Light at the end of the tunnel? Cleveland 10K recap

18 05 2014

10,000 plus crowded Superior Ave for the combined start of the 2014 Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K at 7 am, awaiting the new course route and the ability to warm up by moving.

And Go!!

And Go!!

As I was in corral area F due to my predicted finish time, it was about ten minutes before I crossed the official start line. Even then, the street was so crowded it was hard to actually run. I had spent a great deal of time formulating a brand new playlist just for this race. I was hoping for a time goal, and wanted to be able to use a few key songs at the end to trigger me to kick it up a notch. I burned out my other lists as we used them as part of our rotation during the epic road trip in April. I utilized a few key friends to add songs to my list and iTunes to make it happen. Somehow, just as happened last year it shuffled on me. It worked out just fine other than my “power song” not even ever coming up on the shuffle.

Crossing the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge is an amazing experience, but at mile 2 when you are fresh and still in a huge pack of runners made it even more breathtaking than last years 11 mile crossing. The end of the bridge would separate the routes of the 10k and the longer distances, and they did a good job marking that. The sun on the bridge warmed my feet, finally. It was nice to have toes again.

After much wardrobe discussion I had settled on capris, short sleeves and heavy arm warmers. I really wanted to wear long sleeves but M talked me out of it. I’m still not sure what the right call was. But I survived, ok I did more than survived.

After mile two I realized I was actually doing as M had predicted.

“Rule 1. You are always faster on race day. ”

The thing is, I don’t race much. I go to races to have fun and be with friends. I’m never going to win, or even place in my age group. So why not chill with my peeps? I rarely get friend time, so I like to maximize. I’m a nurse and a mom, multi-tasking is my life.

Running a race on my own is kind of new to me. My availability to even race is a challenge as well. And then, why pay if I can run alone for free?

The Cleveland Half was so amazing last year, running streets that are always full of cars. Seeing the sights from a totally different perspective on foot. I think that’s what sucked me in when I realized the stars could align for me to squeeze the 10k in this year. That and the promise of a medal. Who doesn’t love a medal?

The requisite bling shot

The requisite bling shot

Saturdays demand for play list songs was a rousing success. My friends added some songs I hadn’t ever heard all the way through, but I listened to the preview on iTunes and determined it was worth the risk. Knowing a friend had selected that sing for me really helped push me, even if I couldn’t sing along. I will admit, there was singing and dancing again this year, mostly as I was feeling full of life on the bridge. The Best Day of My Life and Timber both had people around me joining in a bit. I may have even “stretched my arms out to the sky.”

My goal was to stick to approximately 12 minute miles. I realized at mile two that I was doing better than that. And I was feeling great. The new playlist pushing me forward, I went right by the water stops. I had chosen to bring my small hand held knowing it would be sufficient for the full distance, why mess with cups when I could sip?

I knew I was going significantly faster than my overall goal, and it started to hurt a bit. I tried to stretch my stride a little which seemed to help. Once we hit the shoreway the spectators really became few and far between. I noticed a young girl and two adults sitting on the highway divider. She had a drum and was looking at the crowd intensely. I waved like a goof and she lit up and banged her drum. The adults with her cheered and clapped then too. At about mile five and a half my breathing got a bit tight, a fine time for spring to finally hit Cleveland, huh? A woman near me touched my arm as we ran, and calmly said “you’ve got this, deep breaths, in your nose, out your mouth, and again.” It sounds simple, but that focused attention was exactly what I needed then. I thanked her and picked up pace. If I was going to beat my rainbow and unicorn goal, I might as well crush it.

I wove through the field, still quite full of runners, as best I could. I did my best to leave it all on the course, I didn’t have much left, but I used it. The finish line was a bit anti-climactic. Last year I knew J would have finished ahead of me and she was yelling to me as I crossed, this year, yeah, nothing. I got my medal (yay, bling!) , banana a tangerine carrot ice pop (really?, yes really. It was ok). I took a space blanket as I was already shivering and had a ways to get back to my car. I found a text from M that likely hit as I approached the finish line, and texted The Man that I was done. I stopped and grabbed a cool free water bottle and took a quick selfie with the FREE stamp, because why not?

I also went and checked out the new chandelier over Euclid Ave. It’s pretty. Then I found my car.

Cleveland got new bling recently too!

Cleveland got new bling recently too!

Once I got to the kid hand off point and waited for The Man to arrive I realized that I had really done it.

I dragged myself out of bed at 4:45.
I parked, figured it all out on my own.
I ran the race alone, friends only with me in playlist and spirit.
I pushed myself beyond my expectations.

Later, as I drove to the grocery store, Best Day of My Life came on the radio. As The Kid belted it out I became a bit verklempt. I may have even held back a few tears of pride. I think that was the flicker of the light at the end of the tunnel of my half training.

The work is done. I just need to keep it together for two more weeks. Eat decently, get a few runs in and then enjoy the ride.


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