Over the weekend, I ran the Reuel Little Classic 10K in Madill, OK (population 3,500, most of whom seem to be somehow related to Rita’s husband). This was my last tune-up race before my half marathon. It was also, apparently, the race in which I exorcised all the running demons.
Which is just another way of saying it could have gone better.
Rita and her sister-in-law ran the 5K; Rita ran every step of the way (hooray!), while Amy threw up near the finish (boo). I did not throw up, although I thought about it at one point. Quite seriously.
The course was uphill, both ways, into a brutal headwind (I’m not exaggerating; you can ask Rita). I missed the turnaround at the 5K mark and ran an extra nearly three quarters of a mile. Why did I miss the turn, you ask? Because I was busy counting how many women were ahead of me. I mean, why run if you can’t win???
I have no idea what I was thinking.
Once I realized that I had run too far (and CLEARLY was not going to win ANYTHING, sheesh) I reacted the way anyone would: I was pissed. Because UGH WHY ISN’T THE COURSE MARKED BETTER??? And then I came past the actual turnaround and realized that it actually was very clearly marked. I just wasn’t paying attention. At all.
And that made me even madder.
So there I was, hacked off, still running, uphill, into the damn wind, on some farm road in godforsaken Oklahoma, and suddenly I thought, this is stupid. Not the running (although that’s pretty stupid, too) but the being mad part. This was essentially just an elaborate training run for me, an opportunity to work out the kinks in traveling to a race and running on a strange course — what was I getting all hepped up about? So I stopped beating myself up for missing the turn and started thinking about how I would approach an uphill, into-the-wind course without losing my mind. Or my lunch.
Lean forward. Push off. Keep going.
I finished in 1:04:50 and thought, meh, whatever. And then Amy looked at the results and yelled, “Hey! You won!”
Sure enough, I did. My age group, that is. And I finished 8th overall in my division, which means I ran faster than nearly all of the other women, who were paying attention and knew where to turn around.
I love running because it gives me time to think, but I don’t often think about running during my runs, if that makes sense. I just … run. Lately, though, I’ve been reading about strategies for running faster and stronger, and when I was struggling to get up the hill in the wind, I found myself paging through my options and testing them out. And they totally worked.
I can’t say that everything went right with this run, but I can say that it was, truly, a good run. If only because I didn’t throw up. I am absolutely calling that a win.
*Subject line of the email Rita sent with the photo of my race results. Goober.