Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Butte to Butte 10k, 7.4.10

I finished a 10k!

Screen shot 2010-07-06 at 10.54.32 AM

The Butte to Butte has been a 4th of July Eugene tradition for 37 years. Over 5,000 (SO many) people were there this year! It starts at Spencer Butte, the giant hill-y thing on the South end of town, and ends at Skinner Butte, the relatively small hill-y thing on the North end of downtown.

Spencer Butte:

On top of Spencer Butte, earlier this summer:

There's a 4.5-mile walk and a 10k run. The 10k run is notorious. See, there's this giant hill. The first mile, in fact, is straight uphill. The 2nd mile is straight downhill and the remainder is flat. But that uphill is what everyone thinks of when this run comes up in conversation, and I was terrified.

We took a walk a few days before the race to check out the giant hill that we had heard so much about. I'm so glad we did, so I could know what to expect. I took some iPhone shots that evening of parts of the hill:



On the day of the race, almost every house through this residential area had people standing outside in their pajamas, holding their coffee cheering on the runners and waving American flags. Some houses had refreshments set out (I opted out of the free donuts), others were playing music, and a few even had live music of varying types. But my favorite part was the encouragement. I was already emotionally hyped up, but it made me a little teary every time I passed by a stranger cheering for me (I was at the back of the pack, so was usually passing by these houses without others running next to me). Because of that, the hill was by far my favorite part of the race. Who have thunk?!

The downhill was fantastic. I had planned to take it easy to avoid busting my knees, but I felt like I was flying. I had so much energy after conquering the uphill (knowing that I never had to do that again for the rest of my life), that I ignored my training method with walking intervals and ran almost the whole thing. For the 4 remaining flat miles, I also ignored the structured run-walk-run Galloway intervals. Instead, I listened to my body. Ran for a while, took some walking breaks, some much longer than others, and did what I felt like I needed to pace myself and make it to the end, while going as fast as I comfortably could.

This was the first race that I finished without feeling like I was going to die after crossing the finish line. After my last few 5k races, I've had to fight myself from laying down in the grass and passing out. But this was different. I was on cloud 9 from the endorphins (or as we like to call them, endolphins), and knew for the first time that my half marathon goal is actually in reach and attainable. I felt on top of the world and strong. Andy did too, which made it even sweeter.

The soreness set in gradually over the rest of the day, and now 2 days later my shins are still a tiny bit sore. Totally normal. But no back, hip, or knee pain AT ALL, and that is a huge victory. And concrete evidence that my body is getting stronger. When I get lost in the negativity (still working on the not being so hard on myself thing) I can go back to that and know that, against a lot of odds, I just finished a 10k.

No other races planned (for now, at least) until 10/2. Eyes on the prize!

An Update

Things are going well on the running front! Despite one of the busiest times in my life so far, we've managed to keep up with our training schedule, and as much as I try to deny it, I've made really significant progress!

I've finally identified a goal for myself for the half marathon, which is sneaking up on us ridiculously quickly (less than 3 months to go!). I'm really happy with this goal; it's manageable but still at this point will take some work to get there.

My goal: to cross the finish line.

See, they have this rule where if you're at a 16:00 pace or slower, they literally pick you up in a vehicle and cart you to the end, where you don't get a finisher medal. Mean, right? SO not in the Disney spirit. But I suppose it would be around 1 am, so I can't say I blame them. You may be thinking "eh, no sweat, Amy's been training for months and months, that won't be a problem at all..."

But I'm slow. Like, really slow. Still, after all this hard work. My endurance is most definitely improving, but my pace hasn't, which means that I'm still hovering around 15:00 on average. I have days where I'm under 14:00 and days where I'm up around 16:00. But the bottom line is that I'm slow. I'm sure it's the Galloway walking thing, which I still adore and find that I need pretty badly to get through a workout, and I'm not willing to give up.

I'm planning on starting some drills to work on speed and efficiency during my short 30-minute runs during the week.

But here's the bottom line: despite the snail-like pace, I feel great about all of this. While someone who is a natural athlete might have a different perspective and find the 15:00 mile completely unacceptable, I'm totally okay with my slowness. I'm getting out there, getting my body moving, and working towards a really exciting, healthy goal after a sedentary lifetime. Training for a half marathon as a beginner is relatively rare, and I'm cutting myself some slack for that. So while I may be slow, I'm still out there doing it, and at the risk of blowing my humble cover, I'm really proud. So excited for October!