It's been nearly a week, but I ran a race.
A 10. Mile. Race.
This HUGE for me. I've ran a whopping three races before, and they've all been 5K races. I like racing, I really do, but I'm also pretty (read: a lot) broke at all times, and paying $20-$40 to run 3.1 miles with nothing but a banana, cotton t-shirt full of logos and maybe a 'complimentar'y watery beer doesn't really fit in with my budget. I'd rather run 3.1 at home and enjoy 1/6 of an $8 6-pack when I get home.
A friend talked me into running the Crim race a few weeks ago, and I was ready to register for the 8K version of the race. I whined that she and her running group were really fast (they are) and I was really slow (I am) and that the rest of the girls in her group would be cranked when they had to sit around and wait for me to cross the finish (they weren't). Then I started getting angry at myself for wimping out on the bigger race (and medal). As soon as I learned that the 8K started waaaay after the last wave of 10 Mile runners took off and realized they'd have to wait for me anyway, I held my breath and registered for the 10 Mile.
Hold up. Let's quickly mention that my LONGEST run had been 7 miles. A slooow 7 miles.
The race was packed. Corrals for the 10 mile race alone were filled with about 8,000 people. I'd guess it was really well organized but I've never been in a big race before so I have no frame of reference. We got to the corral with about zero seconds to spare, so there was no time to worry or wonder what would happen. We were almost immediately off.
And I had a BLAST. For 2 hours and 10 minutes (told you. slow.) I was almost constantly happy. There were about 10 minutes during mile 2 where my shins were on fire, but thanks to adrenaline, stretching or just easing nerves the pain disappeared really quickly, thank goodness. There were beer stops. There were other people that had to stop and walk. Every racer was friendly and every spectator was friendlier. The weather was perfect. People were cheering nonstop. Residents of the neighborhoods lined up in lawn chairs on their driveways and cheered their faces off for total strangers. Volunteers held up signs telling me I (well, everyone) was amazing. There were HILLS, but each time I got discouraged a downhill run made me feel like a damn speed demon. It was perfect. I was on mile 7 when I realized that I still felt great and there was no way I wasn't going to finish.
By mile 9 I was pretty tired. I walked for awhile because I wanted to save energy to finish strong. As soon as I hit the brick road that led to the finish, I took off running (again) toward the finish line. I was exhausted, getting sore and my Honey Stingers were wearing off so I was hangry - but I got chills, actual chills!, once I was a few steps from the finish line.
I didn't stop looking at my medal for hours once I got home. I barely got off the couch for the rest of the day, but it was totally worth it. I've never felt so great in my life. I still can't believe I did it!