That’s really all I have to say. Officially, the results from the Memorial Day 10K say I ran 38:56, but I think that’s gun time not really chip time and my watch said 38:53.8 when I pressed stop. So, screw it, I’m counting it.
In the last 12 months since I started with Hillary — since it’s basically been almost exactly a year of this test project ‘how fast can I get/what would happen if I actually took this seriously’ — I’ve done a lot of stuff I didn’t think I could do (stuff in training that never makes it to the internet) and I’ve been insanely happy in a doesn’t-seem-like-me kind of way with a few of my races. But running a 38:xx 10K has to be in my top three things I’m excited about.
Even though it was a random race and didn’t really matter and was just part of a training block, I’ve never ever ever managed to run a sub-40 10K. I had started to think it just wasn’t possible for me. I couldn’t do it back in 2009-2011, when I was triathlon training seriously and racing lots of Olympic distance (ie. 10Ks). I couldn’t do it when I took a triathlon break and then got in good running shape in 2013. I couldn’t do it last year when I was pounding out fast track intervals for fun with The Kids at USC.
So when I hit the 10K in 39:30-something during that ugly 10-mile race back in April, and then had to run four more miles, I almost immediately texted Hillary and asked if I could sign up for the Memorial Day 10K. And I started to think maybe, maybe, if I did it right, maybe I could even break 39. But don’t say that out loud.
There’s only one other thing I have to say about the 10K and it is this:
The second mile I didn’t think I was going to make it. Hell, Steve didn’t think I was going to make it either; he told me later that I looked like I was in bad shape. The main problem was that I inflamed the tendons and ligaments around my sternum and ribs on Thursday/Friday. (I think it happened, in part, when I had to get towed in on my paddleboard Thursday afternoon. Whatever.) It really hurt swimming on Friday and was incredibly painful whenever I breathed hard during our long ride on Saturday. By Monday it was mostly better, but that second mile I just couldn’t get a deep breath in. I was doing a weird hyperventilating thing and struggling. And I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to keep going. And I thought about one of those other times, back in 2010 I think, when I wanted to break 40 minutes at this race, but I dropped out a little before the mid-point instead.
And then two things happened: I still ran a 6:10 mile even though I felt like I was dying, and I decided I wasn’t going to quit anyway. And after that it was fine. It still hurt, but by the halfway point I knew I could do it. And even when it hurt after that and I looked like I was dying — doing all my usual sticking out my tongue and closing my eyes and biting my lip — I knew I was going to do it. All that was left was to actually do it.
Also: Steve signed up morning of and apparently his handwriting is so great they thought “Stephen” said “Shethed” — which I am pronouncing SHET-head. Seems logical.