Last Friday afternoon, April 29th, I went to Radford University for a track 10,000 meters race. I was so excited because this was my first track 10k. I couldn’t wait to see how fast I could go for 10k when it was on a perfectly flat course (a track). The ride in the car took over 3 hours and it was horrible because I wanted to get there so badly. I was so glad when we finally arrived and I could walk around and get out of the car. My Dad and I went and got me checked into the meet and picked up my number to wear. I think it’s so cool to be in races that require a hip number, just like in the major track meets I see on TV.
As we waited for time for the 10k to begin, I watched some of the long jump. It was amazing how far they can jump and how coordinated you have to be in order to do that event. I would never make it as a long jumper, I don’t have that type of coordination. But it was very cool to watch.
When it was time for me to warm-up, I jogged around a big grass field and listened to some new music I had just downloaded to my MP3 player. Country music always gets me in the mood to race. Love me some country music. J Then I did some strides, switched into my racing flats (Mizuno Ronins), and did my drills. I was starting to get into the “zone”. As I entered the track my head started to fill up with different things to do during the race to help me and butterflies started to flutter their way across my stomach. I met the other competitors, then went to the starting line and pushed the nerves aside, it was time to race!
When the gun went off, I immediately took the lead and tried to get right into pace. In a 25 lap race its best to try to get comfortable in your pace as quickly as you can. There was a hard wind against us on the back straightaway and turn but I didn’t think too much of it the first few laps. I was able to stay right on goal pace for the first 2 miles, but then the effects of the wind started to take hold. You had to push the pace into the wind to keep from slowing down and then push again with the wind in order to make up any lost time, all of this made hard for me to get into a sustainable rhythm. I remember my legs hurting more after each straightaway with the wind then they did before it. I was able to keep the pace from falling off to much but realized that this probably wasn’t the day I would break 36 minutes. During the last mile I pushed as best I could and practiced not thinking about how tired I was getting but rather concentrating on one lap at a time. I used little things to help distract me from the fatigue of the race, like the guy on the infield offering cups of water to the runners as we passed by and how annoyed he looked that I never took any (sorry dude but it was only a 10k). With 600 left I started pushing as hard as I could and on the last turn I gritted my teeth and give it everything I had left. I came across the finish line in first place in 36:14, a new stadium record. Not bad for a debut. J