In those years, I have ran countless 5Ks, one 15K, and four half marathons. I had yet to do a 10K. It's funny as most weekends over the years have included a 6 mile long run, if not longer! So I have known that I could run the 6.2 miles of a 10K, I just hadn't ever completed one.
I was signed up for one this past December, but due to the snow and wintry conditions the organizers cancelled the distance but not the race. By the time we showed up for the race they offered the option to do the 10K yet again but I was with other people and we had consigned ourselves to the 5K and left it at that (and boy was I glad -- that race was down on a bike path next the river in a valley, there was NOTHING to look at and it was one of the most boring races I have ever done. So glad I did not double the distance I had to run!!!)
This absence of 10K appearances changed two weekends ago when I was in my hometown of Plymouth, Michigan to celebrate my Mom's 70th birthday. We decided to make a girls weekend and do the St. Patricks Day race there all together; my mom, my two sisters, my cousin and myself. My oldest sister and my mom were planning on the 5K (it would have been Mom's first race); my cousin, my middle sister and I had planned on the 10K.
Turns out the weather was against us AGAIN. It was WICKEDLY cold. Bitter. I believe the windchill at race time was 5 degrees (or was it -5?). I am a outdoor winter runner and all I can tell you is this: it was too cold even for me!
Well, I am not sure if I was crazy or determined, but I did it anyway. (as did my cousin and my sister signed up for the 10K). I could not bear the thought of driving all the way up to MI and then not participating in the race, really how often am I going to get to run in my hometown? We ran straight from the park downtown into the neighborhood I grew up in and wove up and back on the streets I rode my bike on and past houses I used to babysit in!
I finally completed a 10K, even if it was miserably cold! I ran my first 10 K in 1:09:42, which was such a pleasant surprise. Most of the time I think it is going to take me much longer to complete a race than it does. I think it's a good habit of my brain to do this to me, as I am not stressing out about how long it is taking and I am happy when I cross the finish. I ran the whole distance which was as much about my sheer determination (I just don't like to walk during a race- I mentally have a terrible time restarting my run) as it is about my desire to stay warm. I kept wanting to gently remind those around me that their bodies would be warmer if they continued to run, but I didn't. I kept very quiet during this race, I think I had lots to reflect on as I finally ran on streets I know intimately. So many memories flooded me as I crossed Ann Arbor trail on Evergreen (I walked to school in that general direction for 9 years of my schooling), and then crossing Main Street with cars stopped waiting for the runners to come through. Finishing the race next to my beloved Penn Theatre and seeing my time a whole 10 minutes faster than I expected is a memory I won't soon forget.
I was so grateful that we stashed our coats and some fleece pants in my sister's car that we parked downtown. I was so cold after I finished that I dashed into Panera hoping to wait for my sister and her friend there and warm up a bit. It was so crowded that I decided to put on my extra clothes and walk the 5 or so blocks back to my mom's. I was freezing but very glad I got out there and did it.
So I can now add a 10K to my running resume. Chances are that 1:09:42 will remain my PR for the distance for quite some time considering my history for signing up for races. I've got a bigger fish to fry.