came out to see me run! I didn't realize how awesome it is to have someone cheering for you. Now I know next time any of my friends are racing, I will make a huge effort to be there to support them, whether it be a 10k or a marathon.
My goal was to finish under a 9:00/mile pace, and I did! I finished the 15K in 1:22:16, which is an 8:52/mile pace. I'm very proud of this, and am now motivated to train harder for my upcoming half marathon.
How awesome is this photo that my friend L snapped on her iphone?
I was so excited to see my friends but was so exhausted I could barely speak.
K & I match in pink!
Now I'm feeling pretty good about my 10K on Saturday. I'm going to attempt to make it to the gym/park at least twice this week. I'm still a bit sore from Sunday but I know I need to get at least one good run in. I'm going to try to have this blog also be a sort of fitness journal for me as well, so I can keep track and hold myself accountable.