Saturday morning I woke bright and early at 4:15. I didn't intend to get up QUITE this early, but I was having, um, some stomach issues, and I figured I'd stay up and see if I could head them off before leaving for the race.
I picked Sarah up at 5:45, and we drove over to the Sunrise Mountain area. I had never before been over to that part of town, and it was beautiful. The weather was nice (?!) too--quite cool, a pleasant surprise for this time of year in Vegas. However, the wind was gusting--up to 37 miles per hour, according to the weather web site I checked! Just what I needed for running my first 10K!
Sarah has done several races before, but this was her first 10K. Being my first race period, I listened to her advice. We walked around to warm up, shivering in the cold. How strange to be cold after nearly melting in the days and weeks before! But we figured the cold wind would be nicer than running in the heat.
Thankfully, Sarah had driven the course earlier in the week so we would know what we were in for. This gave us a chance to be mentally prepared, as the course was WAY more difficult than I would have even attempted had I known before I registered for the race! But by that point it was too late, and I figured, hey, why not try?!
The first part of the course was 2 miles uphill. Then we turned south and did kind of a roller coaster thing, up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, which gave us a chance to get our breath back a bit. As we were on this section, runners at the front of the pack passed us on their way back!
Sarah and I stayed together for the first half of the race. The last 2/10th of a mile right before we turned around were up an extremely steep hill. (OK, maybe not "extremely" steep, but much steeper than anything I've ever run up before, and it was even difficult to walk up, it looked like.) Sarah was a bit ahead going around the turnaround and kept outpacing me. I had told her that I didn't want to slow her down, so I was glad she kept going at a pace that was comfortable for her. I had thought things would get easier for me since I was now going downhill--here's where my long legs could be used to great advantage! Unfortunately, by the time I got to about the 4-mile mark, my stomach started giving me problems. I felt slightly nauseated, and I ended up walking up one of the smaller hills on the roller coaster part. I was proud that I hadn't walked at all during the uphills on the first half of the race, but by this point I was more concerned about not throwing up than I was about my initial goal to run the entire distance.
I made it to the top of the 2-mile stretch and coaxed my legs to keep going. I did walk several very short stints, just to quell my stomach, and I ran a VERY slow pace. When Sarah and I had talked about our goals initially, we thought it would be great to finish somewhere between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes. At this point for me, however, I decided that simply finishing would be just fine with me! I got passed by older people, some of whom could easily be grandparents, but I kept chugging away.
Sarah came back and met me close to the finish line. It was the longest 2 miles I've ever done! I've never even come close to throwing up in all my athletic experience, not even during "difficult" practices, so this was an unusual sensation for me. I was so happy to be finished, and I didn't even care what my time was.
We cooled down and sat on the ground to wait for the raffles and awards to the top runners. The first place male runner finished the course in around 36 minutes, I think. WOW! The first place female finished in about 44 minutes. Still wow! I was so proud of Sarah--she placed 5th in our division with a time of an hour and 4 minutes!! I about fell over when I saw that my own time was just a hair under an hour and 15 minutes!! Not bad, considering the hilly course, gusty wind, and upset stomach!!
I gained my appetite later on in the day and did manage to get some rest after my shower. :-) Ted struggled with some stomach issues on Sunday, and Charis did as well, so I'm wondering if we had a mild bug of some kind. At any rate, my first race was definitely a success.
Oh, and I won a price in the raffle drawing--a $25 off coupon for The Athlete's Foot on the purchase of my next pair of running shoes! What a blessing! I've been needing to go shoe shopping for awhile but decided to do the race in my "old" comfy shoes, so now I can get some new ones for $25 off! Woohoo!