8.1 Miles

by Lindsey on April 17, 2012

in J&L Get Fit

On March 31st, we ran our first race! It was the 8.1 mile portion of Just a Short Run and we were joined by Justin’s brother James, and his wife April. They are both regular runners, and this was their third year running this particular course, so they knew exactly what to expect. I, on the other hand, went into it super nervous, desperately hoping I wouldn’t have to call it quits early. Up to this point, the furthest I had run was 7 miles, and only once. Otherwise, I was working hard to finish 5 miles in a decent time, and hadn’t done it yet, without stopping to walk a little.

The Wednesday before the race I hit my best 5 mile time, finishing in under an hour, but still with a few walking moments. I felt good after that run, but not good enough to have gone 3.1 more miles. We took Thursday and Friday off, and woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, to get ready for the race. I’ve been having some shin pain, so I heated it before we left, and at the suggestion of the shoe salesman, I massaged the area with peanut oil. When we got to the race site, I was freezing and my leg was really bothering me. I thought for sure I was going to be miserable, and not make it 8.1 miles. I asked Justin what kind of time he thought this would take me, and he told me to aim for 1:45.

The race started with a huge hill, and I knew the only way I was going to get up it was by taking the advice of a @PGHMarathon tweetchat I had followed. Someone asked about how to get through hills, and multiple people had replied “just watch your feet”. I put my head down and cruised up that hill. When I got to the top, much faster than I had expected, I felt good. My legs were warmed up, I could see April a few yards in front of me, and I was pumped up. Through the second mile I started to slow down, and people were passing me left and right, but I kept telling myself “you’re doing this for you, don’t worry about anyone else”. I had to keep talking to myself the whole time, but as crazy as that might make me, it seriously helped. I thought for sure I was running at a snail’s pace, but when I crossed the 5K finish line at 34 minutes, my fastest 5K time ever, I got a second wind and put a big smile on my face. I hadn’t walked yet, other than going through the water stations, and I was making good time. I was really doing this!

Miles 4 and 5 were the easiest, but mile 6 didn’t have a marker, so I felt like I had been running FOREVER before I hit Mile 7. That 6th mile slowed me way down. I was dragging my feet, but I refused to walk. I felt like I was barely moving. When I saw that 7 mile marker though, I was elated! The last 1.1 miles was a big U-shape, so I could see the finish line across the field from me, and that totally got my heart racing. I was ready to finish this thing, and I wanted to finish it hard.

Something to note is that during our training runs, I always sprint the last 10th of a mile. I like to think that if I can finish sprinting, I could have kept going. It’s how I convince myself that I’ll make it through the next, longer run. This race was no different, but I needed something to help me push through it. As the finish line got closer, my Pandora was playing a song that wasn’t pumping me up at all. I skipped it and the next song up was “Far East Movement – Like a G6”, which just happens to be my jam! With that, I was off, and I ran faster than I ever have in my life through that finish line.

The clock said 1:28 when I crossed, but my actual results came in at 32.49 for the 5K and 1:27:19 for the 8.1. I crushed the 1:45 time I was aiming for, and I felt awesome when I was done! It was such a rush. I had no idea I had this in me, and I can’t describe how proud I am of myself for finishing.

I have to admit, the last couple weeks of training, prior to the race, had been awful. I had no motivation and I found every excuse in the book to not go running when I was supposed to. Competing in, and finishing this race recharged my desire to do this. I still don’t love it, but it’s definitely getting easier, and now I know that I am getting better. Four months ago I couldn’t run a mile without walking. To know that I ran 8.1 without walking makes my brain explode!

The Pittsburgh Half Marathon is in 18 days, and I can’t wait to sprint through the finish line!

Tracy April 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

I LOVE this!! That’s exactly how I do hills too. I used to just focus on keeping my knees high, like I was stepping over something. But watching my feet really prevents me from seeing that stupid hill and any negative thoughts that will want to creep into my head.
And I do the same thing when I finish – – it’s usually that last tenth. Funny thing was, during my first 10k I saw that finish line and started to pick it up and I was dying. Thank God my friend said it’s .2, .2! Not .1! Whew! I cooled my jets for a minute and then cranked it out for the last .10.

Lindsey April 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm

It’s seriously awesome, Tracy! I wish I was in Erie so we could run together!

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