Tiki Run- St. Paul, MN. July 15, 2017
15 K Mauna Kea Challenge
I registered for this race back in April after completing my first 5K since starting a training program back in January. I figured after completing a 10K in May a 15K would be my next challenge before running a half marathon in Chicago in Sept. I really looked forward to this race for the fact it seemed like a well organized, fun race, and was excited to have the opportunity to race against multiple people. I felt mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared for this race as I was increasing my mileage/times on my training runs for the last couple months. Chris’s sister Taylor was flying out of MSP back to STL on Sunday, so we loaded up with boys and drove to St. Paul Friday night. Unfortunately we got a late start on the road, much much later than I would have liked, leaving town around 4, which only put us into St. Paul around 11:30 p.m. that night after all the stops with kids and gas (its roughly a 6 hr trip to MSP/St. Paul from where we live currently). So I was not in the best of moods with the late start, knowing I was not going to get a good night sleep and having a 5:45 a.m. wake up call to race. The half marathon started at 6:30, the 10K at 7:30, and 5K at 9:15 a.m. Luckily our hotel was close to the river front where the race was taking place that Chris and I could walk and the boys slept in until 11 a.m. with Aunt Tay (YES 11 a.m. love hotel blackout blinds, ha!) Overall getting up at 5:45 a.m. I felt pretty rested, but still was nervous how my lack of sleep would effect my overall race performance. I purchased a Clif bar at the gas station Friday night, knowing that may be all I would have to eat before the race and I was right. It seemed to the purpose to hold me over until after racing energy wise, however I have not experimented with any type of supplements/energy boosts quite yet (I do plan on trying some different kinds of energy before racing the half in Sept to get me through the longer distances). On race day, the forecast was a hot one with highs reaching around 90 degrees, so racing by 9:15 a.m. was in the mid-70s which is warm for what I have been use to running in northern ND (I have been spoiled training in low 50s-60s most of the summer). I experienced all sorts of feelings before, during, and after this race. Nervousness and anxiousness were my tops ones with constant thoughts racing through my head: Did I prepare enough? What if I cannot finish the race? What happens if my times are not where I wanted them? My only goal for this race was to get a PR for my 10K and race my 5K as a training run, since I figured after running a 10K-fatigue would probably be setting in. So I did all my stretching and took 2 potty breaks just to be sure I did not need to stop (and literally on my 2nd potty break I had only a few mins to get to my corral before race time..and only had a couple dribbles of pee-ugh, let me remind you anxiousness)! But it was off to the races for the 10K- I was in the 9 min/mi corral and my overall goal was to stick with 8.30 min/mi pacers ahead of me. During this race, I felt good the first 3 miles, had a few good uphill inclines, but overall flat surfaces winding the Mississippi River. My endurance was on my side, because the last 3 miles I found to be very challenging for myself. I had to push, push, and push myself along- but felt encouraged from other runners I was passing. I did not have any idea what my pace/min per mile was, as I have not yet begun the habit of having to keep a certain pace with watch, only my mind/body pushing me and the signs along the way that told me what mile I was at. I had a guy in front of me that looked like he tripped around mile 5 with us around him stopping to ask if he was okay (and an emergency official on bike right by us taking over from there). I could only imagine how he felt and I was hoping it was not heat related, because at this point in the race I had sweat just pouring off of me and burning my eyes where I could barely keep my eyes, which probably helped my motivation to reach the finish line. Coming up on the finish line I could read the time and knew I had a new PR for my 10K! YAY, finishing in sub 53 at 52.41 min with avg 8.29 min/mi. (My Firecracker 10K a week earlier was 53.53, so more than 1 min improvement!) I was beyond happy with those results. As I tried to wipe all the sweat off my face with my shirt (which didn’t help, so basically just had to cool down and let the sweat dry) I rested up for my next 5K race which I was dreading, because of the sweat burning my eyes and knowing that this 5K would be hotter and all in the sun (no shade what so ever). But by this point, I just knew I had to give it my best shot. I put in a new piece of gum and lined up again in the 9 min/mi pace group. Even though I was tired and sweaty, I think I was still in my runners high from the 10K ran 30 min earlier. I felt rested enough that I actually seemed to keep up with the 8.30 min/mi pacers ahead of me. I could not help but think I was running this race that I was passing others on my way back, and thinking that was me not too long ago. I am competitive in the sense I like to race against myself and realize most of those runners may be only running for the fun of it or may be their first time racing as well, and all of that is amazing! Just people getting out to move and take initiative is a huge step. I am not fast by any means, but to improve from a 10-11 min/per mile 8 months ago to running a 8.30 min/mi is HUGE in my book. I was able to cross the finish line with a new PR for my 5K at 25.47 and 8.18 min/mi improving from 26.41 (another 1 min shaved!). I could not believe my times and paces, but knowing all the hard work I have put into running over these months, weeks, and days all pays off with each race. It is here where I put everything to the test and only looking forward from here. 13.1 in Chicago on Sept 24. There are no words for this race yet, but only thoughts racing through my head! Until then, I will continue what I am doing and Happy Running!