My First 10K (1 of 2)

TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013

(This post and the next are about my experience at my first 10K, The Cleveland Rite Aid, on May 19, 2013. There’s a lot to say, so this post will tackle leading up to the start.  My next post will take you through the race. If you’re anything like me, you’ll lose interest after about 4 paragraphs and I since I need my 3 loyal readers to stick with me, I’m splitting it up. You’re totally welcome. So here goes…)

build up…. Build Up… BUILD UP!!!!!  Aaaaaaand, it’s over.

So the Cleveland Rite Aid 10K has officially come and gone. It felt like I talked about it, trained for it, talked about it some more and so on for months and months and months. And now, just like the feeling you get on Christmas afternoon, it’s over and I’m left wondering, “OK, what now?”. But before what’s next, I need to reflect on what was.

I was pretty darn nervous the week leading up to my very first 10K race. I decided that hydration was key, because heaven forbid I go down with a side stitch 3.42 miles (totally made up number) in to my 6.2 race!  (Turns out I would go down with one at about mile 5.25, but we’ll get to that.) So in the days leading up, I drank water. LOTS of water.  And for me, lots means, like, 2 or 3 tumblers a day. A tumbler load was maybe about 20 ounces, but for me, drinking 2-3 of those suckers a day felt like water boarding. And then, of course, I just peed a lot. But I felt like I was doing the right thing in preparing myself for the big race.

I set my alarms… 2 alarms… to go off at 4:30am. I wanted to get up and shower, in an effort to get my body awake and moving. And, well, clean. That part was important, too. But mostly I just needed to feel like I was alive and the shower was the way to go. I timed my morning beautifully. Up at 4:30. Showered, dressed, hair in a swishy pony by 5:00. Toast with butter and light cinnamon-sugar spread prepped and consumed by 5:15. Out the door at 5:20. I was to meet my friends in a (super shady, but super cheap) parking lot down in The Flats.

It’s 5:20am and I’m on the road. I call my friend, Jen, at 5:30 to check in and to see how her progress is, well, progressing. She is supposed to be meeting another friend, Len, at 5:30, but he’s running 10 minutes behind. *Gulp* I don’t deal with late very well. And especially when I wasn’t sure exactly which super shady parking lot in The Flats I was supposed to meet them at with no one around at 6:00 in the morning. But I continued to breathe. It’s all good and a 10 minute delay is no big deal.

Let’s fast forward a bit. I’ve met my friends. We’re parked, organized and have made our way over to the Browns Stadium (is that still what it’s called these days?!) where the start of the race is. It’s such a cool vibe! People were everywhere in their new, but tested, running outfits. Bibs proudly pinned to their fronts. I quickly learned the color coding. Red striped bibs were the real runners. The half and full marathoners. Solid red bibs were the relay folks, or what I like to refer to as “the cheaters”. Then there were us yellow stripers. Probably yellow because we were too chicken-shit to run anything more than 6.2! But I wore my bib proudly and it matched my outfit, so life was good.

I hit the bathroom twice waiting for the 10K’ers to get called. On the way back from my second trip, the real runners were taking off from their corrals and I could hear “Cleveland Rocks” and then Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” as they left on their 13.1 and 26.2 mile journeys. It was so cool. SO COOL. The experience of it gave me goosebumps and a lump in my throat. I couldn’t even see them, as they were on the other side of the stadium, but the music and the mood of everyone there was really intense and you couldn’t help but feel like you were a part of something pretty special. Yellow-striped bib and all.

The real runners took off at 7:00. The yella-bellied 10K’ers started at 7:30. We made our way over to the queue at about 7:15 and casually walked our way up to where we could see the starting line, but weren’t so far up that people would assume we could take on course records. It was a comfortable position.

Counting down from 10, it’s almost go time! (Do I have time to pee again?! Shoot. No.) “…5-4-3-2-1!  Cleveland Rocks!  Cleveland Rocks!  Cleveland Rocks! Cle-e-veland Rocks!” The music is blaring and I’m jumping up and down. Jumping because even though we got the big “GO!”, we were so far back that we weren’t moving forward yet and up and down was my only option. It ended up taking about 3 minutes from our position to hit the starting line.

Still with me? Yes?! Well then come join me at my next post….

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