Cue me shocking back awake at 6:45am. My race starts at 8:15am. And its location is an hour away from where I live. I did BOTH -- I jolted awake because I thought I was going to miss it, and then I nearly did miss it.
Thank god for being an anal runner and packing a race bag and laying out clothes the night before. I rushed into my clothes, threw some white bread in the toaster and popped a tea K-Cup in my Keurig to prepare a travel mug. I hurriedly smeared some peanut butter on the toasted bread, wrapped it in a paper towel, slung my race bag over my back and jetted out the door.
I got to my car at about 7:15am. Alas, it snowed last night and I lost some time furiously cleaning off my car. I became one of those people I totally hate -- you know, the ones that leave a ton of snow piled on top of their car so that when they drive off, god forbid if you're behind them and you're blinded by a drift.
Very luckily, it was obviously 7:00 on a Sunday morning, so traffic was smooth sailing. I made it to Highland Park, Illinois in record time -- just over 40 minutes. Last year, parking was a big issue for me, but this time, I had no problems finding a spot convenient to the race location. Then, with some time to relax a little and bring down my heart rate, I set about gearing up. Because you see, at the time of my arrival at the race, 20 minutes before the gun, my car showed the temperature in the photo to the left.
I left the warmth of my car and jogged to the start line. A few minutes later, we were off, and the second running of what had been my first ever 10K last year was underway. But things were a little different this year. Last year, I had trained properly for this race and came up with a PR that still stands today. This year, I'd run about five miles cumulatively since October.
I knew it was going to be a tough running. And it was. At around Mile 4, I got really tired. Not like, in my breathing or in my muscles, but more "I just want to take a nap" tired. But then I got some motivation from an unexpected source.
A version of Rihanna and Jay-Z's "Run This Town" came on my phone, and there is one lyric that made me straighten my back and snap out of my tired fog. Rihanna sings:
"Victory's within the mile, almost there, don't give up now."
I crossed the finish line iin 1:08:11 -- my worst 10K time ever. And yet, I couldn't be happier. With barely a scrape of running in the past four months, I made it through 6.2 miles relatively unscathed. My knee, ankle and back were a bit twingey, but not debilitatingly so. Though my GERD coughing was acting up, I managed to avoid the respiratory distress I've experienced before. And I found a new pre-race dinner that was not only delicious but also (sorry, a little TMI but a runner will understand) ensured that I had ZERO GI distress after the race, which barely ever happens.
Most importantly, this race reminded me why I'm a runner. It makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel different (in a good way) and important. It makes me appreciate the power of both the human body and nature. It sounds so cheesy but it's true: running reminds me that I am alive.
North Shore Cupid's Love Dash 10K
February 9, 2014
Highland Park, IL