Life of a Runner: Myself

Hello readers! This is the week I’ve been looking forward to for a while. The Kewash 10k is on Saturday (remember, my mom and I switched from the half to the 10k)! I have no clue whether I’m ready or not, but here it comes. Hope you enjoy this week’s entry!

Monday

3 miles, 25:56 (8:39/mile)

I was still on a bit of a high from my long run yesterday, so I went out and did three today. My legs were pretty sore, but it was a comfortable soreness. Any runner should be able to tell the difference between soreness and pain. That is something you have to learn early on. Otherwise, you can go on thinking you keep getting injured or hurt, and you don’t grow at all. Alternately, if you think you’re just sore but you’re hurt, you can definitely make things worse. Then if you run long enough, I suppose you can learn to tell the difference between a comfortable soreness and an unbearable one. The unbearable soreness doesn’t happen that often, really only after really tough or long races. I’ve really only had it happen after the races where I’ve worked the hardest. At the same time, there have been some unbelievably hard races that have left me less sore than the unbearable level. Soreness is weird.

Anyway, tonight I went on my run around town. It was a nice night, and I knew I had to stretch my legs out. It felt nice. After, I did a lower body workout that was a bit harder than the ones I’ve been doing, but that is definitely not a bad thing. I am completely embracing the soreness.

Tuesday

OFF

Wednesday

OFF

Tuesday and Wednesday I’ve had meetings after school. When I got home, I was just not in the mood to run or too hungry to go. Really that was Wednesday and Tuesday for me, respectively. Wednesday I was in a really bad mood when I got home. This has slightly ruined my plans for the week. However, I did do an upper body workout Tuesday morning and a core workout Wednesday morning, so that makes me feel a bit better.

Thursday

2 miles, 16:54 (8:27/mile)

I went right after work, around the parking lot again. The track girls had a meet tonight, so I had to beware of traffic and such. That led me to do more out on the road than normal because I didn’t want to be in people’s way. I went straight home after my run and didn’t do a workout. No more workouts for the rest of the week to prepare for Saturday! I don’t want to be super sore at the race. As it gets closer, my worries about the race increase. I’m trying not to think about it.

Friday

OFF

I had planned on running tonight, but I had to go pick up our race packets (and also quickly tidy up the house) before my mom arrived at my house. I’m not too upset about it because now I’ll be fresh for tomorrow, but it does mess with my mileage plans for the week. Now I’ll end with a few miles shorter than I wanted. Big deal. Plus, my mom is here! So that’s nice.

Saturday

RACE DAY!

6.3 miles, 52:52 (8:24/mile)

It’s been a while since I’ve written a race day. Going into today, both my mom and I were nervous. But I got a good luck call this morning from Brett, who informed me that it was “Morgan running weather” with a temperature of around 47 degrees, and I was going to take today in stride, regardless of the outcome. As far as my expectations went, I based it off of my training thus far. My long runs have been either around 9 minutes or slightly under, so I wasn’t hoping for much more than that. I told my mom, if I could be under 9 minute pace, I would be happy. Sometimes a 10k seems daunting. Then you think about how people are going twice that distance. We definitely made the right choice in switching, as I would not have done well suffering through 13.1 miles.

The 5k, 10k, and half marathon all started at the same time, so the beginning was a bit crowded. I think that’s why they had us do a loop around the city of Washington to spread us out before we reached the narrow trail. My mom got us out of being boxed in right away, and I tried to follow her lead for the first bit. One of my biggest fears was going out too fast and then dying, so I really tried to control my pace. It was difficult, though, as I could feel that adrenaline and the racing mindset kicking in right away. I didn’t so much have it at the last two races, but at this one I did for sure. And what a different race it was to the last one! Once we hit the trail, I lost Mum a bit. I could still tell she was right behind me though. There was also a really peppy guy who was the 8:30 pacer for the half marathon, and he was talkative. I thought as long as I can stay ahead of him for the first half, I’ll be happy. My plan at that point was to run around 8:30 pace and then just hang on the last couple of miles. There were two girls who ran with me for a while, and we were kind of leapfrogging for a mile or so.

Then, we started seeing 10k men coming back on the trail from the turn-around point. I usually keep an eye out and count how many women are in front of me at this point. It’s just sort of habit, plus I’m curious. But I saw the turn-around sign before I saw any women, and as I turned around and the other girls — who were running the half — kept going, it finally dawned on me. I was first. People did not let me forget it either. As soon as I headed back, I had people yelling at me, “Hey! First overall female!!” Oh my gosh, it was great. I heard a guy yell at someone behind me, “Second female!” and the voice that responded said, “That’s my daughter!” So I knew Mum was right behind me, and that made me feel better, too. I could tell she was happy and probably a bit proud.

So it went, for the next mile or so, people yelling at me really nice things and cheering me on. I felt bad because I tried to respond for the most part, but I was quickly out of breath and resulted to smiling and giving a thumbs up. There were, after all, over 600 runners there. Miles 3 and 4 felt great, the best I felt the whole race actually. I think part of it had something to do with the fact that that part was on the trail, but it could just be in my head. There were these little girls working a water station on the trail that did all of these cheers for us, and when I went by they shouted, “Girl Power!!!” It was really sweet and made me smile, though one did almost kick me while doing a cheer. The fifth mile was the longest because they didn’t have a sign to mark it. I kept waiting for one to pop up, but it didn’t. It felt so incredibly long, I finally looked down at my watch — the first time all race (I was proud of myself) — and saw that I was already at 5.4 miles. So then my mental game got better! I wasn’t putting too much pressure on myself to speeding up more. Mum was behind me, and if there was one person I was okay with beating me, it’s her.

Once we were off the trail and heading back into the city, I started to really feel it. I went up a couple of hills, then turned onto a cobblestone street. As I was going down that street, I thought I was going to throw up. Seriously, I have never thrown up in or after a race before, and I was not about to start. I slowed down and tried to control my breathing. My stomach felt like it used to at the very end of a race, mostly a cross country meet. But I still had a little less than half a mile to go! I pulled myself together and just kept going. I gave an internal cheer for joy once my watch beeped to signify the 6 mile mark. At that point, I had slowed way down to what I thought was close to 9-minute pace. I turned left and then left again, and then cruised in to the finish. After I stopped my watch, I had to take a breather because I thought I was gonna hurl. To be fair, I had only eaten a package of mini muffins for breakfast. That’s not exactly a substantial meal to power a 10k. But I recovered just in time to see Mum finish, only 30 seconds behind me! That really felt great, knowing we came 1st and 2nd overall. Our race results were printed off by my old high school cross country coach, Andy Kauder. It was really nice to see him. Then my mom and I walked around for a bit, trying to recover. I ended up seeing one of my students, too, who did the 5k with her mom.

We hung out and watched some of the first half marathon finishers. I know I’m not in shape for one yet, but this race was definitely a huge confidence-booster. I felt great almost the whole time, and I was way under my goal. I mentioned to my mom about how I had planned on being close to my training speed, and she said she knew I would be way better than that. She said my racing mindset is still engrained into me and I still have that competitive fire. That is definitely not a bad thing. In the end, Mum got her medal for being first in her division, and I got a hat and a water bottle for being first overall female. Though we were both feeling pretty sore afterward, today was a huge success and I am really happy with it.

Here’s me looking happy as ever with my awards.

Sunday

2.05 miles, 17:17 (8:29/mile)

Today was a recovery day. Though I only got 13.4 miles done this week, I still see it as a big success for yesterday. My legs were kind of sore today, but I can’t wait to get out and do some more tomorrow. After my run, I took time to do a chore I really don’t like: mowing the lawn. I hate that it’s that time of year again, but it was nice to be outside for almost two hours today. I hope we get more spring-like weather soon.

As far as myself goes, I am really happy. I can feel myself getting stronger now that I’m doing running and workouts. Pretty soon, I can probably start doing actual running workouts again. And I now have some faith that I will be back in shape in no time, especially for Schuetzen this summer.

Thanks so much for reading. See you next week.

— Morgan

Teacher, Runner, Reader, and Writer. Destined for great things, I think.