52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 14: Did someone say 10K?

I ran 10K this past weekend.

No, really, I ran 10K.

Some might say that what I was doing was jogging. But that’s just semantics. For a distance of no less than 6.2 miles, I did not walk. I may have slowed briefly to obtain water, and I may have adjusted my pace to snap a photo or two, but there was more than enough running involved to make up for all of that. Did I mention that I ran 10K?

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K

The super-fast folk take off at the start of the Ukrop's Monument Ave. 10K in Richmond, Va. Meanwhile, a photographer runs for his life.

The occasion of my triumph (which may be overstating it) was the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, Va., No. 14 in the 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge. We had signed up for our second mini-runcation many moons ago. At the time I could barely get through a 5K, and had no idea how I was supposed to go any farther. I still felt that way a few weeks back. Although I had been racking up the 5Ks, and had even managed my first five-miler, I wasn’t exactly powering through them with ease, as anyone who has seen my face at the end of a run will attest (I’m not even going to address my frankly ludicrous running style; let’s just say you would have a hard time distinguishing me from a moose).

But I was excited about this run. For one, it has been named one of the best races in the US by USA Today. And it is one of the 10 biggest races in the country, with more than 40,000 runners participating. That’s right, 40,000.

Particularly amusing was the idea that Hubby would complete the entire distance before I even started. So ginormous is this event that runners were put into waves depending on their estimated finishing time. Hubby was in Wave C; I was in Wave WA (jog/walkers: 90 to 100 minutes). Not only did I have time to watch him come home, we were able to squeeze in brunch and a movie before I started. OK, maybe not, but I think we had time.

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K

Hubby's wave. Fast folk.

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K

My wave. What we lack in speed, we make up for in enthusiasm.

It was a drizzly day, which was perfect for me. I have a narrow temperature comfort zone at the best of times, but it’s reduced 10-fold when I’m running, or jogging, or whatever you want to call it. Cool with 100 per cent chance of cool is my ideal situation …

The Barney method (not the dinosaur)

There’s an episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney Stinson runs the New York Marathon on the back of no training. His theory:

“Here’s how you run a marathon. Step one, you start running … There is no step two.”

I think I was channeling a piece of Barney at the Ukrop’s 10K. And no, I’m not suggesting that a no-training marathon is a good idea. Barney’s legs stopped working at the end of the episode, after all. Also, it’s TV. But events of the past few weeks conspired to ensure I didn’t get in a lot of training leading up to this race. (“Events” meaning “life.”) So, I started running, and hoped for the best.

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K

Step one, start running.

I’m convinced the brilliance of the event propelled me along. The route was lined with bands, and rappers, and cheerleaders with saucy signs (I believe at one point I saw “Nipple chafing turns me on,” but I may have been overcome). There were Irish dancers, members of the Falun Gong, and professional hula-hoopers. Perhaps I was so distracted, I didn’t notice I was moving.

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K

Encouragement from the sidelines.

There was more water and Powerade than you would ever need in your lifetime. And it was flat. Utterly flat. There was also a large costume contingent, which always impresses me. (If people can run in a cardboard car, surely I can run in shorts.) At one point, I was trailing Mr. Stay Puft and his Ghostbuster buddy. Priceless.

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K

Something strange in the neighborhood ...

My lack of preparedness didn’t seem to cramp my style – or my feet, thank goodness – but I did have a moment of realization: If you’re going to be waiting around for more than three hours for your 10K to start, you might want to eat something besides a banana.

Thankfully, I had a food-delivery system in the form of Hubby, who saw me off at the start, ran back to the car, ran to the four-mile marker, and was on hand to provide me with Cliff Shot Bloks as I whizzed* by. (*May not have involved actual whizzing.) I was so grateful for this energy boost that I kicked my pace up a notch and lengthened my stride. This lasted for about two minutes. But for those two minutes, I felt like an actual runner. I’ve been in The Zone before, but this was an entirely new sensation. I liked it. I’m inspired to start training properly. Sorry, Barney.

I flagged over the last mile, but somehow kept going without incident or injury, and even managed a non-deranged smile as I crossed the finish mat. It was the farthest I’d ever run.

Fourteen runs down, 38 to go. It’s a long, slightly longer road ahead.

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10KThe event: Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K
The location: Richmond, Va.
The date: March 31, 2012
My time: 1.09.17 (pace: 11.09; I’m going to go into a faster wave next year)
Hubby’s time:
43.43 (pace: 7.02)
The cause: VCU Massey Cancer Center and Sports Backers Youth Running Program
The T-shirt:
White cotton short-sleeved tee
The aftermath:
Bananas, Ukrop’s White House rolls, Powerade


29 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 14: Did someone say 10K?

  1. “I was so grateful for this energy boost that I kicked my pace up a notch and lengthened my stride. This lasted for about two minutes.” ~ Your blog makes me laugh out loud, at my desk, at work. Brilliant.

  2. Good on you!! That is an impressive pace, no matter what anyone else thinks! I want to tackle a 10K this year but am hesitant because the 5Ks are still difficult for me and I think I would probably have a hard time pacing myself. (I should probably get a Garmin to help with that.) Did I also read correctly that you are going to run a half this year??

    • Thanks!! You know, I did use a GPS watch for this run (forgot to mention it in the post). Hubby handed over his as he had already finished. It’s a land of the giants watch on my skinny wrist, but I was able to see my pace easily, and I have to admit I couldn’t stop looking at it. It definitely helped me achieve a more even pace. I usually have no freaking idea how fast I’m going, which is a massive pain. I’m shopping for a watch of my own now. 🙂

      I am going to run a half!!! I snuck it in there on the list and thought I’d ignore it for a while. But after it was pointed out that it’s only 4 months away, I guess I had better get my butt into gear. Ugh, training … 🙂

  3. Nice work. Based on your time, next year you could run in either wave TA or TB. Think you should avoid the second one, it has an ominous tone to it…

  4. Is the girl in the third wave starting line photo on the far left in jorts!?!

  5. Saving My Belly Button Ring

    Most excellent!!! Hey, I was in Wave WB….and barely got there in time to start with WC! Just think….we were that close. 🙂 Love your write up….maybe I’ll just repost it instead of writing my own! hahaha GOOD FOR YOU!!!

    • Thanks!!! Same to you! Massive accomplishment, if I do say so myself. Haha. I can’t believe how close we were!! Next year we’ll HAVE to meet up. (You’re already planning your costume, right? 🙂

  6. way to go…you may not believe me but sometimes 10 is easier than 5—because you actually hit the ‘zone’ i hate the first 2.5 k of a run and often around 7k i am humming and actually liking it… nicely done!

    • Thanks!! Yeah, another runner said the same thing, that the longer ones are often easier. I think you both might be on to something after my performance in this weekend’s 5K! 🙂 I’ll be curious to do another 10K now to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

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  8. Saving My Belly Button Ring

    Let’s do meet up nexy year! I plan on doing it again. A friend of mine does it annually. She’ll be on like year 7 or 8…me…it will be time #3. If I like running by then, and can do it with ease…..I’ll wear a custome. Haha Otherwise, I’ll just admire yours!!! Hahaha

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  11. I just completed my first 10k and it was tough. Congrats on your time! Very impressive. 🙂

    • Thanks very much!! I can’t wait to read about your 10K! Was that your first official run? I am so impressed that you did it. I’ll look forward to your post.

      • Just finished posting. Thanks for your support. Now I need to get ready for the next one. How you do it week after week…WOW, I’m very impressed.

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