It's been little over a month since I resigned from my job as a newspaper reporter. The plan was to relax for three months and not work, but instead, travel, catch up with friends, organize my files at home, and perhaps do some freelance writing. Then, in the third month, I would start looking for a new job, and preparing for an upcoming move to California (you read that right) later this year.
Some of that happened. I spent three weeks in the last month traveling. To Hawaii. To California.
Then work found me. Since Monday, I've been working 9-6 as a consultant at a communications firm downtown. That's why you haven't heard from me lately. I'll be doing this for the next two months. Possibly longer.
This is a good step. Just one I have to get used to. Different company. Different office environment. Different colleagues.
But you're not here to read about what's going on in my work life. So herewith, a quick breakdown of my experience at the GW Parkway Classic 10-Miler this past Sunday.
Start: My friend, P., and I, were towards the front of the pack. Not with the elites, mind you. But 5-6 rows back from the front. I later realized, too late, that this was still too far forward.
I had to wear a New Balance outfit and my new New Balance running shoes as I was a PR Challenger. However, even though the shorts and shirt were a women's small, they were still too big. As was the cap I was given. I looked like one of Jerry's Kids. That's me and P. at the end of the race, in the photo (credit: Jeanne).
My race goal was 1:20 or under, which I thought was easily doable. The plan was to run 8:00-miles for the first few miles, then gradually quicken my pace to 7:50 or 7:45 for the last 7 miles. I had just taken a cross-country red-eye flight the day before to make it to the race. But I felt OK. Not too jet-lagged. (Foreshadowing!)
Miles 1-3: The first mile I ticked off in 7:16. I did a double-take. That mile must've been short, I thought. (It wasn't.) It didn't feel fast. I tried to slow down, and many people passed me. The second mile was 7:39. Damn it! I slowed down even further, as I did not want to get too tired in the later miles from jumping out too fast. The third mile was 8:04. Better. Still ... I ended up running the first 5K almost a minute faster than my 5K PR. Not good.
Miles 4-7: I held steady at 8:00 miles even though folks continued to stream past me. The course was bucolic, right by the Potomac, and the mild spring morning was perfect running weather. At Mile 6, my legs started getting heavy, and by Mile 7, I struggled mightily to maintain pace. I also hadn't grabbed any water yet, and my throat was parched. The sun gave me headache and my stomach started to hurt. I was frustrated with myself.
Miles 7.5-10: I finally stopped at a water station to gulp down some water. I tried to take a GU but coughed it up. My stomach really, really hurt. So I ducked behind a tree and peed. That's only the second time I've ever had to stop in a race to use the bathroom. Or in this case, a tree. I wasted at least two minutes doing all of this.
By Mile 8, my legs felt like anvils. I could barely lift them off the ground. My pace had slowed considerably down to 8:30's. I saw a friend handing out water at the next water station, and she cheered for me. I just made a face and kept running.
By Mile 9, with the crowds in force now, I was utterly spent. Humbled, I just concentrated on finishing. I tried running faster in the last quarter-mile, and my legs, which had cramped painfully, felt a little better. I crossed in 1:23:38. More than 3 1/2 minutes off my goal time. But much better than my previous 10-Mile PR, way back in 2005, which was 1:31:06.
Good enough. For now.