That late start came in handy as I was not feeling well the night before. I had been quite nauseous and painfully bloated. You know it's bad when you sleep with a puke bucket next to your bed, just in case. The morning of the race, I was barely able to eat five small bites of toast and a few sips of water. This is not good when you're about to run for an hour in some warm weather. I was fully aware that today might not be the day for a PR, but I was hopeful anyway.
We arrived at the airport with just enough time to get our bibs and use the bathroom. After the Star Spangled Banner, the race coordinators walked is out onto the runway for the 10k start. At this point, I was getting pumped at the possibility of a PR.
The gun sounded and off we went. One step, two steps, three ste...OUCH! I felt a sharp shooting pain starting from my heel and up to my calf. It took me a few seconds to recover from the shock and I took it easy for the next several steps. This was not how I wanted to start the race! I kept my eye on my watch for my pace and made an effort to slow down because I was running around 9:00/mi and I knew that I had to ease up in order to "survive". The rest of the first mile felt great - 9:38/mi.
Mile two was a little harder. Did you know that runways aren't flat? At least not this one. It was a steady and gradual uphill towards the mountain. I did my best to keep my head up, but you could see tiny little ants...er, people, way up ahead and I kept waiting for the turn around. Mile 2 - 10:11/mi.
Mile 4 was when things started to go sour. I was definitely able to tell that I did not have the proper fuel for breakfast and the nausea from the day before was starting to hit again. I slowed my pace down and walked for a bit when I needed it. I kept my eye on the older gentleman and would catch up to him when I slowed down too much. Mile 4 - 10:22. At this point, I knew I wasn't going to PR.
Mile 5 - the gradual incline was making it's appearance again. This was the hardest mile for me. I took some water at the 4 mile marker and walked for a bit. I knew that I only had two miles left, but the turnaround close to the mile 5 marker seemed so far away. The older gentleman asked me for the time (42:43) and he seemed to be impressed with his pace. He was pretty consistent the last couple miles I was with him. I knew that I needed him in order to finish the race. If he could do it, I knew I could too. I held back a bit on mile 5 knowing that I would need to push myself a little bit after the turn around. Mile 5 - 11:14.
Mile 6 - once I hit the final turn around, I repeated two words to myself for the remainder of the race: LIGHT and FLY. I kept my head up and just focused on the finish line banner. Light, fly. Light, fly., Light, fly. The older gentleman was still by me. He picked up his pace, and I picked up mine. Mile 6- 10:01/mi. I don't think he realizes how much I needed him that day and how much he helped me get through to the end. I wish I had said thank you to him because I lost him at the finish line.
I finished the race with my worst 10k time yet: 01:03:22. Thankfully, I have some races penciled in on my fall calendar to redeem myself!