Friday, August 8, 2014

Things I Learned From My First 10k

Last Sunday, I ran my first 10k. 

That's me in the bright green tank top, #162! Photo by A J Lipe. 

For some people, I know, a 10k is no big deal. For me, though, it is. I only started running less than 18 months ago. Running doesn't come easily to me, either, not like it does to some people. I'm extremely slow, for one thing, and for another my brain likes to get in the way. 
So, I'm feeling pretty darn proud of myself, and chock-full of newfound knowledge, which I hope will help any other newbies contemplating the big 1-0.

1.) Don't cram. I had it all planned out. 12-week training program, customized and plotted down to the day. Then summer happened, and the heat (I really don't do well in hot temps) made long weekday afternoon runs impossible. Then, of course, we put our house on the market, blah blah blah...and then suddenly it was mid-July, and I hadn't yet run more than four miles at a clip. That gave me one month to build up to six miles, without stopping for a break. Did I manage it? Nope. And that caused me more anxiety than was necessary. Be aware of the timing of your race, and follow a training program. 

2.) Announce your intentions to race on social media/to anyone who will listen. If I hadn't, I probably wouldn't have raced. But the prospect of very publicly failing to do what I'd vowed was more daunting than the possibility of, you know, maybe dying on the course. 

3.) Pick something fun. I'm very passionate about animals and conservation, and the fact that there would be animals nearby got me stoked enough. But I did a 5k at the LV Zoo earlier this year, and was super impressed by the atmosphere. It was a giant, friendly party, and an absolutely gorgeous course, beautiful enough to distract from the discomfort and nerves. 
You don't get to run with bison at any old race!

The atmosphere can either lift you up or drag you down, so make sure you ask around and find out what races really got people pumped. I can tell you I'll be back next year for sure. 

4.) Take a pain reliever a few hours before the race. It'll help during and after. Trust me on this one. 

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