And here it was. The big day I have been waiting for. Eight weeks of training with Charm City Run, came down to this exact day. I have been preparing myself to run The Sole of the City 10k.
All the hard work, dedication and training was going to pay off or was it?
I was excited as I am for any race but this was to be a new PR for me. I never ran a 10k before. Not that distance or officially in a race.
I set out my clothes the night before and even got to decorate my bib.
I was really excited to not only run for me but to run for Erika Brannock. Erika, was seriously injured in the Boston bombings last year and I wanted to dedicate my race to her. This was the first race I ever dedicated to someone else so I felt a lot was riding on me to do well.
But let me just say at 5 am, I had my doubts.
My husband came home at 4 am (which was due to an unplanned changed in shift at work this week) and he was sick. I mean coughing, can’t speak, feverish. I couldn’t leave him with the children or could I? They were due to get up in two hours! There’s more on the agenda that was going on that morning so I freaked out. I text my mom in Hawaii – crap, she’s not up. I text my girlfriend who was going with me to let her know, I wasn’t going.
But then hubby said to me, “You need to go Amber and get that hill.” He was right. I needed to be there. Why am I crapping out now? Text my girlfriend – it’s on! I hopped in the shower and started to feel good about my decision.
When I went outside to pick up my sweet cheerleader friend I was greeted by these beautiful ducks.
Would you know they came over to me? I was surprised and even thought “do ducks attack?” LOL .It was a peaceful moment that I got to share before the start of my day. I would like to think they were my good luck charms.
At 7:30, I picked up my girlfriend and we headed to Baltimore for my big day. At 8:25, I was freaking out because traffic was out of control. I couldn’t breathe. I thought here we go again, I’m really not supposed to run this race. It looked like people were boarding the cruise ship across the street as well as trying to attend this race. Cars were cutting in front of others, beeping their horns and the tension was high. All I kept thinking was “Am I not supposed to be here? Why isn’t anything going smoothly?”
And just like that – life changes and so did my luck. As we were going down Key Highway, I saw the Finish line and a parking lot….one block away! Made it to the start – in record time.
I walked up a hill and rounded the corner to the biggest, most beautiful American flag I have ever seen.
I walked up to take a photo and then realized – the road was still open! Oops!
There were thousands of people surrounding us by now. I waited and stretched before the race.
Would you believe, I was calm? Not worried about a thing, I just wanted to run on this beautiful morning. The weather couldn’t have been any better for a race day.
Charm City made some announcements followed by singing The Star Spangled Banner and then Erika herself came on the loud speaker.
I didn’t get a chance to actually see Erika among the tall crowd and my short legs but I could feel her warmth and kind heart. She was extremely supportive for all of us to have a good race and spoke of the tragic Boston event. Tears started to flow down my face and that’s when I decided I’m going to run even harder for her. (I’m not sure if that was possible but in my head it was!)
Two minutes later, just like that I was off running.
That hill I dreaded turned out not to be the last hill I thought, but was right around the corner and in my first mile! I tackled it with no problems and was really proud of myself. Perhaps because it was the first mile, I was strong.
First mile time: 12:08
Crap. I was in trouble. I know from my own personal experience that if I don’t go at a 12:30-45, I will lose my energy quickly. I needed to slow down.
Unfortunately, mile two was no better: 11:21. Now I was really in trouble.
Right around mile three it happened. My energy started to plateau.
I popped some Plow On gum in my mouth (which I didn’t intend to use until mile 4) and it gave me the boost I needed.
It wasn’t that my legs felt weak but my whole body just lost it. At mile four, I got a side cramp. Right under my rib brought me some pain but I kept going. I know I can run at a pace of 12:30 without stopping but it wasn’t happening this time.
My run turned into a brisk walk. I tried my hardest to push through the side cramp. If I picked up my feet to run, the pain hit me hard. If I walked, it didn’t bother me so much.
I couldn’t help but question: What did I change? What did I do wrong?
The only difference was that I drank 1/2 liter of Smartwater prior to running. I never drink that much water before hand but I also had a cup of coffee…so I wanted to stay well hydrated. Was that the cause? I’m not sure.
I just knew I had to keep going.
I made the most of my run as I could. I cheered on other runners by shouting words of encouragement, I gave out high-fives and I thanked every cop covering the streets for us.
Next thing I knew, I was rounding to the finish line.
My first 10k was complete!
My girlfriend made me a sign and bought me flowers! I couldn’t have asked for a better friend. She is so sweet. In return, I had a little gift for her too.
That’s right – A Larabar for my friend, Lara. Get it… Corny and cute let’s move on!
Afterwards, we joined the party. Filled with entertainment, wraps, pretzels, bananas and beer – this was a party not to be missed!
(PS that was the food line!)
Then we walked over to see what was going on at the Charm City Run store.
My friend, Lara surprised me with another gift…
I can say I proudly put this baby on my vehicle. 10k success!
Would I run The Sole of the City 10k again?
You betcha! I thought the race was well organized and I loved the cause. I would run for Erika any day.
The course wasn’t too difficult and there was “support/cheerleaders/cops” everywhere.
What would I change?
I hate to even admit to this but I would have loved a medal. I know it’s rare to have medals for 10ks, but I worked super hard and my bib was torn. I would have liked something to dedicate my proud moment to.
I didn’t purchase the premium for an extra $25 because it was long sleeve – we are starting spring into summer. I would have bought it if it was short sleeve so I could have worn it for the race.
My overall impression…
The race was amazing. The runners were happy and Charm City made the event a great success. With a really nice atmosphere, great food, cheerleaders and security throughout the whole race, and supporting a super awesome cause, I loved it. My first 10k definitely made an impression on me. Even their training group pushed me to handle tackle this race without leaving me with doubt.
So where to next?
I added to more races to my list this year – next is Baltimore 10 miler. Go ahead, take a peak here.
Please be sure to congratulate me. Go ahead, I won’t stop you.