Wow! What a rush! I can definitely see why runners become addicted - the race environment is so fulfilling.
I went into the race worried - worried about 'what if I'm last?' 'what if I start too fast and can't finish'? 'what if everyone I know runs faster than me?'
These doubts plagued me right up until race time. Actually, into race time. I was full of 'what if's'.
I lined up at my appropriate start in the chute... right near the back, behind the last time marker 'Longer than 1h15min'. My fastest clock-in time was 1h22:50. Ironically, two of my co-workers were lined up beside me (one a walker and one a runner).
It didn't take long to change my mindset. It was apparent from the beginning that - while everyone was running the same course, everyone had their own goals. It wasn't a competitive race in the sense that you are competing against the others - only in that you compete against yourself.
It was easy to get pulled into everything and get amped up - people cheering, a DJ at the start line, chearleaders, people holding signs - it was all a lot of fun - and it also made you forget how hard you were working. The first time my phone pinged to tell me my speed, I was running at 6min30/km-- way too fast. I knew it wasn't a pace I could keep up. I focused, and slowed myself down just a hair - and the next time it pinged I was at 7min/km. Better, but my usual pace was just over 8min/km. This wasn't a pace I had ever done before, which made me nervous. The next time it pinged I was at 7min30/km. Better. I felt able to maintain this pace (even though previously I had attempted the pace and thought I was going to die ;) ).
Two amazing things happened from here. 1) I kept surprising myself by how far I'd ran. I knew the course, but was more focused on the people around me than the actual course, so when I'd look to see where we were, it was a surprise to see how far we were already each time. 2) I hit my 'sweet spot' at about 8-8.5km into the race. Seriously. In the end, I beat my best time by almost five minutes. I finished in 1h18:07.
That brings me to my next decisions. I want to do a half marathon. And I want to do it before I start having kids.
I've decided I'd like to try to do the following:
- Try a Tri (triathlon) - beginning of May, 2013
- 10K - end of May, 2013
- Half Marathon - September, 2013
... I can't wait.