Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blacksburg Classic Ten Miler

Yesterday was the highly anticipated Blacksburg Classic 10 Mile race!  The race wasn't until 1:00 pm so that the day could get a little warmer.  Definitely opposite from the Texas races where everything is scheduled early to avoid the heat. :) Mathis and I both slept in with hopes of getting some rest -- I haven't been sleeping well due to my cold, and Mathis has been up late working every night.

I definitely felt better, but woke up sneezing and coughing a lot.  I actually packed tissues to bring with me during the race.  Not an ideal situation by any means, but we gathered up all our stuff and headed out!

I didn't think that I had too many expectations for this race.  I signed up for it because I knew it'd help me with our half-marathon in a few weeks.  The half-marathon has been my ultimate goal for right now, and this race just fit our training schedule.  Plus it was cheap and close by!  I knew it would be a small race, but I just didn't realize how small.  It's hard to say how many runners there were.  There was also a 5K going on at the same time, but Mathis thinks there was close to 300?  I have no idea, and they haven't posted the results yet so I'm still clueless.  Keep reading to see why the race size became such an issue.

We got to the packet pickup, and I met up with my friends Sarah and Ashley.  Mathis and I got our race bibs, and some very cool long-sleeve t-shirts!  We went outside and got behind the line.  I felt good -- the sun was shining, and the temps were nice (high 40s).  Regrettably I didn't take too many pictures of the race -- I'll definitely be running with my phone again next time!

The race started, and everyone took off.  I knew that I wouldn't run the race the entire race with my friends, but I was disappointed when we split up before the first mile marker.  Because of my cold, I was worried I wouldn't have the endurance for the entire race, so I knew I couldn't start too fast.  I wanted to go slow in order to finish.  But I didn't realize just how slow I'd be.  For most of the entire race, I was in LAST PLACE!!  Ok, let's talk speed a little bit.  Most would say that an average pace is 10 minute miles.  I've always been more of an 11 minute girl, but even running at a 12 minute pace is perfectly acceptable.  Not fast by any means, but not all that rare either.

It didn't take long (mile 2-3) before I couldn't even SEE any other runners!  Seriously?!????!!!!  I was so upset!  I hate to admit that I took on a very sour attitude, and I was mad for a lot of the miles.  Mad and somewhat embarrassed.  Running has become so important to me, and I end up in dead last?  I felt like I looked like the most experienced loser.  I had the Garmin on, I was carrying my running belt and at Mile 8 I even took my first GU.  Yet I couldn't keep up with anyone else?!?!?!

I felt humiliated when I ran through the water stations alone.  I just couldn't believe there was no else out there at my pace.  I have to admit that when I crossed the place in the race where the 5K split from the 10 miler, I had serious thoughts about stopping at the 5K.

But I pressed on, and eventually at the turn around part I saw all the other runners.  Some of the fast runners looked at me and said, "Good job!".  I knew they were genuine, and I deeply appreciated this.  But my pride was still hurt.  And let's talk a little about running, shall we?  10 miles is a long distance.  I didn't bring my iPod, because I thought I'd run most of the race with my friends, and we never listen to music.  I got pretty lonely during those miles, and I had a tough time following the path without anyone ahead of me.  Plus the roads/trail wasn't blocked off from other traffic, so I had to dodge some people here and there.  Not so much fun.  There were lots of hills, and I had to walk up some of them.  Ugh.

There were plenty of water stations, and I'm so grateful for that.  50 degrees felt really hot to me after weeks of running in the low 30s.  I was so worried about overheating that I may have kept my pace a little too slow.  At mile 8 I knew I could do it.  I was so grateful to have the Garmin with me, because otherwise I might have gone a little crazy.  Without any other runners around me, I really needed a touch of reality, and the Garmin came through for me.  I knew I was going slow, but I wasn't going any slower than my training runs.  I get that this was a race, but I just wanted to finish.  I didn't have high expectations for this race -- it wasn't even chip timed!!

Close to the end of the race I passed two other women.  One was an older woman in her late 50s (oh the shame!) named Chris, and we chatted for a little while.  I was amazed to learn that she had just ran the Disney Marathon in January!  This really raised my spirits, and she told me that she has ran many marathons, but today her legs had cramped up on her.  She told me to keep on running, and so I did.  After the race, I talked to Chris for a long time.  She is such an impressive woman!!!!!  She told Mathis and I how she'd lost weight with running, survived heart problems and stayed much healthier than her friends because she runs.  She gave us some advice for Disney, and told me that I did a good job.  I confessed that I'd been sick all week, and that I felt like that had slowed me down a bit.  Chris really inspired me, and she reminded me about all the good things in running.  Meeting her was one of the redeeming qualities of this fast-paced race.

Mathis snapped a few pictures of me crossing the finish line.  I was soooooo glad to be done, and I seriously doubted how I'll ever had another 16 miles to this distance.  Or even 3 for that matter!  But we'll worry about that later!

I came in at 1 hour and 56 minutes (just under 12 minute miles).  Truth be told -- I'm proud of that time and proud of that distance.  I just couldn't believe I was so behind everyone else.  I came in third from last, and I'm just glad I didn't hold the race up for a long time.  I would have been so embarrassed if everyone else was just waiting for me to finish.

After the race I felt thirsty, but I wasn't hungry at all.  We stayed around to watch them pass out the awards and give away raffle prizes.  I told Mathis how upset I felt when I was running the race alone, and he listened emphatically (the benefits of being married to a therapist).  Mathis confessed the race was hard on him too, but he did so well coming in at 1 hour and 35 minutes!!!!  I am so proud of him!!!

Mathis began saying that he'd run next to me in future races, and I told him he wouldn't need to.  I would never ask that of him, but it was a sweet offer.  I feel confident that they'll be other runners around me in the bigger races, and now I'll just be more prepared if there aren't.

We came home from the race, showered, watched some Baylor basketball (Sic 'em Bears!) and headed out to celebrate with my friends.  We had a great dinner, and talked about how we were already feeling sore!  For this first time, I felt really sore in my abs! :)

Here we are (post-race) after dinner!  Notice that I'm wearing my race t-shirt and Baylor fleece proudly!

All in all it was a great race, and I'm proud that I did it.  Although I was close to the last, I know that there are many people who stayed at home yesterday and didn't run 10 miles.  I learned a lot through the race, and it was a great run for me.  I'm actually planning on doing another 10 miles this next weekend in order to prepare for our upcoming half.

My legs are sore today, but I plan on really stretching out and then hitting the miles again tomorrow! :)


  1. Nicki, I'm so proud of you!! After being sick this week, I completely understand how rough running must've been. Keep your chin up!! When I ran my first half-marathon, 2 marathon runners finished before me.....yeah. You are doing so great. Make a goal for this race next year(since you will have just gotten done with your first marathon like Chris)!!

  2. Great job Nicki! Don't worry about your pace right now, the speed comes later. When I started training for my marathon, and all throughout the training, I was running at a 12 min/mile pace. When I started training for the second marathon (that I never ran!) My pace was 9:30 to 10 min/mile depending on the distance. It gets easier! Remember that us slow runners have the most perseverance! Keep up the hard work!

  3. That is amazing, Nicki! You ran it and finished it, and that's what truly matters. And you did it all while feeling under the weather, which is something that might have had a huge effect on your speed and timing. Be proud!

  4. Congrats on finishing the race! That's something to truly be proud of. I enjoyed reading about your honesty during the race -- I can bet I would have felt the same way you did. The key is that you fought through the pride, learned some things about yourself, and got to meet Chris in what I might call a "divine" moment. Congrats on your next notch in your running belt.

  5. Hey, was going through your race recaps because they're fun to read... you're a Baylor Bear too? Sic 'em! :)