Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Race Report - Charleston Distance Run

Quite a few years ago, back in the days when I "wasn't meant to be a runner", in the days when my Dad was the runner and was running the Distance Run, I had a dream. Not the "I'm gonna work really hard, I'm gonna do this someday" kind of dream, but an actual while I was sleeping images in my head dream. I had a dream that I, a non-runner with no plans to ever be a runner, ran the Distance Run.  And not only did I run it, but I won it. And not won as in first woman or first in my age group, but won it won it, as in crossing the finish line first.

Fast forward a few years, to 2015. To the days when I was (am) a runner, and had (have) been for over 5 years. Fast forward to a time when, after a few years of thinking maybe I'll do it, but then wimping out and doing the 5k instead, I made the decision that I was going for it. I was going to sign up for the 15 miler. What better year to try to run 15 miles than 2015?

What was originally going to be a summer of running just for fun turned into a summer of training. A summer of being stronger than my excuses - which meant running in the pouring rain, running in the heat, running in humidity. Short runs, long runs, slow runs and "fast" runs. 

And when race day arrived, I was ready. Or as ready as I thought I could be.

The first two miles on the boulevard went by fairly quickly. I made it over the bridge, and up the long "Capital Punishment" hill with no problems. I cruised my way through the rest of the hills in South Hills and back down to the bridge. 8 miles down, 7 to go on the flats of downtown. But, the one minute walk breaks started to seem way too short, the one minute runs way too long. By about mile 10 and the Capitol complex, I was pretty much ignoring the beeping watch and walking way more then running. By mile 11, I wasn't running at all. My foot was hurting; I was hot; the water in my water bottle was warm.
forget the "...and Beyond" I was just going for the finish line
For a while there were some runners in sight in front of me and I could hear some behind me. But then the course made some turns. The runners in front were out of sight; I turned around and couldn't see anybody behind me.

And just like that, I was out there all alone. Hot, tired, sore, and alone. It was too much. I cried. I really wanted to quit, and I almost did.

What made me keep going? Practicality. It was around mile 13 and I thought to myself, "ok, you want to go home? Well, guess what - the car is at the finish line and you've got to get to it to get home, so..." Yep, it was the location of the car that kept me in the race. I figured I'd have to walk that 2 miles anyway, so it made sense to finish. Hey, whatever works, right?

It was hard; it wasn't fun; I missed my goal finish time; but I finished. 15 in '15 was done. Another thing I never imagined I'd be able to do accomplished.

For the record, the dream didn't come true. I wasn't anywhere close to being the winner, as in the one who crossed the finish line first. Nor was I anywhere close to being the first woman or first in my age group (unless 443rd (or 167th or 25th) means 1st in some alternate universe). 

But I did finish. I ran the same course, crossed the same finish line, as those who did come in first. And that's something to be proud of.

Race Stats
Charleston Distance Run - 15  miles
Saturday, September 5, 2015
Finish Time: 3:34:28 (garmin); 3:35:00 (official)
Place: 443 of 461; 167 of 185 women; 25 of 30 age group