My first 10mile race

The journey of 10 miles began with a single step...

I ran my first 10 mile race yesterday (Sun 12/19/2010).  My official time was 2:07:36 – I came in 79th out of 82 men.  My first 2 miles were 22:56 – which would have landed me the 2nd place metal in the 2 mile race!!!!  Talk about frustration!  Not that I’m into racing for metals – if that were the case, I would quit because I’m too slow to win metals, but it would be a nice thing to have!

The race was a lot of fun.  Most of the track was a packed dirt equestrian trail and we did see several horse riders during the run.  I was jamming to my usual playlist – a mixed bag of top pop culture hits and some old favorites of my own.

The first mile was like most races I’ve been in – everyone is in a hurry to cross the starting line and the ‘race’ to spread out begins.  I try to stay in the back so I don’t get in too many people’s way during that process, but I always end up running the first mile faster than I can pace with due to the excitement.

The second and third miles were mostly of me getting passed by other runners.  My legs begin to warm up and I can usually tell how long it took me to find my pace, based on the intensity of my left knee pain.  Mile 3 was actually my slowest time at 13:34.

Miles four through seven were mostly just one foot in front of the other.  I was pacing well (about a 12:20 mile) – far below my goal of “under 13 min/mile”.  I was still getting passed by a few people; mostly ‘run/walkers’ that started in the back and are just now passing me during a run – but I would later pass while they walked.  Most of this stretch of the race, I was on the runner’s high – I really enjoyed this part of the run.

Around mile eight, I started to feel exhausted.  My legs were heavy and my runners high was all but gone.  My last two miles were 13:16 and 13:29 respectively.  Both times better than a month ago when I struggled to run two miles in a row with 15 min / mile times.  Still, I would have liked to kept all of my mile times under 13mins.

One part of the race was a bit unexpected.  Between mile 5 and mile 6, the leaders of the race were on their way back – so I’m starting to see on coming traffic; that’s when something strange started happening – everyone on their way back would look at me – flash me a huge smile, and several would follow up with a thumbs up.  It was happening from every body.  I started wondering if they were just not used to seeing a heavy 275lb man on a 10 mile run, and wanted to encourage my healthy behavior.

Then I realized what was actually going on.  They weren’t smiling at me – they were RETURNING my smile at them.  I had this huge goofy ear to ear smile on my face.  I felt… ALIVE!  I was RUNNING – my legs felt great, my head was high, and I felt like I was LIVING!  At some time during those amazing moments, the song Forever, by Chris Brown was playing on my phone.  I couldn’t help but wear that big goofy cheesy smile during the lyrics –

It’s like I’ve waited my whole life, for this one night… All you gotta do is watch me, look what I can do with my feet!

The way I was feeling at that moment – wow, I couldn’t have put it better!

On the biggest loser this season, one of the contestants said “I can’t believe I did this to myself”.  Talk about an epiphany – I did this (over eat, over weight, over indulge) to myself – but now I’m running 10 mile races instead.  I may be the third from the last guy to finish – but that still puts me ahead of everyone that is still sitting on their couch watching TV!  Pictures after the break…

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