Saturday, June 28, 2014

The 10k That Wasn't


Today was not a good day for me.

This morning was supposed to be my first 10k. I was nervous, but excited. Although I've never done a 10k race, I do occasionally run the 10k distance during my regular runs, so I wasn't too worried about finishing. I was mostly worried about whether or not I would have to walk part of the race, and whether or not I would be the last runner to cross the finish line. I think most runners, especially new runners like myself, worry about being last.

I woke up early, had breakfast, got dressed, pinned on my number and went to catch the bus.

The forecast called for hot, humid, and rainy weather. The weather people were wrong about the rain - it was sunny and beautiful. They did, however, get the hot and humid part right. I was already sweating and had the start of a headache when I lined up with the other 10k runners.

Before the race - happy and feeling ready.
Those running the 5k were stationed behind us, as they would be starting their race about 10 minutes after the 10k started. Both races would initially start on the same route, then there would be a split with the 10k runners heading to the right and the 5k runners heading to the left.

The race started, everyone moved forward, and we were running. As usual, I positioned myself at the back of the pack because I know I'm a slow runner. Things were great for about 5 minutes. Then everything turned terrible. By mile one, I was already out of breath and had a stitch in my side. By mile two, I had a splitting headache and felt incredibly nauseous. I was already walking, because running caused a sharp crack of pain in my head with every step.

Suddenly, I was at the split point. If I wanted to run the race I had signed up for, then I needed to turn to the right and follow the other 10k runners. A fresh wave of nausea hit, and I made a sudden and desperate decision and turned to the left to finish the 5k course. I made it across the finish line, having run a 5k instead of a 10k, and with my worst ever time for a 5k to really rub salt in my wounds.  I grabbed a bottle of water and quickly walked to a fairly empty area where I threw up.

Good times!

Not really. I felt terrible. Both physically and emotionally. I felt like a giant failure. I only ran half the distance I had planned to run, I felt sick, and I'm pretty sure that several folks recognized and ridiculed my failure.

After the race - disappointed and feeling sick.
But you know what? I'm still going to go for a run tomorrow. Now that I've had the rest of the day to think about it, I think I made the right decision to abandon the 10k and finish the 5k instead. I still view it as a failure on my part, but based on how ill I was after the 5k (it has seriously taken me almost the entire day to recover), I don't think I would have been able to finish the 10k. It may have been a giant blow to my ego to run the 5k instead of the 10k, but I'm happy that I didn't have to be taken to the hospital. And even though I didn't finish the full 10k, I'm glad I tried.

Not every race goes as planned. And not every run goes as planned.

Hopefully tomorrow's run will be better.

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