Monday, November 7, 2011

Maybe I changed my tune

This past Sunday I ran my Fall Frun Run 10K race that I had been training for with the BeRunning group. While I went into running and training with a group open minded I found that I struggled with the process. Sometimes it was hard because of my speed, I ran with the same people week in and week out. I got to know them but I didn't get to know the whole group. (In actuality, it's a really interesting study in group dynamics because we never really went through Tuckman's theory of development.)

I'm an introvert, so until I know you and feel safe/comfortable around you I really don't show my personality. Which means, when we wait in a group at the beginning and end of runs, well I become an awkward 12 year old kid. So that also means I try to find the fastest route out of the awkward situation.

So I was going into Sunday's run with a shaky leg, the mentor I ran with the most was down in NYC supporting another BeRunner in the NYC Marathon, and everyone was faster than I was. Wicked faster than I was. I had the fear of coming in last inside my head.

Left and right we kept being asked if we were nervous. I responded each time, yes. I was nervous. Inside I knew that I didn't give it everything I could have in my training, that I had a few setbacks physically, that mentally I've been all over the place. I voiced my fear of coming in last and being slow to Jenika, a fellow participant. She assured me I'd be great and said she'd come back out to find me after she finished as long as I agreed to do the same for her if I finished before her. That made me smile. We both knew she'd finish first but she just kept trying to stay positive with me.

As a group we gathered and Fantastic George led us in a cheer to get us excited. It got us a lot of glances, which was neat because people were wondering who our group was. George said it would happen, but sometimes I let my skeptic win out.

I lined up with the other runners from our group and once again, taking the voice of Ed Tse in my head (and in my face!) "let's hang out to the side and let everyone else start". Then keeping the voice of Joel Tse in my head, I picked out a target for a "kill" (i know that doesn't sound nice but it's meant with love)

It didn't take very long for the entire group of runners to be way off in the distance to me. We hit a shady patch of the course running out to the road and i thought, maybe I didn't have enough layers on, or maybe next time bring your gloves. I use a GymBoss timer to give me my intervals. I was doing 7 minutes running & 1 minute walking. My legs were so heavy that the first mile made me feel like death. My left shin and ankle were tightening, I started to get worried. I was running and it was painful. I kept hearing Marey's voice telling me to relax from toe to crown, kept hearing Kerry tell me to slow down and keep my shoulders loose.

As I approached 1.5 miles I made my move. Purple hat & orange shirt had been in front of me. I knew that I was currently in last place. I knew that I needed to pick it up in order to get past them. I thought we might play "tag" like I did with the women in the Great Pumpkin but I passed them, chalked two kills internally and then went back to my leg.

I had passed the first mile clock around 13:50 which is pretty damn good for me. However, it also let me know I was running faster than my regular pace and that I had planed for a 15/16 min per mile pace. So I slowed it down and tried to relax while walking. When I got to the mile two clock Marey was manning the station. She asked how I was feeling, reminded me to relax and I kept on trucking.

Around mile 2.5 (i think) was our first hill. Now, I knew there would be a hill there. It wasn't super steep it was just longer than I expected. I ran a bit of it but then had to walk. Dorothea's voice was in my ear telling me not to be stubborn & prideful and just accept the walk uphill. The rolling hills after the big hill, well those sucked balls too, but I kept my arms pumping and kept looking back making sure I was putting some distance between me and purple hat.

When I saw the mile 4 clock, it felt good to know I was on track to sustain 1 hour 36 minutes as my 10K PR time. I did the math, I thought I'd make it and have a slight chance to even beat it. Mile 5 left me feeling cold, we were getting back in shady parts, there were more cars on the road, the runners who have finished the race in 40 minutes are now running the reverse race route doing their additional run workout (which makes you want to trip them, I'm not going to lie to you)

leave no BeRunner behind
I started the journey back onto Shenedahowa's campus, I had forgotten that we had to run across a field. Just as I was not feeling the field I heard "YOU GOT THIS HOLLIE!" over a megaphone. It was coming from Fantastic George. I ran closer and saw Marey. I saw Jenika's orange hat, Jessie & Latticia, I heard Ed's voice. They all came back to run me in. I was loosing my breath at that point. The cold air was wrecking my lungs, burning with each breath.  Ed told me he was a zombie chasing me, Letticia started singing the U.S. States song, they all just kept me going.

A runnin rhino all the way to the end
We got onto the track and started the last bit of the run. My brother ran up on the side and started running with us as a group. Letticia knew what my 10K goal was, she kept giving me updates. Ed told me to push until i didn't think i could push anymore and that I could pass out after the finish line. Next Letticia told me I had 30 seconds to get to the finish to make my goal.

I started sprinting. I honestly have no idea where the energy came from. It hurt, i'm not going to lie. My lungs burnt and I was ready to cry but no one was taking my goal away from me, myself included.

Both sides of the finish line
George P. Kansas and I
As I started to sprint I could hear the group running with me start shouting & cheering and I was running to an even bigger group waiting for me cheering and jumping. I crossed the finish line at 1:35:55 (with the Ed Tse voice inside telling me yeah I did even better cause of my NET time!) I crossed the finish line and went right into hugs, high fives, and photos. I set a new 10K PR (personal record) of 1:35:29

I finally got it. I finally understood group running. I had asked a lot of friends to come out to the race and see me finish. Honestly, who wants to wake up early to watch someone finish a race right at the end? My fellow group of BeRunning runners do. They wanted to support me and they wanted to see me succeed on my own level of success. Not once did any of them tell me I shouldn't run a 10K, or that I was too slow. They just kept telling me that I could.

So to answer the doubts that I had when I told myself that I paid money to have someone remind me to run, that's not what you paid for Hollie. You paid for an opportunity to be introduced to some amazing people who showed you that runners come in every shape, size and speed.

So maybe I changed my tune and you know what? I feel FANTASTIC GEORGE!