Its All Fun and Games Until You Have to Wake Up
At 5:30am my alarm pierced the silence jolting me awake from a deep sleep. I laid still in my bed trying to understand why on earth my alarm was going off so early. During the work week I didn’t wake up until after the sun had started to rise so why was I waking up before the sun on a Saturday morning??? As my second alarm started to sound I remembered that I weeks ago decided it would be fun to run another 10K in hopes of reaching my goal finish time of 1 hour and 3 minutes. However, here in the present I am not finding running another 10K so fun.
Groggily I got out of bed and made my way to my bathroom to start the getting dressed process. As my mind started to wake up the excuses as to why I should not run began. It was too early. I was too tired. My allergies were acting up. I hadn’t trained like I meant to. I had nothing left to prove. I am okay just sleeping in then running 6 miles on my own later. But nonetheless as the excuses ran through my head I continued to get ready. It definitely helped that I had a cute running outfit that I was excited to wear. Once dressed I hoped in my car to begin the hour journey to Gainesville, TX.
On my way to the race venue the excuses were replaced with nervousness. At this point I knew I was not turning around and going back to bed instead I was going to make it to the race. I told myself to not worry (but as you can imagine that did not go over so well). I tried to take the pressure I had put on myself off by assuring myself it would be okay if I did not reach my goal time because getting up and running 6 miles is a feat in itself. No matter how I did I would be proud that I did not give up.
I made it to the race venue (North Texas Medical Center) as the sun was rising. Since I arrived an hour before the start of the race I managed to get an awesome parking spot that was conveniently located by the start/finish line. After parking I walked into the conference room where they were holding packet pickup to retrieve my items. Considering the issues I had during packet pickup at my last 10K I was prepared a similar situation however I was pleasantly surprised when everything went smoothly.
By the time I had picked up my packet, used the restrooms, and put on my bib I had 30 minutes to go before the race officially started. Still full of jitters I walked around the venue checking out what was setup. 10 minutes before the race was to start I went back to my car to drop off my fleece jacket and get my arm band ready. At this point I had been up for 2 hours and I was ready to get this show on the road.
And So It Begins
From the moment I dropped my jacket in my car to the start of the race was a blur. Before I realized it I was running in the midst of the other runners. We were running at a rapid pace (something around 8 min/mile). I knew this pace was not maintainable for me however I knew that the chances of me running nonstop were slim today. So I decided to run with the pack as long as I possibly could to give myself some extra time to walk when I needed. I ran that 1st mile in 8:53 which was a new record for me (this was my fast mile to date).
By 1.5 miles in I could not keep up at this quick pace plus it did not help that we were running up a hill that I swear was 1 mile high. I finally slowed to a walk and allowed myself to walk the rest of the hill. Once I reached the top there was a water station, which I was excited to see. After hydrating myself I began running again and again I was running a quick non-maintainable pace. I finished my 2nd mile in 10:30. Around the 3 mile marker I knew I needed to slow down and find a maintainable pace or else I was not going to survive the full 6 miles.
I have never felt more like a stalker than during this race. A guy in a bright orange sweater was running a perfect 10 min/mile pace so I began to match his pace by creepily running a little too close behind him. I matched pace with him until the water station around the 4th mile marker. Each time I got water I would stop get a cup then walk and drink it until the trash can. Then I would give myself about 10th of a mile to catch my breath before I would start running again.
I had let the bright orange sweater guy get too far ahead so I ended up finding a new group to match pace with. For the last 1.5 miles I ran with this one girl and guy who were awesome. They kept a 9:20 pace. Not only was the girl running at a quick pace but she was cheering everyone on as she passed them. How she had the energy to talk and run was beyond me but I did appreciate that she let me run with her to the finish line.
The last .2 of a mile I could see the finish line and I felt a surge of energy. I had made it. My 6.2 mile run was almost over and I couldn’t have been more happy to have it done with. As I got closer to the finish line I noticed the clock read 58:40 and I knew that I was so close to finishing this race in under an hour. Excitement rushed over me and I sprinted across the finish line to ensure that I did in fact finish this 10K in under an hour. I felt pure joy as I finished. Not only did I not let my excuses keep me from running but I far exceeded my goal.
So here is a lesson to be learned from this race. You cannot win if you do not try. By default I won 1st place for the females ages 20-29 division. I did not go into this race with any intention on winning a medal. Rather I went into this race wanting to beat my past race time. However because I woke up dark and early and ran when I had a million excuses as to why I couldn’t do it I won first place.
Would I ever run the Halloween Hustle again? Absolutely I would. This race was well organized. The volunteers along with other runners were super friendly and helpful. The course was beautiful. The course was out in the country were there were green pastures and cows. Plus next year I am going to have to defend my title 😉