I ran a 30k on Saturday morning. Yeah. I did. 18.6 miles. Was I prepared? Ha! No. But for some reason I figured since I ran 16 miles last Saturday, and almost 19 the weekend before, 18.6 would be easy. It wasn’t. But I did it.
I found myself excited, like with butterflies in my stomach, the night before. I do so very much love to run long – I usually get the butterflies before I run 20 miles or more – but other than the marathons I’ve run, any mileage that high is not in a “race” format. This was different. Still I was excited.
I got plenty of sleep, got up with enough time not to have to rush, ate oatmeal for breakfast and did all my nervous tinkling before I left my house. The park the race was held in is about a 15 minute drive at 6 in the morning, which was very nice and convenient. I got to the event at 6:25. It was scheduled to start at 7.
I stood in line with the rest of the crazies runners to get my bib. The event was paired with a 10k, but the 10k didn’t start until 11. I really liked that. Then I found out that the 30k didn’t sell out so they opened up 50 more spots for the 10k to start at 7, with the 30k’ers – so it seemed like a lot of people for a small event. In actuality there were only 46 people running the 30k.
The course was an out and back – 6.2 miles each time. Lap 1, 10k, Lap 2, 20k, Lap 3, 30k. Simple. It was not raining, but it was really cold. We’ve been having a bit of kinda/sorta nice weather so I was hopeful it would warm up a little – so hopeful, in fact, that I didn’t wear my gloves. That was a mistake. It didn’t warm up so my hands were freezing the whole time.
We were off at 7 and the sky was light. I’ve run at Champoeg in January when it doesn’t get light until 8ish, so I was really happy it was light at 7, since I didn’t bring my handy headlamp. The first 10k was nice. I’d even go so far as to say it was easy. It’s absolutely beautiful out there. I marveled at the beauty and told myself on my third and final lap I would stop and take a few pictures.
When I came in from the first lap and headed back out for the second my attitude started to change a little. Not drastically, but it settled on me how far I still had to go and how unprepared I was for it. But, you know, that’s what I love most about running. Pushing through, even if it hurts, to see the end. I don’t always see the end, (Vernonia Marathon 2012, is a prime example) but you have to give it your all and assume you’ll see the end, right?
Because it was an out and back the people in front of you (let’s just go ahead and call them what they are . . . the elite runners . . . [and for the record, Jon and Liana, you’re both in this category in my mind]) pass you when they are on their way back. I was really pleased that I didn’t start seeing the elite runners until I was about a quarter of a mile from the turn around. I know how fast those people run, and I know how fast I don’t run, so I expected it to be a sooner meet up. It wasn’t, and that made me happy . . . of course I was officially lapped by the dude in front right before I hit the turn around on my second lap – and then it was all over – they ALL lapped me.
Being lapped doesn’t bother me because I’m in the run for me. I run because I love it, not because I need to beat someone else. If I finish, no matter what time I finish, I’m a happy human being. I am in awe, however, of people who run fast.
When I came in from my second lap and had to go back out my mental stamina kinda bit it. The idea of going back out yet again for another 6 miles just didn’t sit well with me. So many people appeared to be done already and I’m pretty sure I did a little pouting (and reminded myself why I don’t like out and backs and/or loops) – but I went back out all the same. By the third lap I was running much slower and I was walking at least a little after every mile. This was also the lap I had allowed for taking pictures.
Here is a picture of the bridge I had to cross six times. Three times going one way and three times going the other way. I love this bridge. I told myself when I crossed it the first time “only 5 more trips over this bridge” – I was practically giddy a couple hours later when I realized I was crossing it for the final time!
This is a picture of the trail further down beyond the bridge – there are worst places to run, that’s for sure and because it was such a small event, and I’m not an elite runner, running with the pack, I felt like I was out for my solo run a lot of the time.
Here is a picture of the river that runs through the park – I didn’t take it from the best location, but that’s all I got – you can kind of see it through the trees.
When I was coming back, in my final two miles I was able to see all the people coming into the park to run the 10k. A happiness that I can’t describe fell upon me. I was almost done and while they weren’t getting ready to run 18.6 miles, they were just starting and I was so happy not to be just starting!
I came off the trail and headed up the final little hill. A friend (who is training for the Boston Marathon and finished an hour and 15 minutes ahead of me) cheered my name! This is a picture her husband took. I was approximately .1 miles from the finish line . . . of course you probably could have figured that out by the smile on my face, huh?
When I walked to my car a man and woman who had been out on the trail training, not a part of the race, were walking to their car. The man looked at me, smiled and said “was that the smartest thing you could have done this morning?” In that instance, the love I have for running filled my heart. “Without a doubt that is the smartest thing I did this morning!” They both laughed and nodded in agreement.
Hard as it may be, sometimes, because it isn’t always hard, I do love it. With my whole and healthy heart!