Monday, April 18, 2011

My First 10K!

Bellevue 10K — April 17, 2011

Chip time: 56:35 — 9:08 average pace

This was my favorite race ever! I really, really like the 10K distance because I don’t feel like I have to push so hard the whole time, which is how I feel while running a 5K.

I felt good the entire race. The running came easily. The running was fun. I never walked (except very briefly through two water stations). And I smashed my time goal of 60 minutes with a huge smile on my face.

Let’s start at the beginning! I woke up with a nervous stomach, meaning there were multiple bathroom trips before I left the house at 7:00. Yeah. Luckily, I felt fine by the time Aaron and I got to Bellevue. (All the awesome photos below are by Aaron, of course!)

There were no pace groups designated in the starting corral, so I just stood near the middle-front on the right side, which I knew would be the inside of the course since Aaron and I had biked the course the previous weekend.

My plan was to start at an easy 10:00/mile pace and stick to the inside of the course with little to no weaving. (I think the latter really worked because my Nike+ said I only ran 5.95 miles!)

Almost as soon as the race started, an incredibly gross thing happened: A guy in front of me blew a massive snot rocket and I ran directly through the residual mist. Not OK. But I had a race to run, so I didn't freak out about it. Miracle!

Once I found my running groove, I realized there was no way I could run at a 10:00/mile pace. I was hitting 9:00/mile with ease and felt no need to slow down. The first hill came up quickly — I’d say within 0.3 of the starting line — but it wasn’t a problem. I just went up!

The first mile marker came surprisingly quickly. I ran the first mile in exactly 9:00 and felt awesome. The second hill came up in mile 2, and it was much longer than the first one. I went up slowly and steadily, and then was really mindful not to run too hard on the downhill. I heard people hammering down the downhill behind me, and then saw them pass me, but I resisted the urge to speed up. More than anything else during this 10K, I kept telling myself, “Run your own race.”

I ran the first three miles in 27:something. I felt like I could have gone faster, but knew I’d need the energy for the remaining miles. After I passed the three-mile marker, I got really excited that I was about halfway done and that I would now be racing farther than I’ve ever raced before. I actually got pretty emotional at this point and felt such a surge of love for running.

Aaron and his mom, Greta, had driven to about the 3.5 mile point and were waiting to cheer me on and take pictures. I had never had people I know there to cheer me on in the middle of a race before, and it was such a boost!! Hence why I look extremely happy in these photos…

The four-mile marker was the last one that seemed to come quickly. I hit that at 37:something. At this point, I knew I could break 60 minutes if I didn’t fall apart, so I tried to stay around a 9:30 pace.

I must have missed the five-mile marker, because the next one I saw was the two-mile marker for the 5K route. I took that to mean there was only a mile left, so I sped up big-time. The 10K runners also ran into the last of the 5K walkers at this point, so there were quite a few people to dodge.

It seemed to take forever until I saw the six-mile marker, and then forever to run the last 0.2 miles! The last bit was on a hill (mean!), and then it turned to the left to reach the finish line.

I saw Aaron and Greta waiting just past the finish line and gave it all I had. I was so happy to be done and so proud of myself for meeting my race goals and even exceeding my expectations.

I crossed the finish line with my arms in the air, and then starting clapping like a crazy person — not for myself, but for the whole awesome experience.

I was so upset a few weeks ago when I started having shin pain while breaking a new pair of running shoes, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do my best in this race because of the setback. I was really surprised and delighted by how great I felt during the whole race. I think taking four days off to rest, then doing only 3-milers, then taking two more rest days right before the race did the trick.

Before I started pushing hard near the very end, I felt like I could run miles and miles more. I now have much more confidence for my 15K in May and half-marathon in June!

All the support I received from my friends and my running blog followers helped me believe I could run this race in the first place. Quite a few people donated to my American Cancer Society fundraising efforts in support of this race, and I put all their names on the back of my shirt, along with Neale Donald Walsch's quote, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."

After running six 5Ks and becoming comfortable with that distance, the starting line of this 10K truly was the end of my comfort zone. (Or maybe it was the part where I ran through the snot-rocket mist?)

In any case, after conquering an intimidating distance, I now feel like I can do anything.




Bring it.


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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Townhouse: Part II

Oh, hellooo. Excuse my feet!

I'm sitting here resting my legs after running seven miles in brand-new shoes and suffering the slightly painful consequences. So why don't I continue that townhouse tour I started back in February?

To refresh your memory, here are the kitchen and the living room:

$120 Craigslist couch for the win!

I'm not much for decorating, but fresh flowers are always nice, especially when they come from a nice young gentleman...

 Flowers just make everything happier!

And they made it up to my room.

The bed and nightstand used to belong to my mom. There's a matching nightstand on the other side, which I don't use, but I appreciate symmetry.

When I moved into the townhouse, I splurged on new sheets, a new down comforter and a new memory-foam mattress topper. For years, I had been using a weird combo of mismatched sheets and an old, too-small comforter from my freshman year in the dorms, so it was time to start fresh. This bed is now ridiculously comfortable and very difficult to get out of!

The other side of my room opens up to a balcony with a sliding glass door that lets in a lot of light. Lucky me, I know! The curtains also came with the place. The view outside is nice sometimes.

Fun fact: I rescued the office chair from the curb while I was in college. It has a few tears, but it's pretty comfortable! I ain't picky.

My race bibs are the only things I've put on my walls. Like I said, I'm not much for decorating. The desk is a castoff from my brother, I think, and the basic plastic drawers to the right hold all my old school supplies and files of important papers. You'll spy a bottle of Elmer's glue if you look closely. What?

The top shelf is a great place to throw papers and mail that I don't want to deal with. I also displayed my high school and college diplomas up there to prove I got me some education.

I keep my book collection to a minimum because I don't reread a lot of books, and I'd rather grab something from the library than haul a bunch of books around every time I move. This is probably too many books for me to have, even.

The Clinton book is signed by the man himself, but I haven't read it all the way through. I skipped to the pages under "Lewinsky, Monica" in the index. Oh, you would, too!

I have a few bears that hold special meaning, plus an old postcard from my favorite college professor's address to the graduating class of 2008. I didn't attend his address since I graduated the following year, but the professor saved one of those cards for me to have, and I happened to like that quote...

On to the bathroom!

I share this with one of my roommates, but it's pretty big and we each have our own space.

The his-and-hers — hers-and-hers? — sinks are great, and the shelf/drawer unit in the middle is fab for storage. We girls have lot of fancy stuff to put in our hair, you know.

I hang out over on this side. I picked out that shower curtain you see in the reflection — it was the least ugly one I could find at Bed, Bath and Beyond. What's with all the ugly shower curtains, BB&B?

That's it for the tour! There are two other bedrooms, two other bathrooms and a garage, but you'll have to use your imagination.

I'm off to go make some dinner and ice my shins in the hopes that I can hit the pavement again soon. After all, I'm only 11 days away from my first 10K (6.2-mile) race! And then I'll have another bib to add to my, umm, minimalist decor.


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