Saturday marked my longest and toughest run on my race schedule to-date. The Crim is a very well-known race that brings runners from all across the state to Flint, MI (not the nicest place on Earth, let’s be honest). This year marked the race’s 35th Anniversary.
I signed up for this race a few months ago at the beginning of my training after hearing such great things. However, the closer the race got, the more I was dreading it.
On Friday night I went to bed unsure of how I would feel the next morning. When the alarm went off at 5:15am, I told Phil I didn’t want to run. He said that he knew I would regret not at least trying, and in a few hours, it would all be over with. You see, I have hit a running wall. Ever since February, I have been a runnin’ foo. I love running. But I love other forms of exercise, too. I guess I am missing the variety and am not happy with the way running seems to have transformed my body.
After I pulled on my big-girl panties, I got dressed, grabbed some fuel and hit the road. Flint is an hour north of where I live and I still needed to register. Luckily the traffic was light at 6am and we got to the race with no problems. Or so I thought. Long story short, we parked on the farthest end possible from the registration desk. So, I had to fight the crowds for 30 min to get to the other side of the race. My stress and anxiety started going through the roof. I lost Phil and Henry at one point…it was not good.
But, I got my number, checked in, put on my shoes, ate some Gu, kissed the boys and got in line. There were a crap-ton of people running. It was nuts.
When the announcer said go, I told myself to just run. Not for time. Not for distance. Not for anything other than to do this for myself. To show myself that my training brought me to a point of finishing 10 miles. I turned on my iPod Shuffle and I was off.
The course was really nice, there were a ton of spectators that were really into it! It almost seemed like these people were there to tailgate?! Another great part? All of the water stations. The map indicated that there would be one at every mile marker, but there were WAY more than that which allowed me to not stress about when to stop.
What I didn’t like? The Bradley Hills. At mile five, just after the half-way mark, you hit an incline like no other.
I talked myself through it telling myself to keep going and cheering myself on. (Yes, I talk to myself.) My calfs were burning, but I was so pumped when I hit the top! The problem? The rest of the race consisted of rolling hills. My body was begging me to stop. Dang.
At mile seven, my legs went dead. Just solid. They were heavy as lead and refused to move. I kept going until mile 8.5 when I took a walking/water break for 30 sec. I honestly didn’t know if I could force my legs to move again. But somehow, I did. I pushed.
The final .5 mile was all downhill straight into the finish line. It was the best motivation I could have asked for. I ran as fast and hard as I cold finishing in 1:27:31. An 8:34 pace. I didn’t even know what to say. I was hoping, HOPING for 1:30. I almost started crying out of pain and pride.
I found my two favorite cheerleaders and we headed to find a place to stretch and refuel. I still can’t believe I ran 10 miles. It was the hardest, most challenging thing I have ever put my body through. For now, I will be relaxing a bit on the running front and bringing some other workouts back into my life…you know me, all about the balance!