Tuesday, November 12, 2013

That Time I Ran to the Start Line

This weekend marked the first anniversary of the first race I've ever trained for, The Cajun Cup 10k. I wanted to participate in the event again this year, as my run group puts up a big showing, and wanted to share that experience with the Sole Sistas. One small glich, I'm currently at the half way point of Marathon training, and this was a mileage building week for me. I had 15 miles to run Saturday not 6.2. I figured I had a few options to log this mileage:

1. Run hard and try to PR the 10k, then run home
2. Run hard for the 10k and try to PR, then run 15 miles Sunday
3. Run to the race, and finish the long run with a group

Both options one and two, sounded like they could work but, no gas left in tank to run 15 after beasting a 10k would be a bad idea, and two I had long standing plans Saturday night aka there's no way I was running on Sunday. Run to the race it is!

Fueled and packed for my 9 mile run to the race
At both 10k races I've done previously, I had witnessed people running to the race. I knew I wouldn't be the only person using this plan to log the miles. Another runner from my group had to run 12 total, so we met up bright and early to begin the trip across town to the race's start. My plan was to run 8.5-8.8 miles at a 9:50-10:00 minute pace, putting me right at 15 crossing the finish line. I got going right about 6:15am (Race started at 8:05am). I wanted to give myself a little cushion time, to get to the start, snap some pictures with the girls, run my yapper, ya know super important stuff. I planned on a long route far from water fountains, etc. Lucky for me my husband volunteered to run pit crew for me. We had arranged our first meet up at 5 miles in.

The run started off really well, and I could tell right from the get go it was going to be a great day. I had to coach myself continuously to maintain my slower pace, didn't want to run out of gas! Cruising along feeling grand, until a bump in the road took me down at 2.5. Literally took me down. On all fours in the middle of the road. I couldn't tell right away, but I ended up with some nasty cuts and bruises. I'm down on the ground all of five seconds total, my first thought was NOOOO, MY PACE!!!! Recovering from the shock of my first running fall, I'm back up and running at this point, I discover the greatest causality is that I've crushed my hand held water bottle, and I've lost all of my water. Womp womp. It's all good in the hood however, just got to make it to mile 5, and Mr. Noel with fix me up. Keep on a truckin...

Fall Aftermath
Rounding the corner at a major intersection, I hear hooting and hollering coming from a car a red light. I look over and see some of the Sole Sistas cheering for me. I was so touched and flattered. I really LOVE these women. At four and half miles in, the fall feels like a distant memory and I literally feel like I can go all day! Meeting Mr. Noel at mile 5, he gives me some water, and we agree to meet up at another stopping point which will be my last before the race starts. Still feeling like a champ rolling through our last water stop, I start making my way down town to the start line.

As I approach the beginning of the race course, I see other runners out logging miles to the start. It reminded me of being in New Orleans on Saints game day when packs of people in Black & Gold are making there way to the Super-dome. I was getting excited to start the race, and to meet up with my running crew. I got a tad turned around, and ended up going over my planned mileage, but I made it with about 20 minutes to spare. After meeting up with the girls, I downed a spark I had packed (AWESOME idea), and we got ready to get going. I wish I had timed this a bit better, as I actually think the long pause between the 9 mile run and 10k start allowed some leg fatigued to set it. Nonetheless, here we go! I didn't pace plan myself well for the actual 10k. My first 5k was a bit too fast considering how far I'd already come, but overall the race itself felt fun and enjoyable.  My last few miles were slow. My brain is having trouble pushing out past the half marathon distance, however I can feel my endurance coming up and up. I really feel these longer distances are all mental, especially towards the end. Just before hitting mile 5 on the 10k course, my cell phone died.

Run captured before cell died.

I ran out the last mile and some change music and pace less. Why is the last mile so long??? My right quad felt tight, which is new, but I was determined to finish. My legs were getting tired and heavy and pushing out the last mile was a real mental challenge. I kept thinking, ok so only 11 miles on top of this and I'm at a marathon! Sweet baby J help meeeee.
Finish Line in Sight!

Total Distance 15.35, Total Time 2:34, Average Pace 10:02

Just ran 15.35 miles. WHOA.
What a run. I still can't believe I did that. I ran 15.35 miles. That accomplishment in and of itself feels surreal. I can't even begin to fathom how accomplished I will feel crossing the marathon finish. Even one year ago, I never would have imagined that I would be training for a marathon. Honestly, I'm blown away that I ran this 10k only 3 minutes slower than I did last year on fresh legs. This was such a wonderful run day, and the day itself just kept getting better and better (more on that later, this post is getting long). The weather was phenomenal, and I know lots of people put up PRs in a big way! 

To Joy, it was so great to meet you, thanks for coming over to say hello! Congrats on your PR! All of the Sole Sistas, thank you so much for supporting me always, I hope I give back to you every bit as much good juju as you give to me! I feel so lucky and honored to be a part of such an amazing group of women. To my husband, there ain't no way I could do this without you bay bay. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do! 

Did  mention I have officially registered to run the big 26.2? Feet don't fail me now

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  1. Elle - THIS IS HUGE! Look how far you ran...AND killed the Cajun Cup!
    On another note: those bruises. Ouch.

  2. AWESOME JOB!!! That was a nasty fall. Hopefully it's not causing to much pain.

  3. Your poor legs! OUCH!!!!

    Way to go- what a cool idea to run to the race- I bet that certainly broke up the regular run day monotony!! You're a rockstar!

  4. Glad your fall did not impair your run! Way to go on the mileage and the race. You are such an inspiration for me to get off my booty and start training again! Hope your bruises heal up soon!

  5. AMAZING! So inspiring!!! Bless your heart for those cuts and bruises, but in the end it was worth it - I'm sure! Great job sister!

  6. Way to complete your run like a BEAST after that fall!!! Glad you didnt have any major injuries :)

  7. Congrats!!!! 15+ miles, you are a beast!!!! :)

    I know you are going to ROCK that marathon!!!!

  8. That is some bruise!! Way to go girl!! That's an amazing accomplishment and I can't wait to read your recap after your marathon!!! :)