Yesterday was my very first 10K race as part of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) Distance Medley. The Distance Medley consists of the BAA 5K (which I did in April), the BAA 10K, and the BAA Half Marathon in October. I signed up for the medley after doing the half marathon last year, determined to train harder this year and set a PR for the half.
Having never competed in a 10K (6.2 miles), I was not sure what to expect in terms of my performance. To give myself something to work toward, I set a goal of 58 minutes (which is approximately a 9:21 mile). I was excited to be starting the race with a former coworker of mine who keeps a faster pace than me as I expected the challenge to be extra motivating. When I woke up yesterday morning, I was not feeling 100%, but hoped it was just nerves. After getting a bottled water at the race location, I seeded myself at 9:00-9:59 pace. The race started in waves four minutes apart, so we did not start at exactly 8am. Lucky for me I was wearing my watch and was able to start a timer for myself.
I kept pace with my friend for about the first mile and a half and we started very strong (the first mile was under 9 minutes). The weather was much hotter than I had expected and the sun was intense without a cloud in the sky. There was very little shade along the route and I could feel it wearing on me. About 15 minutes in I dropped behind her a bit and by 20 minutes in I had lost sight of her. I had expected to lose her at some point, but was disappointed I had fallen behind so quickly. At about 20 minutes I got a weird sensation across the top of my head (almost as if I were wearing a headband). I ignored it as best I could, but stopped at the next water station, which I rarely do so early during a race.
Between miles 2-3 there was a steady climb uphill that lasted until the 5K turnaround point. At 5K I had a time of 29:02, so pretty much right on track to hit my goal time of 58 minutes. Once I hit the turnaround point, I was dripping sweat. Unfortunately I had not worn a hat, so it was dripping right into my eyes and burning like crazy. It seemed like every time I tried to wipe away the sweat, they burned even more.
At mile 4 I paused for some gatorade and struggled to get back up to pace. As hot as I was I started getting cold chills, which I knew was a very bad sign and indicative of dehydration. At this point the weird sensation on my head had turned to tingling and my legs were tingling as well. My hands started to swell and I was frankly pretty concerned, so I slowed my pace. At mile 5 I got a cup of water and after taking a sip poured the rest over my face, which was exactly what I needed to keep going. Despite feeling somewhat better overall, the chills started to get worse and I just kept hoping I would be able to finish without getting medical attention.
As I rounded the corner toward the finish, I dug deep into my energy reserves to pick up the pace. I knew at this point I had not met my goal of 58 minutes, but I was not as far behind as I had feared. I scanned the crowd looking for my partner who was on camera duty and managed to muster a smile for him as I passed and headed toward the finish line.
I crossed the finish at 1:00:34 based on the time I was keeping on my watch and figured it was pretty close to my actual net time.
I was disappointed I had not made it in under an hour, but was mostly just concerned with finding a bottle of water and a place to sit. After getting my medal, a bottle of water, a bottle of gatorade, and a Power Bar, I stretched out and basically crumpled to the ground. I was on the verge of tears until my partner reminded me that I still finished at a pace of 9:40/mile and that I should be incredibly proud, especially considering everything I had to run through. He was right, of course, and it really lifted my spirits.
Exhausted and sweaty, but not quite ready to walk the distance home, I changed into my BAA 10K shirt and we headed to a movie (thank goodness for A/C, a huge bottle of water, and a chair!). I am already looking forward to my next several races and even more excited to run the 10K again next year, determined to crush my time! In the meantime I have a few 5Ks and the BAA Half Marathon to keep me focused on training.