Sure, the photo above isn’t the most flattering one, especially with the ambient humidity, but it’s proof that I finished this year’s Cap10K because I look sweaty, worn out, and just ready to sit down. It’s been a rough running year for me for a variety of reasons. I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in February, and I took off about six weeks because I was so frightened that my left foot would become so painful I could barely walk. I haven’t run more than four miles since I started up again due to protecting my feet and tweaking the dog walk schedules since I’m down to only three pups. I also started a new job at the end of March, and since I’m in a warehouse I’m on my feet almost all day. We also had mandatory overtime the last two Saturdays including the one before the Cap10K, so I wasn’t sure how painful my legs and feet were going to be on race day.
The morning didn’t start well; I’d forgotten to set my alarm clock, so I overslept by about 15 minutes. Fortunately, I was in one of the “slow” starting corrals, so I didn’t have to be at the start line until 8:30. After six days of Mom leaving early and not getting back for several hours the dogs were not impressed with my trying to leave the house without them, especially since I was clearly wearing dog walking clothes. Patience even tried to bolt the door because she was sure I wanted to take her on a run (hint: I didn’t), but a stern “WAIT” stopped her in her tracks.
I made it downtown and to my starting corral with plenty of time although there was a brief near mishap with a portable toilet (yes, I sucked it up this year). I was armed with a fuel belt holding twenty ounces of Gatorade, a bag over my shoulders to carry my keys and other sundries, and my iPod for music and tracking distance since my internal measurement system is badly broken. The race announcers seemed thrilled that it wasn’t raining, but I would rather have dealt with a downpour than the mist and relentless humidity. My glasses fogged up several times during the race, and it was misting hard enough at the end line festival that I could barely see.
I learned from my experiences last year to not go out fast at the beginning of the race, so I paced off an older lady with a pink top and jacket. Unfortunately, she started walking before we got down Congress, so I just kept a low key pace and saved my energy for the grueling hills as the course heads towards Mopac. I still felt pretty fresh when I got to the hills, and my biggest problem was just getting around people who stopped to walk! However, I could tell I was going more slowly than I had the previous year when I saw the time clocks. Since my goal was to run the entire 10K and not stop to walk at all I just needed to store some of my energy to make it all the way to the finish. With my handy fuel belt I didn’t have to stop at the water stations, but I did use them as guides for when I might want a sip of my Gatorade. By the 5K mark I was getting a little worried because I was nearly the distances I had been running since my foot troubles, but I just put one foot in front of the other and forged ahead. It seemed like the flat stretch near Austin High School lasted forever (I kept checking my Nike+ running app to see how close I was the last kilometer, and only a few meters had passed every time), but it was nice to be concerned about holding on to my energy for a flat area rather than wondering if the hills would kill me. When I hit the 6 mile marker I frantically began trying to get around other runners, so I could push myself the last .2 miles to the finish line. My legs felt tired and wobbly after six miles, but I had enough left for a speed burst. My elbow got a little tangled with another runner as we crossed the official timer thing in the road, but we were both just pleased we had completed the run.
Unfortunately, the results weren’t available for the later runners when I checked on site, but I ran into a high school classmate when I wandered the after festival. We chatted a bit, which was a lot of fun although also odd since we hadn’t seen each other since we were teens.
I got home to the dogs around 11 and promptly checked my official race time online. This year I completed the race in 1:07:05, which is about five minutes slower than last year, but I ran the entire way and beat my fear of running with PF. Now I just need to try the 10K at the Stars and Stripes event in May if they actually have it set up!