Saturday, May 1, 2010

And I Ran; I Ran So Far Away

I ran my first official 10K today! I ran the whole way, without stopping or walking! As a wheezy, gray-bearded man overweight by a good fifty pounds, this fact is still a little stunning to me.

It was the Longhorn Run, and it was a beautiful day for it, overcast and cool with no rain. It was a beautiful course, too, running all through campus and finishing in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

It was a thrilling feeling standing at the start with 2,500 other orange-clad runners (me, a runner! weird...) and hearing the University president fire the cannon to start us on our way. I tried to run at a pace that felt familiar from the few practice 10Ks I've run working my way up to today and not worry too much about what other runners were doing. My biggest worry was that my practice route was fairly flat, and I didn't know how much up and down I'd have to do on this course.

I loved being part of an event that was big enough to shut down traffic. We meandered through tree-lined West Campus, where a volunteer stood next to sign that told us we had just passed 1,589 yards, the total rushing yards Colt McCoy ran for during his career at UT. There were also signs marking the 3-mile and 6-mile points, but I was glad that there weren't more regular landmarks; it freed me from worrying about how much distance was left and made it easier to just run and forget about comparing my performance with previous runs. I just ran at a pace that felt good.

And I was passing people! And I kept running when other people stopped to walk!

I had pretty much zoned out by the time we made the turn from San Jacinto onto 24th, but I heard the runner next to me say, "Oh, shit." I looked up the hill toward Speedway and remembered getting out of breath carrying Thumper up that same hill on the way to an ill-fated business meeting a few months ago. But I told myself to just keep moving, and I did. And I didn't die!

When we turned from Speedway onto 21st, we were looking down the hill at the southwest corner of the stadium. My heart leaped, knowing that we would enter the stadium at the southwest corner to finish. I wanted to sprint down that hill, but I thought there might be some stairs to run up to get us to field level, so I kept my pace. I'm glad I did, because part way down the hill, it became apparent that runners were turning left at the bottom, not right. We would enter at the southwest, but we would have to run a lap around the stadium first.

It was a good thing I didn't take that sprint after all, because the hardest part of the course was just ahead. Turning from San Jacinto onto 23rd, we were looking up the steepest hill on the course. Appropriately, its apex was at Robert Dedman. I imagined course planners chuckling at the irony of the name. Many people walked up that hill, and many walked after that hill, but again, I told myself to just keep moving. And I did. And I didn't die!

At that point, runners who'd already finished had come back down the course to cheer us on. "You can do it! Looking good! That was the last hill; you're almost there!" I felt great. I couldn't wait to run through the tunnel at the south end and burst out beneath the scoreboard, crossing the finish line and stepping out onto the field to the joyful cheers of friends, family, and my fellow runners. I pictured it something like this, with smoke and music and video montage and all (jump to around 2:10 if you're the impatient sort).

But no, it wasn't quite like that. We crossed the finish line at the entrance to the tunnel, then sort of just dribbled out onto the field, where we were directed up and out again to where water, fruit, and a live band awaited us. I thought the post-race festivities would be happening on the field, but I suppose I can understand their desire to protect their million-dollar grass and hustle us away from it as soon as possible. I also didn't wear a watch. I looked at the scoreboard to see if the official race time would be ticking along up there, but alas, it wasn't. And I didn't have the presence of mind to ask anybody what time it was, so I don't know how I did relative to my previous personal best of 1:09. We ran with microchips on our shoes, though, which we turned in at the end of the race, so hopefully results will be posted online somewhere.

Then I came home, ate a lunch lovingly prepared by my wife, and played Play Doh with Thumper. The End.



UPDATE! I finished in 1:01:44! Woo hoo!

7 comments:

Purelight said...

I can't tell you how pleased I am to hear that you didn't die! Running a 10K is a major accomplishment--I'm proud of you and for you. I'm wondering if you are hooked on the feeling and now will be running 10K's every chance you get? Or maybe you proved something and will never have to do it again? Either way, sounds like you had a great day!

She Said said...

Congrats! Incredible! I am very impressed. :)

I, Rodius said...

Thanks!

Mom: I am thinking about another one. Maybe this one:

http://www.honorheroes5k.org/

anne said...

yaaaaayyyyy for you!

while you were running a 10K on Saturday, I was walking a 5K as a fundraiseer for my son's elementary school.

"keep moving" is a great motto!

congrats on setting a goal, training for it, and accomplishing it!

I, Rodius said...

Thanks! I'm looking for another one to give me more motivation to keep on moving.

Jennie said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! That is fantastic.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks!

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