Great River Road 10 Miler
Today I stood beside 1400 other runners at the start of the Great River Road ten miler. At the starting line was a fire truck with its ladder fully extended and at the end of the ladder hung a flag. A woman sang the National Anthem and then we were off. It took at least 20 seconds for me to get to the starting line because the crowd was large. We started out and people carried on conversations for the first mile, soon people spoke less and less and after a while all you heard were footsteps and breathing. Around the second mile I passed a friend that I have met at the races, her name is Stephanie. She is lots of fun to talk to. She was in her own world, headphones on and singing-out loud!
The course was out and back. We had the two lanes closest to the river-they actually closed off that side of the highway for us. The race was very organized-police and ambulances on the other side keeping things in order. It was a cloudy windy day, but the temperature was warm, around 60. After the third mile mark we saw the leader of the race coming back and everyone clapped and cheered him on. For the next few runners we cheered and clapped, then when we saw the first woman runner all the women clapped and really cheered her on. One of the leading guys was a wheelchair competitor and that was way cool. There were mile markers at each mile and water stations at miles 2,4,6 and 8. Each water station became my goal to reach. After mile 4 I found these two guys who were running my pace so I just planted myself behind them and copied their pace. We turned at the 5 mile mark and one guy continued and the other fell back to a slower pace. I kept going at that faster fellows pace and I asked what he was running. He told me 9 minute miles. I told him I was going to borrow his pace for as long as I could. He said that was ok with him. This guy had decided that morning that he was going to do the ten miler, so he just came and ran it. He had run it before. Going out on the course the wind was to our back and as we turned I was pleased that my hair would no longer be in my face. But I was wrong, wow it was a strong headwind and it took a lot more strength to run into that wind coming at you off the river.
On the way back there were times that my legs felt like lead. I thought I couldnít finish and then I would feel better. It was up and down like that. I was determined not to walk and just kept lifting those legs up and down. After the 8th mile my pace companion told me that the white tent up ahead was the 9th mile. My legs were really heavy. We reached the 9th mile and he accelerated and kicked it into high gear, I struggled on. For the longest time I kept looking for the finish chute and finally I turned the corner and there it was. The clock read 1:29:?? I donít remember the seconds but I knew I had to crank it up the come in under 1:30 so I surged and sprinted in (where that energy came from I donít know) and finished in 1:29:40. What an awesome feeling! My goal had been to run under 10 minute miles which would have been 1:40 or less, not to walk (except at the water stations because I just spill it all over me when I run and drink) and to finish. Mission accomplished.