I have the Bolder Boulder 10K tomorrow and I am actually a little nervous! I signed up for a qualifying division of the race, which just means that I estimated my finish time and submitted proof of a race that I ran in last summer. I signed up for the 48 minute pace group and it seemed totally reasonable to me at the time. That works out to just under 8 minute mile pace, which in my mind wasn’t that ambitious. I think I forgot that I am still thinking in collegiate track and field terms though, because when I looked at the list of the final waves yesterday, I was a little shocked to see that I was in the sixth fastest wave. Out of more than 80 waves. Holy intimidation!
Also this will be one of the first races that I have run by myself. Well, not exactly by myself, since there will be thousands of people running in the race. But it will be the first race that I have run without a teammate or a friend doing it with me. This is definitely the beginning of a new chapter in my running career. It was weird to transition to running alone this year after years of running cross country and track on a team. For example, it’s easy to run ten miles a day when you have to go to practice every day and be held accountable to coaches and teammates. It’s a different story when you are running on your own time. If I don’t feel like running there’s no one forcing me to do it. In some ways, I really had to learn how to run all over again this year.
Running alone was also boring for me at first. I am extremely anti-iPod when I run because I think the best part of running is when you completely space out and get in the zone. For me, listening to an iPod completely ruins this part of running. Plus, when I was running on a team, there was absolutely no reason to ever run with music! My teammates and I always had the best conversations on our long, slow distance runs. And so many inside jokes. And good times. I still miss my ghetto children loop. I still do not miss mile repeat Mondays at Stocksdale Park. Anyway, adjusting to running without teammates was a completely foreign experience for me. I missed my teammates initially and had a hard time running long runs alone. Now I have gotten used to running solo and I have grown to enjoy it. Running is my own personal time every day, and no matter what kind of day I have had I always feel better after a good run.
Since I have conquered training on my own, I suppose it’s only natural that the next step should be to conquer racing alone. The funny thing is that even though I have probably run over 150 races in my lifetime, I am still nervous for my race tomorrow! No matter what, I do get a couple of cool T-shirts out of the deal. I see this as a win-win situation, and I am especially excited about the T-shirt that says, “Sea level is for sissies.” Darn straight it is. On another positive note, because I am in one of the earlier waves, I can totally hit the refreshment tents while most of the other people are running. That’s right, I have my priorities.
“Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.” – Jesse Owens