I almost cried. I could feel the excitement. Coming into the stadium, with everyone yelling... the finish line in view... it all welled up in me. But it didn't quite overflow. That's a good thing.
I ran the Bolder Boulder yesterday. My first race - 10 kilometers at about 5,400 feet above sea level. I knew it would be a challenge and I was determined to make it in the range that I'd set for myself. I had spent the last few weeks getting ready by pushing my distance higher. Truly, I've never known myself as a 'runner'. Just like I'd never known myself as a skiier. But this has been the year to push that boundary a little bit and to see where I get.
I had 6.2 miles to run. I ran the first mile in 9 minutes. A minute faster than I was used to running on the treadmill. Whoops. Pace setting. Shortly after that first mile, my stomach cramped up and I felt like I was going to throw up. Maybe it was that stupid first mile, but for the next two miles, I felt pretty awful. I took some energy gel, and chugged some gatorade and shortly, I felt better. In fact, I felt so much better. My pace was set. My music had picked up tempo and I was able to match it with my own steps. The people around me were so much fun, too. There were three painted green - one of which I crashed into, leaving my arm the shade of the Jolly Green Giant. In one of the neighborhoods I passed by, a lady yelled out, "You got it! Don't give up. Just set your pace and keep at it." That echoed in my thoughts for the rest of the race.
At one point, I had slowed to a walk. Someone ran by shouting, "Go, Adam!!" I realized he was yelling that for me. I had posted a sign on my back that said, "I am running in honor of CPT Adam Brink, who is running the BB 7,000 miles away". Immediately, I remembered Adam was running along with me that very second half-way across the world. A huge smile came over me and I picked up my pace again. It was so wonderful to know that he was there, too.
I maintained a run all the way up that final hill and into the stadium. It was awesome. At no point did I ever think I wasn't going to make it. I ended up missing my goal time by 30 seconds, but I was still super excited. It was my first race. I had a rough start, but ended up setting a solid pace. I only wish I could remember it with more detail. I get so focused on the task at hand. I have different things I fill my thoughts with so that I can finish strong, but I lose out on my surroundings and on the details of the race. But I raced up the final hill and as I came into the stadium, I came around to the finish line at full speed. Exhilarating.
It was an awesome experience. Really, just knowing that I can do something that before in my life I thought was out of my reach. So, on to the next goal... a triathlon in September and a half-marathon in October. Then I think I'll take it easy and stick to skiing and regular distances like 5Ks. But who really knows?