This morning, Justin and I raced in the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge 6K run. The race started at 8AM, so I woke up at 6AM to get ready. I like getting up early on race days so that I have enough time to eat, get dressed, warm up, and make sure that I have everything I need for the race. I don’t eat the same thing every time before I run, but on Saturday I ate a banana, half of a blueberry Clif bar, and some water. I like to have some food in my stomach before I run, but not too much that I feel full.
We left our apartment at about 7:10AM and arrived to the start line at about 7:40AM. The wait to start the race was the worst part for me because it was SO cold! I was wearing my wind-resistant running jacket, a long sleeve Under Armour Pullover, a short sleeve Under Armour top, Saucony gloves, a hat, Turtle Fur neck warmer, Adidas running leggings, and Icebreaker socks and I was still freezing! The app on my phone said it was about 19 degrees, but the windchill was 9 degrees. It had snowed a little bit during the night as well, so that definitely didn’t help things. I started worrying a little bit that snow/slush might be a problem, so I knew that I needed to be on the lookout for slick spots. Luckily, I brought some hot hands so we were able to warm up our hands as we were waiting. Unfortunately, I didn’t have those for my feet as well because they were really starting to feel frozen!
Finally at 8AM, the race started. I had been jumping around a lot to get warm, and I was ready for the race to begin! The race went off in 3 waves, with the below 9-minute per mile pace runners going first. Justin and I had lined up behind the 9-minute per mile pace marker, so we were in the second wave. There was only about a two minute wait from when the first wave went off, so it wasn’t too bad. The one annoying part was that I kept having to take part of my gloves off to make sure my Nike plus app was still up on the screen for the start. Some people just like listening to music during their races, but I like hearing my music AND my pace updates from the Nike-plus app.
At about 8:02AM, we crossed the start line. At the beginning (as in most races), everyone is clumped together and it can be hard to get your pace going. Thus, I had to weave around some people for the first few minutes until I could settle into my pace. It wasn’t too long into the race before we saw the beautiful new bridge ahead of us. Right when I saw it, I was immediately so excited that I had the opportunity to be one of the first people to be on the new bridge. I wasn’t expecting it, but it almost felt like an emotional moment! I just thought, running is so cool because of the different kinds of opportunities that are available to you just because you run. I couldn’t wait to get to the bridge!
Once I was on the bridge, the road started to get a little more slushy. Nothing too bad at all, but I definitely was careful! I have fallen in a race before, and I did not want to recreate that experience. As we were running on the bridge, the elite runners started to pass us on the other side, because as soon as you got to the end of the bridge you looped back around and ran towards where we began the race at. Those elite runners really inspired me because even though they were going so fast and had to be exhausted, they had such a competitive look in their eyes, and it helped me to keep going the fastest that I could. As I started to run back to the finish line at about mile 3, I just kept telling myself to keep going at the pace I was at and that the finish was near. That’s exactly what I did and at about the last quarter of a mile I started passing people and upped my pace a little bit which was such a great feeling!
Less than a minute after I crossed the finish line, Justin finished the race with a time of 33:10. This is really amazing to me, because he is not a runner at all and the last time he even laced up his running shoes was when I made him do a 5K with me in September! He is lucky to be naturally faster and not have to train as hard as I do! But he also said later that his legs were really hurting him, while I did not have this same feeling simply because of my training.
All in all, it was such an awesome race and experience. I ended up running the 6K in my best time ever – 32:29, and finished 15th out of 223 which was my best placing yet! It was really cool to see my hard work in my training runs starting to pay off and I can’t wait until my next race coming up in March.