Six weeks ago it was not yet blazing hot outside. At 7am. And six weeks ago I was still riding the high of Half-a-palooza 2013.
So six weeks ago my friend Greg successfully convinced me to do a 10k in the middle of the summer.
He dangled the carrots of free registration (thanks Ce!ebrate Arkansas Magazine!) and top-notch swag, and I was IN. The Cancer Challenge 10k is only one during an entire weekend of events intended to raise funds and awareness for cancer prevention and early detection in Northwest Arkansas. I’d never run this race before, but Greg swears it’s his favorite so I couldn’t wait. And after last weekend’s triathlon situation, I needed a race that was spirited and fun.
Look at us all smiley and fresh-faced. Truth be told, it was quite nice Saturday morning. I can’t remember the temperature exactly, but I remember joking that it was “cool” on the way to the start line. In JUNE.
We took that quick photo and shared a good luck fist bump – and we were off.
The start was pretty congested so when Greg jumped up on the grass for a break from the crowd, I thought it looked like a good idea. It wasn’t long after this that we parted ways and ran our own races.
With the breeze and the “cool” temperatures and my somewhat fresh legs, I was cruisin’ for the first few miles. I started to think I might have a really solid race — maaaaaaybe a PR.
But then I hit mile 4.
Mile 4 is stupid.
I repeat: mile 4 is stupid.
Look how lovely and flat the rest of the course is! Then mile 4! It’s uphill… then some more uphill! Not cool.
The next few photos were taken during that briefly flat-ish portion of mile 4. I was smiling because I didn’t yet realize how stupid mile 4 was going to get.
Somewhere during mile 4 I decided that I didn’t care how much distance it added to my overall race, I would do all the weaving and dodging necessary back and forth across the road if it meant finding the shade. So I ran on THIS sidewalk for a bit, then – oh look! trees on THAT side of the road. This went on for the remainder of the race. And before I knew it, I was rounding the final corner and I could see my boys standing with my friend-except-during-mile-4, Greg. Almost done!
Even with all my complaining about mile 4, I had a great morning. It was great to see Greg and meet a few of his friends. And it’s always great to race — especially in Northwest Arkansas. Possibly the best part of all is that I felt really strong. Admittedly, I hadn’t run 6.2 miles in a row since my last half marathon in April. I’ve been running shorter distances and spending every spare moment on my bike. But — wouldn’t you know it — all those half/marathon training plans that suggest “cross training” a few times a week? They might be onto something. Even though I hadn’t run the actual mileage lately, I’ve been cross training like crazy to prepare for triathlon — and it is making all the difference. My head wasn’t loving the heat and my attitude wasn’t loving the hills — but my legs were feeling some kinda strong. Someday, somehow I will learn something the easy way. (Unsolicited advice: if your training plan suggests cross training (XT) — DO IT.)
Also! This year marked the 20th anniversary for the Cancer Challenge so they got all fancy and gave out medals! Medal for a 10k!