I don’t even know where to start with the recap of this race. I have so many thoughts and emotions that are going into this post, I hope I don’t get off track. If I do, bear with me, this was such a great race that I’m still riding that runners high from it. I don’t know when that high is going to crash for me but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.
Let’s start with the night before the race. Friday I spent most of my day stretching, doing yoga, as many hip exercises as possible, and I hydrated like crazy. nuun is by far my favorite product to use for hydration. I usually have one tablet the morning of any race but with this being a 10k, I decided to have two tablets throughout the day on Friday and I had one of the Energy tables Saturday morning. I made sure that I was eating a high amount of proteins and carbs throughout the day on Friday as well. I headed to bed early and placed a bottle of water next to the bed so that I could hydrate as I got up throughout the night with the baby.
My nerves got the best of me throughout the night. It took me a solid hour and a half to fall asleep because I kept going over my race plan in my head. I kept checking things off my list mentally. “Don’t forget your water, Don’t forget your pre-race snack” I kept thinking to myself over and over again. Finally I told my brain it was time to shut down. If i wanted to do my best, I needed to get some rest. Once I allowed myself to accept that sleep is just as much a part of my training as running is, I fell asleep. The baby woke up around 1 am and my brain clicked right back on. I didn’t fall back asleep till around 3 and I had my alarm set to go off at 4:45 am.
I got up and went through my normal routine. I got dressed, stretched, ate my bagel with peanut butter, drank my nuun water, foam rolled with my Trigger Point foam roller, used my addaday stick, and then began the drive to meet Christi & Joe. I took with me a diet coke for my caffeine burst and a square bar, the perfect pre-race fuel. It has just the right amount of carbs + protein and it tasted DELICIOUS. I’ve found that square bars sit great on my stomach too. Too often with pre-race fuel, it makes my tummy have indigestion problems or it’s too sweet, causing my stomach to hurt all race. The square bars come in a bunch of different flavors but my favorites arethe cherry & the chocolate.
Tom dropped us off with enough distance for a nice pre-race walk. This is one of the largest 10k’s in the country with around 30,000 people which makes traffic messy! I took with me a cheap umbrella and an old hoodie that I could toss before the start. I got to my corral (the 45-50 minute group) and hung out in hopes the rain would stop drizzling. Once it did, I ditched the umbrella and went for a 1.5 mile warm up. It was pretty cool because I was warming up near all the elites. I got to watch some of the fastest runners warm up together. I saw a couple of them sporting their Boston marathon jackets too. I was a little star struck.
Once my warm up was over, I headed back with about 10 minutes left to spare. I took a potty break and got myself mentally ready. For some reason I thought that even the elite/competitive corrals all started in waves. So, naturally I expected to start about 8:09 am. NOPE. Big fat NOPE. at 8:00 am our group started running and it caught me off guard. I never got a chance to start the tracker for people to be able to track me live during the race. I had to switch to go mode in my mind almost immediately. Thankfully this race is amazing, with so many spectators, runners, helicopters etc that it didn’t take much for me to look down at my watch and see I was cruising at a 6:45 pace. (SLOW DOWN MICHELLE) It’s unbelievably hard to start out slow in this race, the adrenaline really gets you going.
Miles 1 & 2 were through Mount Pleasant. The rain was gone, the sun was shining, my music was on point thanks to a great playlist of suggestions from facebook! I was cruising and enjoying the views of shemcreek and the helicopters flying overhead. My first mile clocked in at 7:05 and mile two was 7:16. This was right before I had to climb the bridge and I knew that those paces were not sustainable for myself ( or so I though at this point) I was just really hoping that the extra seconds I banked here, I could use with how slow I was about to go up the bridge.
I kept reminding myself that the uphill battle is only 3/4 of a mile and that I needed to leave it all on the bridge. Once I hit the top I can cruise downhill to regain my breathing and composure but I knew I would regret it if I let myself slack off on the uphill climb. I used my music, the people running around me, and the bands that were playing on the bridge to keep myself focused. I stared at the top of the bridge and just kept saying that was as far as I needed to go. I clocked in mile 3 at 7:46 which was still under my goal pace. I really expected mile 3 to be over my goal pace (7:47). So now in my head I was thinking, “You can absolutely PR this. Miles 1 and 2 were so far under goal pace, and the tough part was at goal pace. You got this Michelle”
Mile 4 was the downhill of the bridge. I let my feet do all the work and I let myself cruise down it as much as possible. At the bottom of the bridge there are people with donuts for free, tempting you to stop. I took a deep breath and smelled the delicious donuts but kept on trucking along. Mile 4, of course my fastest since it was all downhill, was a 6:50.
So now I’m calculating in my head “okay as long as the last two miles are under an 8 minute mile pace, you’ll PR” I love math, so this was actually fun for me. I expected to hit a wall. I expected to pay back for the extra seconds I gained in the beginning by starting out way faster than I expected myself to. I was waiting for the dead leg feeling to kick in. but to my surprise, it never did. I felt great the entire race. Miles 5 & 6 are through downtown Charleston. There were great crowds out there, I ran by my best friend Tom who was out there cheering us on, my music was still keeping me going, and my legs felt amazing. I decided at that moment that I would just keep going as long as I could at that pace.
Mile 5 was a 7:05, the same pace I started the race at. Mentally I just went to cloud 9. I knew I was going to PR, I knew I was going to do a sub 48…now I started doing more math. What was the last mile going to take and what could I finish in. At this point I was just cruising along on the runners high, smiling at all the spectators. I made a few turns and saw the finish line ahead. I looked up at the clock. Mind you, I didn’t cross the starting line right at 8:00 am, so I knew that the finishers clock was a little off for me but when I saw it, I knew if I dug really deep and sprinted, I could make 45 minutes. I gritted my teeth (quite literally as you can see in the picture) and booked it as fast as I could to the finish line.
This is a goal that never even registered on any spectrum going into this race. My final mile was a 7:13 and I finished in 45:00 on the dot.
HOLY ********************************************** There were a lot of words going through my head at the finish line. My immediate reaction was just to call Tony and tell him what I did. I was so freaking proud of myself and I was so sad he couldn’t share that moment with me. The threat of thunderstorms kept him home with the girls. I’m still in shock over this race and hitting 45 minutes has changed all my goals for the rest of the year. I’m so proud of where I’ve come since having Valerie 5 months ago and I can’t wait to see what more I can do. Next 10k is going to be the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta in July. Here goes 44:xx.
After I was done with the race, I walked around and grabbed a ton of swag. Hats, sunglasses, bananas, muffins, etc I grabbed a donut from Krispy Kreme, a pork slider, and some water. lots and lots of water. After that I headed over to the Charleston Running Club tent for our breakfast. They had shrimp & grits, eggs, bacon, yogurt, and mini muffins. Of course I found Reyna who also PR’ed. I’m positive we are each others good luck charms. Whenever we race together, we both PR. Congrats girl!
Once I finished up breakfast I had notifications on my phone that Joe was done racing. I met up with him and we waited for Christi to finish the race as well. We all joined together with Tom and we headed to Mellow Mushroom to celebrate. I treated myself with a pizza and a few beers before heading back home.
I’m absolutely in love with this race. It’s often a bucket list race for people and I’m so blessed to live in this city and can run it every year. Next year I hope to be up into the next competitive (40-45 min) group. Some might think that a race with 30,000 other people would be crazy but they organize it so well. It really goes off without any problems and it’s just so much fun. I’ll do it every year that I possibly can.