Wet. Slow. Awesome.
That’s how I would sum up this past weekend’s Wild Hog 10k. I could very easily say it was cold, disappointing and discouraging because I could train to race it but running is about so much more than PR’s and course domination. Running is fun. Running is a privilege that, even though I can’t take full advantage of, I can still do. Not everyone can say that. Not everyone wants to. This is the mindset I took heading down to Grand Forks and this is the mindset that made this an amazing weekend for me. Let’s dig in…
Race weekend started with an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner the night before and the 5k race. It was chilly and raining but the dinner was really good. What’s not to love about all you can eat? AND there was a vegetarian pasta sauce that was oh so good. Happy runner! The expo was pretty small so I didn’t spend too much time there. I will say that the fitness center where the race started/ended was one of the most impressive facilities I’ve ever seen. Like…wowzers, it was nice. I’d move to GF just to have a membership there.
Race morning, my lovely friend, Michelle and I woke up at 6:00 and were greeted by pitch black cold and pouring rain.
I had an epic fail of race prep and didn’t bring a running jacket. Or long sleeves. Thankfully, Michelle brought a couple of garbage bags for the occasion and the race shirt happened to be a long-sleeved tech shirt. Crisis averted. We drove out to the race and stayed in the warm car as long as possible. Soon, it was time to line up in the corral. With the start we were off. My original plan was to run when I could but I was prepared to walk much of the race if my leg was sore. It was cold and even though the rain was letting up, it was wet and within the first mile, my feet were soaked. BUT my leg was feeling good so I ditched the garbage bag (a bit too prematurely as it started raining again later on). I kept my pace comfortable and since I purposely left the Garmin at home, I had no idea what my pace was and that was just fine with me. I soaked in the course, enjoyed the run and was just so thankful that I was even running.
Around mile 4, my leg started to tighten up. It was definitely not used to running this long after so many false starts and no real distance in nearly 2 months. But I kept going, smiling and enjoying myself.
When I saw the finish line about half a mile in front of me I decided to kick it up, open my stride and bring it home. I don’t know about you but I run with a very short stride. It’s done wonders for my knees and has helped with the tendonitis as well. I prefer it even though all my race pictures, I look like I’m walking or shuffling. It also helps my foot strike. But there is something to be said about opening up my stride as I’m rolling toward the finish. It just feels so good and this was no exception.
I rolled in to thundering applause and loud cheers. I knew they weren’t for me, they were for the half marathon winner who rolled in about 2 seconds behind me. Good to know that he was running exactly twice as fast as me. I grabbed my medal and warming blanket and headed to the tent to try and warm up. The second I stopped running, I turned into a block of ice. I noticed people were heading in with the drink ticket we had attached to our bibs. Thinking it would get me some coffee or hot chocolate, I headed in to claim some warmth. Turns out…it was for an adult beverage. At 9:30am. Anyone who ever questions why I love running so much…this would definitely rank highly on my list. My kind of race!!
I eventually went over to check my time: 1:08:15. 48/86 in my age group and 149/273 out of all females. Officially, that time was a personal worst but I don’t care. I wasn’t disappointed in the least. It was a great race, I enjoyed myself and am just so happy that I was able to run it. Seriously. Running is about so much more than pace and time. Anyone who tells you differently is missing the true spirit of this sport and needs a good punch in the throat.