Things that fly? Heron, dragonflies and me.
The first two I encountered pre-race and the final, during. 🙂
Sunday I ran the Level 10k. A race I hadn’t planned on or trained for. Or even known about until the week before.
And there is something so relaxed and liberating about that kind of race.
See, I’m right in the middle of my ultra training, and focused way more on distance and heat acclimation and cumulative movement than I am on speed.
But when your bestie asks you on a Monday “wanna come run a 10k Sunday?” You say yes.
Because running a 10k she’ll be at is way more fun than a standard 12-mile solo run.
She warned me it was a hilly course (despite being put on by Level. Lol) and I knew it would be hot. But I craved the challenge.
It was a nice small field (about 200 people) in a lovely state park. And right from the time we arrived had a great feel to it.
I found my bestie and her friend immediately. And hung out while we waited.
It was 81 and humid at the start, but mostly overcast. And even tho the sun did come out, the course was fortunately quite shady.
It was a looped course, which I actually quite liked. An initial shorter loop, followed by a longer one. And the start was below the finish.
This meant I got to pass my cheering section (my hunny and my pup) twice during the race.
It also meant I got to run Tower Hill three times. Ulp! It’s one of those hills just tough enough. And I’m happy to say I successfully ran it all three trips. Tho the third time, at mile 6, was not easy.
Advantages of a small race? No corrals, no formality, just a group of people casually chatting while they waited. Got the pre race announcements and the “any questions?” To which the smartass in me replied (only loud enough for my bestie and a couple others to hear) “how far is it?” 🙂
And we were off….
I started with the crowd, completely unsure of my pace. Trying to set a good, but not crazy, pace from the beginning. I had no idea how I would do, but had hopes to be under 1:05 overall, maybe 1:02 (a 10 minute mile average).
Cruised up the hill and saw my hunny with his phone, so I cut across for the photo op.
Early race photos are the best – I look so fresh. Lol
And I cruised along…the crowd thinner and I ran my own race. Neither hard nor easy, sort of trying to figure out what pace I could hold for 6.2 miles.
There were a lot of wonderful downhill stretches which were great for saving energy, knowing tower hill was coming back up shortly after mile 2. And oddly, it felt easier this time.
Saw my hunny again – got a high five – and was told “a lot of runners are grabbing water to pour on their head. Want to?” I told him in was fine right now, bout would soon.
Kept cruising, and passed the timing mat at mile 3 in about 29:30. Hmmm…I thought. Keep this up and we got 1:02 no problem.
And at mile 3.5, I did as advised and grabbed a water. Few sips and the rest on my head and neck. Oh yeah that felt great!!
I knew there’d be another stop at mile 5. And I knew I’d do the same them.
But for now, I held pace. Which I could feel was getting faster. I tried to reign in it a little, but since I felt okay and was breathing fine I didn’t worry.
And as I neared the final turn late in mile 5, and the urge to surge hit, I told myself “Don’t be stupid.” Followed by “Don’t be a chicken”.
And I held where I was…because that hill loomed.
By now I was hot. And I was slimy. And I was tired. But I was NOT going to let the hill win. I dug in. Fought for it. And was rewarded by this picture of me cresting the hill.
The photographer said to me “Congrats. You made it to the top”. And that smile was my response.
I hit the straightaway, slowed for a second to catch my breath, and saw the cones for the finish just as the downhill hit.
And I surged. And I flew. You know, that kind of speed where your legs feel unhinged from your body and you are giving it absolutely everything you have left? That kind of flying. And thanks to my friend’s daughter for getting this picture.
My official finish time? 1:00:54. Sweet!!
And oddly, it placed me 5th in my age group. Whoa!!
I guess you don’t know what you have in you, until you let it out.
Thanks to my bestie for talking my into sole sister Sunday.
And thanks to Level Renner for putting on a great event. I will totally be back next year!!