Today is the big day-my first 8k race. I’m not feeling my best. To say I’m tired would be a huge understatement. In the past week I have driven over 1000 miles. I haven’t hydrated properly and I’m ashamed to admit what I’ve eaten in the past 48 hours. Emotionally, I am completely somewhere else.
At 7:15, I joined my sole sisters for our pre-race group photo. I barely cracked a smile as the various photographers gave us the countdowns and tell us to squeeze in. I didn’t even take my headphones out. I was listening to meditation music in the hopes that the soothing sounds would allow my mind to join my body and participate in the race. One of the girls actually commented about my headphones, as I only wear them when I’m running alone. I told her I needed the music this morning to get my mind right. Thankfully, the music worked. I felt much better by the time I needed to take my extra clothing and headphones to the car.
As i stood in line for the last trip to the bathroom, the girl in front of me was bouncing around hoping the girl in front of her would hurry. They were singing the national anthem and she had mere minutes before the start of her race. I don’t think she was in line when the gun went off. But, I had twenty more minutes before I needed to be at the start line, so I was good.
My crew and I made our way to the start line. I said my silent race prayer and reiterated to myself my goals for this race; 1. run the entire race and 2. finish in less than an hour. The course was pretty nice. The inclines weren’t too bad (nothing compared to what I heard the half marathoners had to contend with). I made it to the first water station and slowed down to just above a walk. I don’t know why I even got water, as my fuel belt was stocked. Perhaps it was the enthusiastic looking faces of the child volunteers who looked as if they really hoped I would come get water or gatorade.
This race was a little different than others I’ve run in the past. The crowd support wasn’t really there. I assumed that most people were on the other part of the course cheering on the half marathoners.
Nearing mile 4, a police car came up on my left. I thought this was a bit strange until i realized the car was escorting the first place runner of the half. I was in awe at the fact that he was that close to being finished with 13.1 miles and i hadn’t even finished five. The girl running beside me expressed my sentiments as she exclaimed; “You’ve got to be kidding me! He’s done with a whole half marathon…..already!”
I must admit that my favorite part of the race came near the end. When I turned on what I knew was the last street, I could see the finish line and hear the sounds of the North Carolina A&T Marching Band. I kept counting down the blocks. “Just three more, just two more, you’re in the home stretch.” I told myself. As I got closer and the band was louder, I wanted to dance across that finish line. The last time I heard from my phone was fifty three minutes so I knew I had to turn it up to meet my goal. I got an extra burst of energy to put it in high gear across that line. I could see the clock that read fifty seven minutes. I had accomplished both of my goals. 1. run the whole thing and 2. my official race time was 57:32.
I highly recommend this race if you’re a fan of the 8k. I liked the course and it was nice to get the extra bonus of race bling. Next race report…..Diva half marathon.