Run 10 Feed 10 {Race Recap}

Last weekend, I participated in the Run 10 Feed 10 Women's Health/FEED Foundation 10k race!  I was super excited when I first signed up in June, but was concerned by the time September unfolded in a disastrous first few weeks that left me physically exhausted and achey.  Those stressors/fears/roadblocks were described in my Race Week Post.  Thus, my expectations were low, but I was still excited to be daring to do it.

3rd Annual Women's Health Run 10 Feed 10 Race
NYC, West Side Highway, 7:00 am, 80 degrees, 6.2 miles.  


Here's how it went down:

My GOAL for this first 10k, as it was for my second 5k race, was to run the entire thing without stopping.  
The farthest distance I'd done this for in the past was 5 miles (once), and even 6.2--a full 10k (but I was only semi-counting that, because I was forced to stop in place at the traffic signals in Summer Streets).  So running this type of distance wasn't quite yet easy for me, but it certainly seemed within the realm of possibility.

My friend Jen and I headed over bright and  dark and gloomy and early and quickly found Liz, Becky, and Brittany.  Most races I've run in the past have been solo, so it was fun having a group of friends to share this experience with!

The place was packed with 3,000 runners!  It was an early, cloudy, hot and humid morning, with rain threatening, yet the energy was high.  My friends and I were participating together, but we were each at different levels and experiences.  Although we wouldn't be running it in tandem, we lined up together at the start, ready to go.

3... 2... 1.... GO! 

Miles 1 and 2: 
When we set off, I began running with Becky, who'd confirmed that my 10-min-mile pace would suit her.  Then, we took the first two miles by storm at 9:23 and 9:20, a pace I had no trouble keeping up for the two miles, but I knew I couldn't carry on beyond three, let alone 6.2.  After we passed the second mile marker, I told Becky to go on ahead while I slowed down to pace myself.

"You sure?" "Yes, go on!"  She did, and she rocked it!  It wasn't easy for me, but falling back to my 6mph pace was the best decision to ensure I finished my race the way I wanted.  On five-mile runs, my average mile time usually averaged closer to 11 minutes than 10, so this was still a bit quick for me to hope to sustain over the long haul.

Miles 3 and 4:
Slowing down for mile three and four, I got in my groove and felt good. This was my happy place.  By the end of the fourth mile, my legs began to tire and, honestly, my head became foggy.  It was so humid out, and the thick cloud of heat was unsettling.  The fog even diminished the West Side Highway's usual view of downtown Manhattan, which was slightly disappointing, as I'd been looking forward to it.  Fortunately, the tree-lined path was still nice, and it was fun to run down the closed-off highway.

Miles 5 and 6:
It was at the bottom point, after already turning around to head back up the bike path and feeling the heat get to me and my legs, that I began to wonder where the next mile marker was.  "5" took forever to show up!  I kept thinking, I must be close... I must be close..., but no.  This was interesting in retrospect, because it turns out that I'd sped up again in fifth mile, which is perhaps why my legs were feeling spent by the time I finally reached "Six".

My legs felt like glue, but I'd made it so far without stopping, I knew I'd regret it if I did now.  Just... keep... moving...  In the last mile, I slowed down yet again to a short-stepped jog, just trying to stay in motion rather than stopping to walk.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

The End:
My final motivational song--perfectly timed for my final push--came on: "Edge of Glory."   I pushed forward to the beat!   When I saw the finish line, I was elated--at last!  I wanted so badly to sprint to the finish, but simply didn't have it in me.  It had taken everything I had to keep running until this point; speeding up was an impossibility.

GLORY:  Still running, I crossed the finish line--which my (and others') GPS recorded as 6.45 miles rather than 6.2!  My Nike+ App quickly informed me that (since beginning this app in June) this was my longest run, farthest run, and fastest 5k and 10k to date.  Woohoo!

Crossing the finish line and finally letting myself slow down to a walk, I had to keep my legs moving.  They were on auto-pilot, moving forward aimlessly as I searched for my friends among the crowded sponsor booths.  Finally, we all met up in a combination of heat exhaustion and pride.

10k Team: Before & After

We all finished, and finished in excellent time.  I've got some speedy friends!  Congrats are due all around.  They inspire me to keep going, and bring up that last mile's time.

Read this rockstar's recap here

Glad to participate in a race for a cause, too.  I loved seeing other runner's shirts that said, "Will run for food."  833,873 meals had been served by the time we departed from the west side!!  Amazing.

Dare you to learn more about how you can contribute to the cause or get involved in a race with Run 10 Feed 10 by clicking here.

Bonus dare: Go ahead and sign up for a 10k to aspire to!!  Remember that I started with a  one mile goal and never would have thought I'd be able to run six without stopping.  There are many reasons to hate running, but just as many to love it.  There's always a new goal to try--longer, farther, faster... And it's never too late to start; there's always something you can aim for.  If I can do it, anyone can!  Dare you to exceed your expectations and give it a try.

We did it!!!!

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