Last Saturday was my final race of this running season, the Brewers Mini-Marathon and 10k. Thank heavens I chose correctly for once and did the 10k, because there’s no way I could have done another half marathon.
It started and ended at Miller Park, and the course was surprisingly much harder than I anticipated. Since when does Milwaukee, and specifically the Miller Valley, have hills? There were spots where I honestly thought I was going to have to walk or just give up the race all together.
But I pushed on, just slowing down when I felt the urge to stop. I refused to look at either the mile marker signs or my watch, because I didn’t want to know how much misery I had left. Somewhere in the last mile I actually grabbed a cup at the water station to rinse out my mouth, and of course it was Gatorade, not water. Talk about a terrible surprise! I about choked on it, which only added to the full-body pain I was feeling by that time.
I have no idea why that run was so hard, either. 6.2 miles is not a long distance for me anymore, especially after the 12-mile training runs I had to do earlier this spring. I don’t know if it’s the additional 4 miles I walk daily taking Della to and from school now or what. But from somewhere in the very first mile until the end, every single step was a nightmare.
The only time my spirits lifted was when we ran around the warning track inside the stadium. There were 2 reasons for this – I saw friends cheering for me who I had no idea were going to be in there (in all fairness they were there cheering for someone else, but they rooted me on as i ran by. still felt good to hear my name, though), and I knew those ending flags were almost in sight.
After practically limping across the finish line, I finally checked my watch. And I about fainted.
From shock, not pain.
49:33! (my official time ended up being 49:32)
I absolutely could not believe it. I had kind of a tiered goal time going into this race – I definitely wanted to break 54:00, which would be roughly 9:00/mile pace; I really, really wanted to break 52:00; and in my deepest heart of hearts I would be ecstatic to break 50:00.
So to see 49-anything as my finishing time just blew me away. I killed it.
I was so happy! And I was done! And I needed to get some water immediately before I died! And I needed to keep walking so my distressed legs didn’t completely cramp up on me and render me a giant heap in the finishers’ chute! And I needed to get to the beer tent!
I ran this race with a group of friends, and that part was so much fun. Actually having others to watch for, cheer on, and meet up with was a blast. All the racers got a couple free Miller Lites afterwards, and I said that beer has never tasted so good.
Thankfully I was smart enough to bring a full change of clothes this time, so I was able to enjoy my beverages relatively sweat free. The forecast that morning had called for rain and thunderstorms, so I was anticipating being totally drenched with water, not just sweat. Either way, the spare clothes I had in my gear bag added to my post-race glee.
So, my friends, my D&L stroller training team paid off in spades this summer. I was beyond thrilled with all 3 of my race times, and all for varying distances, too, which was a first for me – a 23:00 5k, a 1:57 half marathon, and a 49:00 10k. Success!
Now I can just kick back and run for pure enjoyment and exercise. I took this whole week off from running, and it felt wonderful. Like I said, I walk so much now to school and back twice, I almost feel like that’s enough. But I should definitely get a little more pavement pounding in before the frigid air traps me inside this winter. At least I can just stick to my preferred 5k route now, not worrying about getting any specific distances in.
And here is what it looks like to happily close out a very productive running season: