This weekend marked the start of my 2015 race season, and I kicked it off in style with the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler! As much as I wanted to run this race, I didn’t register due to having the kids with me, but because my awesome boyfriend Dan was willing to stay home with the kids that morning, I was able to run. Game on!
I woke up Saturday morning and was instantly nervous for a variety of reasons – first race of the year, hoping I would even have a bib that morning due to my super late registration, pressure to run well, driving to the race on my own, freezing my butt off (it still felt like winter in CLE that morning), having to go to the bathroom mid-race, etc., etc., etc. Even though I was using this as a training run for the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon, my mindset was geared more toward completely crushing my 10-mile PR that was set so long ago that I can’t remember the year.
I arrived super early for two reasons – 1) to pick up my shirt and race bib and 2) in case I got lost I would have plenty of time. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I made it to Edgewater Park without a wrong turn AND my bib was printed and waiting for me. I sat in my car for a while and watched the other runners roll in as I tried to get myself ready to race. I didn’t really have a set plan for pace, but I had to be under 9:00/mile. Anything under 8:45/mile would be freaking fabulous for me.
It was about that time to leave the warmth of the car and make the trek up the hill to the upper portion of Edgewater Park. I was really excited to get to the start line to see my college friend Allison, who made a trip up this way to run both the 10 Miler and the Half of Fame Marathon in Canton (yeah, she’s a badass mother runner!) I haven’t seen her in years, but we bond over running on Facebook all the time. Seeing her really made my race and gave me a little extra motivation to run well.
I wasn’t sure where to line up for the start, so I just picked a spot that looked near the middle of the pack. When the gun went off, I realized I made a small mistake of starting too far back. Nothing against the slower runners, but I was worried about wasting time and energy weaving to get out of the clump. Thankfully, I was able to break free sooner than I thought, and shortly after, my watch alerted me of the first mile. It read 8:20, and I was like, “Holy crap, you went out too fast!” But I felt fantastic! The smarter side of me took over, and I slowed my pace a bit. However, I decided that I was going to push it and try to run at a pace that challenged me.
The first few miles were pretty easy, but things got a bit harder at the turnaround at mile 4 with heading back into the wind. Keep in mind I have been a treadmill girl during this brutal CLE winter, and although I have been running outside lately, the wind still messes with me. I started to get a little tired but felt instantly better after taking a gel. It was around this point in the race that I noticed a guy who was running near me and holding the same pace, although he made it look easy. I figured if I could hang with him, I should be in good shape.
The miles kept coming, and I was almost giddy at the fact my pace was still holding steady. Providing I didn’t completely crash at the end, my old PR was going to get blown out of the water. The last bit of the race was harder for me. There were way more elevation changes than I thought, but I continued to stay with the guy I was using as my pacer. We chatted a bit after I was swearing about yet another hill, and I told him that if it wasn’t for him keeping pace, I probably would have slowed down. I was surprised when he said that he was using me as his pacer for the race. I didn’t think that I was the one being helpful, so that gave me a little boost to finish strong.
The last mile was so much fun. Something about running through a tunnel makes you feel like a badass! The finish was in sight, and I kicked up the pace a bit to finish fast and with a smile on my face. I gave my pacer a high five and thanked him for helping me run a great race, and then I grabbed my medal, put it around my neck, and did a little fist pump in the air. My old 10-mile PR was 1:38 and some change. Today, I crossed the finish line in 1:25:09 with a pace of 8:30/mile! PR Party for me!!!!!
I walked back to the car with a sense of accomplishment. I not only ran a great race and set a huge PR but I also gained a little confidence back. I’ve felt like my running has been on the decline this year with everything that has been going on, and this made me feel like I have made some gains again. It was just the dress rehearsal I needed for the Cleveland half on May 17. I’m ready! Bring on the 13.1!
Thanks again, Dan, for making this race possible. I couldn’t have run it if you weren’t
crazy awesome enough to watch the kiddles to allow me to take this time for myself. I owe you big time. Thanks, Allison, for motivating me. You’re a great runner, and I look up to you. Hope we can run a race together soon. And lastly, thank you, random running guy in the blue shirt, black tights, and glasses. You helped pace me for my fastest 10 miles ever.