There is definitely such a thing as a Runners High because I am on it. I have been in the biggest running funk the past few weeks. It just did not feel good, I felt like crying after every run and I was getting really discouraged. I was actually really nervous for this race—more nervous than I had been for a really long time. I was just so scared that I wouldn’t be able to do it–that I would have to quit and get a ride back on one of those little motor scooters or that I would have to walk the whole thing or I would just feel miserable like I had been.

Luckily though, it went great 🙂

So I had a warmup on the schedule and then the 10k. Well, turns out there was a 5k that went on right before the 10k and I just decided to use that as my warm-up. This was really fun and a great experience. First of all, it was a mental challenge to FORCE myself to slow way down during a race—hopefully this will help me in the future since I always, always, always go out too fast and then burn out. I just went super easy…10:00-12:00 min/mi and made sure to keep my heart rate in the low-mid 150s. It was really fun to chat with people and encourage other runners. I made friends with a guy who was running his very first race and had never ran more than a mile without stopping and he made it the whole entire race without walking! It made me so proud and I’d like to think that my constant chatter helped him along and not think about how much it hurt.

I finished the 5k in like 33:00 minutes or so and felt nice and warmed up and ready to RACE. I stretched a bit, ate a vanilla bean gu (which was DELICIOUS and tasted like vanilla frosting which is my favorite food ever) and then lined up. This was a very relaxed race—no timing chips or anything, just an “on your marks, get set, GO” and everyone was off.

Now, let me just say that this was a tough race just based on the course. It was an out-and-back that I kid you not, was uphill both ways. I know that is not physically possible but believe me it happened. I’m not the only one that said that either! Going out it was like climbing a mountain and I was so excited to run back and just cruise downhill but that just never happened! It was really tough. Also, this was on a dirt path which I hate running on. I know that concrete is bad for your knees but I like that so much better—I just feel like I slide around on dirt. Also it was raining so it got muddy and I almost slipped a few times! Finally, since it was an out-back on a dirt trail there were ZERO spectators along the course. I really love the boost that comes from people cheering, holding signs, etc. and there was none of that so I just had to self-motivate.

Overall it wasn’t too bad…I ran the whole thing besides walking through the water stations and finished strong. I ended in 58:50 (9:30min/mi) which is not too shabby all things considering! It was 3 whole minutes faster than last year which is a big improvement. And most importantly I had fun and finished with a smile!

Me and my Dad 🙂

I train to race. I don’t race to win but I race to challenge myself and have fun. I’m jealous of the people who just run for fun. Honestly, running is usually not that fun. I mean, it feels really great when it’s over but it usually hurts and is hard and sucks. If I didn’t love racing so much I would definitely not run as much as I do. Maybe I would on a perfect weather day, on a nice flat course, which someone handing me water when I need it, but I definitely wouldn’t be out braving the snow/rain/wind/heat/humidity day after day, getting up at 5am just for “fun”. When I don’t have something to train for it just is way to easy to sleep in, stay warm and dry, or maybe just go out for a quick little stroll. But that’s not the case. I train, HARD. I pay my blood, sweat, and tears over and over because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. All those hard runs, and early mornings, and stomach cramps, and leg cramps, and disgusting gels, and sweaty clothes, and callouses on my feet, and hours spent at physical therapy, they all pay off on race day. Standing at the start, nervous, but knowing that you put in so much work for this and now it’s time to just go and, do the best you can, and enjoy it, is a great feeling. And crossing that finish line is the best feeling ever. Because it’s not just the 3, 6, 9, 13 etc miles that you just victoriously finished, but its the months of training and all the pain associated with it that were so, so worth it.

Ok, so now things get real. My traithlon is less than 2 months away (ahh! I can’t even think about that….too nervous and excited) and the Pittsburgh Half Marathon is in 2 weeks! Yikes—big things coming up, I can’t wait!