A dam, some rain, and cows

This weekend, I ran my first 12k distance race. I could have easily done the 4.37 mile race and still had a new distance under my belt, but I wanted to pick the middle one. My husband decided to sign up to run with me because I told him there would be post race beer. Ha, ha…sucker! *At least there was really beer.

We both went into it without really having trained for the distance, but I was better prepared. I haven’t taken off of running for more than just being sick. I ran a half marathon at the start of last month. He hasn’t run more than 5 or 6 miles in years and he probably hasn’t had a race this long before. It was time to spend together, though. We even arranged for his parents to come to our house and watch the kids so we could go together.Our best dates are adventures like hiking and running together. Don’t ask him about the time I jumped off of an ATV I was driving when we were about to crash into trees (consequently making him get thrown off into the woods).

Saturday morning was cloudy and the air was cooler than I’d expected it to be. I donned summer running gear since I get hot fast. I brought along my handheld water bottle with a couple of gels in a pouch to take during the race. We arrived early and chatted with people we know from my training programs and from his work. We occasionally heard thunder in the distance and felt drizzle start to fall. While trying to get myself and friends to the start, one friend said that there is a cannon to start the race and we won’t miss it. When the cannon went off, I almost jumped in fear from the sudden sound of it. I’m used to horns and the pistol sound. This was the sound of something huge. My friend ran by after that and said “See, I told you there was a cannon.”

In the first quarter mile, we took off and were running a steady pace. I noticed that it was a bit fast for the distance and told my husband that I couldn’t do over 7 miles at a 5k pace. I can barely do a 5k at the pace I do them. We settled in at a slower pace. Since it was along some fairly rural roads, they weren’t closed for the race and we often needed to alert other runners about oncoming cars and trucks on the road. My husband picked up on the cues and took care of the ‘car back’ shouting for me when needed. He said it was kind of fun to do the yelling. After the crowd started to break up a little and we were closer to being on our own, I spent a little time explaining to him how I was told to run the course. Basically, you’re doing math to ensure you don’t make the run longer than necessary. They measure the course in straight lines, so you don’t want to run too many curves or veer from side to side too often. He told me it made sense and he hadn’t really thought about it before. I have the Fleet Feet owner to thank for that tip when I ran with her last summer. We were running mile 6 when a little drizzle turned into a full on downpour. I told my husband water was getting in my eyes. He shrugged it off until I clarified that I had contact lenses in my eyes and the water was making it difficult for me to see. The rain finally started to let up when a stink filled the air. There was smoke coming from a nearby property and the air smelled like cow poop. Then, we could hear the cows. It was a little humorous, but also stinky. As we approached a turn, a sign that said “7.4” with an arrow pointing to the left was there. My husband picked up speed despite us being somewhere around 6.5 miles in. He finally asked where the finish line was and I said “3/4 of a mile ahead.” He thought we were much closer to the finish. As we neared the finish, a black SUV came through the crowd and passed in front of us. It edged itself a path along the same route we were taking toward the finish. Every time I tried to get past it, they were able to speed up and I couldn’t get around. Once I got back behind, they were seemingly going at a snail’s pace. I just wanted to finish. Finally able to break away, my husband and I ran to the finish. I think he  had more energy than I did at that point. I was spent. Once through, we had run the 12k in 1:17. It was a PR because we’d never run a 12k before. It probably wasn’t the best I could do, but it was the best given the series of events that day and  leading to that race.

I’m sure I’ll do that race again. Maybe the shorter one so I can put that distance (4.37 miles) under my belt. So far, I’ve had 2 races in the rain that were not bad at all this year. Wind is still my enemy.

I was in a slump for a couple of weeks struggling with the depression monster that whispers in my ear that I don’t enjoy running, people don’t like me, I’m not good at anything, etc. While it has been a struggle to get out and run, I’ve done it. I remember that depression isn’t the boss of me. I tell people that I might need to be checked on and they often do. I remind myself that I am capable of so many things that I wasn’t just a few short years ago. While I often feel alone and too embarrassed to tell anyone that I’m suffering, reaching out is an important step in self care. Goal setting and making plans for activities in the future are also important.

I’ve signed up to run a full marathon in November. I am going to run 26.2 miles on purpose. I plan to do another training program to prepare for it since running with a group is usually much more fun than doing it alone. I also anticipate a few of my friends joining the same program to make it even more fun. I can’t wait to get started, but on the other hand, I can wait to start training because I don’t want it to come up too fast. I need time to prepare. I’m only half way through being a mentor in my current 5k program, so I have time.

Oh, I got a cool sticker since the race was on year 35 (which also happens to be my age). The lake looks like a dragon to me. Roar!





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