Saturday, June 11, 2011

Race Day

I've done it.  I've completed my first race ever.  It was a 5k in the Teton Dam Marathon.  It was awesome!  So here's the story....

6am:   I wake up.  The race doesn't start until 8:30am, but I'm in Idaho Falls, not Rexburg.  I've got 4 kids to get fed, dressed and buckled in and down to the starting line by 8:30, so yes, getting up at 6am was necessary. 

8:25am:  Get to the starting line just in time for instructions from someone named Mike.  To get there, I had to leave Arik and the kids back at the car while I ran to the start.  My mom found me right off and wished me luck just before we took off.  Then the counting began.  The whole crowd of 5k people start clapping and cheering and counting down from 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 ,1 Go!

8:30am:  I start running and I'm just happy to be alongside all of these great people.  Then I see the hill.  I knew there would be hills, I did my homework, but seeing that hill (Millhollow for people that know Rexburg) put a little doubt in my step.  But up I went.  Up and up and up.

I don't have a clue what time it is:  Many people around me are having to walk up the hill.  I really want to walk too, but I don't want to stop running either.  So I just keep at it.  I'm going pretty slow, slower than my usual pace, but I'm running.  A flat part of the hills comes up!  Thank you whoever made this road!

I still have no clue what time it is:  I can see the top of the hill and my lungs and legs are begging me to stop.  I just about stop to walk when Green Day's "Know Your Enemy" comes blasting through my iPod.  Thank you Green Day.  I kick it up a notch determined to get to the top of that &$*#@! hill!

Yup, no idea of the time:  What goes up, must come down. So down the hill I go.  I was really worried about this part since I thought about how badly my knees might hurt while running down a hill.  Since I had a knee injury a week or so ago, I had good reason to be concerned.  Luckily though, my knees didn't hurt at all!  I guess taking it easy and icing them helped out.
Apparently I'm not one of those "attractive runners."

Approaching the sign marked mile 2:  I'm feeling really strong.  I like how I've been able to keep my pace.  I know how important that is in a race and I'm proud of myself for sticking to a pace.  There are a few around me who take the sprint for a while and then walk approach.  By the look on their faces, they don't seem to be enjoying the race as much as others who keep a steady pace the whole time.  There are some cheerleaders along the way and I feel weirded out that some random strangers are clapping for me and whistling, but I still like it.  I see what looks like my mom's car.  Yep, it's my mom!  She honks at me and shouts cheerful words at me to keep me going.  Thanks mom!

Approaching the sign marked mile 3:  So I know I'm getting close and just like a horse who wants to get back to the ranch after a long walk, I speed up.  I don't really mean to do it, but I suddenly want to run faster.  So for the last little bit of the race, I'm practically sprinting.  I turn the corner and see a giant mass of people lining both sides of the street.  There is a huge arch at the finish line that says, of course, "Finish Line."  I'm almost there!  I feel so good I could cry.  I start to wonder how the actual marathoners feel when they get to the finish line. 

Finishing:  As I run past all those faces, I scan the crowd for Arik and the kids.  There they are, just before the finish line.  Arik has the camera and I wave and smile despite how little I like getting my picture taken.  I run past the finish line and into warm congratulations from perfect strangers shoving water bottles in my hand.  The euphoria on the other runners faces is palpable.  Everyone is high on endorphines and adrenaline.  I feel awesome!  I don't feel worn out or sick, I just feel great.  I'm immediately excited for the other races I'm running this summer. 

Last thoughts:
-  If you choose to run in a race, you won't regret it.  I promise.
-  Pacing is very important.  It's hard to kind of ignore the other runners and just run your own race, but you'll be glad you did.
-  Pin your race number onto your shirt the night before.  Perhaps I'm just especially idiotic, but this took me a while.
-  Check your time!  These kind of races, to me, are about beating yourself.  So check your time and see how well you did.  I did the race in 35 minutes and I'm pretty proud of that and the fact that I ran the whole time without stopping.  Race for personal accomplishment and it'll be a great race.
-  Tell people that you're running.  Let your family cheer you on.  It's fun to have total strangers as cheerleaders, but it's even better to see people you know and love on the sidelines beaming with pride. 
-  Commit to race again!  I'm already planning a 10k with my sister-in-law in July and I want to run the Liberty 5k on the 4th of July as well.  Next suimmer, maybe I'll shoot for a half-marathon.
-  Take pictures!  You don't want to let something like this go undocumented!
-  Enjoy the run.  Pacing yourself had a lot to do with this, but make sure to take in the sights around you and enjoy yourself. 
-  Prepare!  I did my race homework and studied the course, so I knew about the hills.  I did some training on hills to prepare, but I could have done more.  Regardless, I made it up those hills and lived to tell about it.

Well, that's my first race experience and I plan to have many more.  If anyone reading this has ever been in a race and wants to share, please do!


Jani said...

You made me so proud! I wish I had made it in time for your triumphant finish. At least I made it in time for the PA announcement: Anna Durfee, please claim your child at.... hehehehe. Love you all so much.

Kristan said...

So proud of my sister-in-law! Maybe I will join you in a race one of these times!

markandjenny said...

Wsy to go! There really is nothing better than a race. And yes..I did cry when I finished my marathon. Almost couldn't breathe I was cryin so hard! Mesa Falls is a really cool race if you are looking for another great one!

Cherri said...

That is so awesome! I am proud to know you. Keep running, and you will keep smiling.

Becky said...

That makes me want to run a 5K. Thanks for the motivation. I loved how you gave details and to train on the course before the actual race. How helpful!

Taylor'n'Ericka said...

What are you talking about--that picture was DEAD SEXY! Much better than my usual nostril-flaring, eye squinting race pictures. :) Anyway, GOOD JOB! I did that one last year, and those hills ARE hard. We should do a race together sometime.

Anna said...

I would LOVE to race with you, Ericka! Check out the races I'm plannig on my sidebar.