Saturday morning I was up bright and early so I could get myself ready for the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler. Not only did the distance fit in perfectly with my half-marathon training plan, but since the race is in April it also worked out perfectly for my commitment to completing one race per month in 2015. In fact, I decided to wear my Commitment Day 5K to the race for that very reason!
This was the first race that really put my use of the Galloway Run-Walk-Run method to the test. I’ve been using intervals for awhile now — 30 sec run, 45 sec walk — but the GPS on my phone has been acting wonky so I’m never super confident in my time or pace because I’m not sure how accurate the distance is. With this, I knew I’d be running 10 miles and could count on the chip to do the work for me.
The race was at Edgewater Park and started at the Upper Level and ended at the Lower Level. This meant I didn’t have to deal with climbing the hill between the two!
From the beginning I felt strong and knew I was going to totally rock this. For the first couple of miles I was running with police escort but obviously I’m totally cool with that. The day started out super chilly and I was wearing my running jacket but then around mile 2 started to get hot so during my walking intervals I slowly started the rather awkward process of unpinning my bib from the outside of the jacket and pinning it onto my shirt. Once that was done I wrapped my jacket around my waist. It was around that point that I heard someone call my name and it was my friend Mina, who had already hit the turnaround point and was heading back. She ended up coming in 2nd in her age group!
Thanks to the intervals I slowly started to pull ahead and after mile 4 was no longer in last place. This was also where the turnaround was and making that turn I was suddenly running into the wind and got super cold so I put my jacket back on and headed back. At mile 6, the security asked us to move to the sidewalk so they could open the main road up again and I was fine with that. We were back running residential areas soon after and I moved back to the road when felt it was safe to do so.
This is where things got interesting because I found Miles 7 – 9 to be somewhat confusing. If I was running with the pack it would have been fine, but there was a significant distance between the people ahead of me and the person behind me so I was just kind of out there on my lonesome and very little support in terms of people. There were signs indicating the race course but it was one of those situations where I’d be running and running and kept thinking There is no way in hell this is right and then I’d see a sign that said to turn or go straight or whatever.
Part of it was Mile 7 turned back towards the park but I know that park and I knew there was no way to get 3 more miles out of it, so then the course took us through part of the park then through a tunnel then along a major road and it was so not what I was expecting (clearly I didn’t study the course map close enough!). But I knew the neighborhood and had a good idea of where I was supposed to be going and so when I saw the cop standing at the Mile 9 turn I felt that rush of knowing I was so close.
Actually, funny story: across the street from the cop was this elderly black woman in a wheelchair sitting outside the grocery store and she just kept yelling and cheering for me and waving. It was awesome and I couldn’t stop grinning and then I saw the cop near the sign raise up a single index finger to indicate one mile left and I matched him with my own index finger.
Then I made the final turn and headed through Battery Park and towards the tunnel that would take me back to Edgewater.
By now I was getting hot again so when I saw my parents waiting maybe a quarter mile from the finish line, I threw the jacket in their direction and asked them to bring it to the finish line for me. Later my mom told me my dad mentioned it was wet from all the sweat lol
Finish line action shot courtesy of Papa G:
Despite the look on my face, I swear to goddess I’m actually enjoying this.
For real, though: right there at the very end I fucking sprinted for that finish line. Another “Thank you” to the Galloway method because I haven’t been able to do that in a long time, usually because I’m far too tired. But the R-W-R intervals allows me to prolong my endurance in a way I haven’t been able to do, well, ever.
One of the Hermes employees or volunteers was clapping and cheering as I was getting near and then gave me a high five at the very end. Not only that, while I was getting my finisher’s medal he brought over some post-race snacks.
I finished with a chip time of 2:41:19 which translates to an overall average of 16:07 minute miles. For me, for a race of this distance that’s unheard of. My first half marathon, when I weighed 25-30 lbs lighter, I finished with a 16:37 average. 16:07 is also faster than my averages from the SnoBall 5K and St. Malachi. Granted, weather conditions were a little more favorable but you also have to take the distance into account, too. I mean, super snowy 3.1 miles versus pretty mild 10 miles. Probably comes out fairly even.
This means two things: 1) I so totally have a chance to PR in a few weeks and 2) anyone who wants to tell me that weight or size has anything whatsoever to do with health or athleticism can kiss my ass.
After that, my parents and I went out for lunch and then I headed home.
Needless to say, having that number on my FitBit by lunchtime earned me a well-deserved day in bed.
My next race is, of course, the Cleveland Half Marathon and then I need to figure out what my June race is going to be!
Love from the ashes,