Hit the Brixx 10k Race Recap
They say people do crazy things for love, and I think the fact I woke up early and sprinted 6.2 miles for greasy pepperoni pie is a testament to that. But one thing I know for sure is that my love affair with pizza is nothing new. In fact, one could argue that pizza got me into this whole distance running thing. (I pretty much joined my high school cross country team to balance out my Mellow Mushroom addiction...😙 ) So if there's ever a race that mentions free pizza being involved, you can trust that I'm going to sign up for it.
However, when I woke up this morning, I was not in the mood to race. I had 99 excuses why I should bow out and surprisingly enough, eating pizza for breakfast didn't trump a single one of them. But Matt, my sweet boyfriend, was up and at 'em at 6:30am, whistlin' around the room, ready to cheer me on. Despite my pleas for snoozing in bed, he made sure my lazy butt got to that starting line. (Part of me thinks he did it because he knew how accomplished I would feel afterwards, but the other part of me thinks he just wanted in on the post-race pizza party.😜 )
Either way, when I lined up at the starting line and spotted my man on the sidelines with a big cheesy grin and two thumbs up, his enthusiasm for this race finally took over me. His excitement to see me run reassured me that no matter if I came in first or last, I was still a winner for getting up early and trying (plus, we would all get to have a bite of Brixx at the end either way...🍕).
There was no national anthem or formal countdown to start the race, so when the starting gun went off, it shocked me into action. Miraculously, the first two miles were a straight-shot downhill on 7th Street, so I went out the gates with a speedy 6:30/mi pace. But given that I didn't warm up at all before the race (huge no-no), my legs felt stiff and I quickly lost my breathing. So after about 200 yards, I immediately backed things down to a 7:00/mi pace and tried to look a little less awkward in those new shoes I was running in (another huge no-no).
All of that downhill glory came to a screeching halt, however, when we made a sharp left onto 5th Street and faced our first of many hills to come. It's funny because the race website even warned that "the course is populated with rolling hills" and "a great suggestion would be to do some training runs on it ahead of time." ...yeah, I didn't do any of that. So by the third sneaky hill, reality set in that this race wasn't going to be all sunshine and rainbows.
In fact, with only 20 minutes in, I officially arrived in struggle city. My legs were wobbly, my breathing was all over the place, and doubt crept into my mind if I could even finish. But I wasn't surprised that I felt this way, because admittedly, I went into this race untrained and a little unmotivated. Thankfully a few days earlier, I strategized with my girl Asheton and she suggested I use this race merely as a training workout. She proposed I run the first 2.5 at tempo pace, jog easier for a half-mile, then race the last 3.2 miles to the finish.
So with 2.5 miles in, I followed her gameplan and pumped my brakes. I took a breather for the next half-mile, it was seriously the best thing I could've done. It allowed me to recharge my batteries and it boosted my confidence for overcoming the rest of the race.
I paced myself well with a comfortably-uncomfortable 7:45 pace for miles 3-5, which allowed me to both feel the burn and crack a smile at a few oddball fans on the sidelines. At mile 4, I even forgot I was racing when I was temporarily distracted by an Edward Burns doppleganger walking down the sidewalk. 😍 (haha, I swear this dude was hands-down the hottest dad in Charlotte).
But at the 5-mile mark, I wiped the hearts out of my eyes and put my game-face back on. The last mile of the race was almost completely uphill, so I needed every bit of mental focus to get my tired legs up that climb. And sure enough, each step was torturous. Midway up the hill, runners were dropping out like flies, but I forced myself not to surrender into a walk. So I huffed, puffed, and fought my way to the top. And when I finally reached its peak, I looked around the corner and spotted the finish line flags only yards away.
I struggled into a sprint towards the cheering crowd (secretly hoping that my boyfriend was watching), and then looked up to the race clock to see... *drumroll please*... my worst 10k time ever. 😂
So sure, this race sucked for me. My time spoke for how I was feeling, and it left me disappointed in my training these past few weeks. But at the same time, it motivated me to train harder for my next race, the Isle of Palms Connector 10k, and it reminded me that bad days are just part of the mix. No one is going to have a great run every time they step up to the starting line, so it's important to learn from these kinds of races for your next awesome run. Bad days build better days and next time I'm coming out with a vengeance. 💪
Oh, and FYI to all future races: this is the only finish line medal I want going forward, mmkay:
50:07 finish time // 8:04 average pace // 3rd place F25-29 out of 58
17th place female out of 431 // 86th place overall out of 747