Reflections on Running My First 10K Race

Yes, the girl who hates running ran her first 10K. Phew! Got that item checked off the bucket list.

Except.

It was never on my bucket list. I never had any desire to run. Ever. I love working out, but I’ve always hated running. It makes you out of breath. And sweaty. It’s solitary. And it’s hard. Really, really hard.

It sucks.

But thanks to some annoyingly fit (and supportive) friends, the best gym in the world, and an incredible trainer (thank you Regan – I couldn’t have done it without you!), I DID IT! I ran my first 10K.

Every year for the last eight years I’ve stood outside my house and watched 10K and 5K runners run past my house for the Great Race of Agoura.

10K runners
It doesn’t look like it, but there are a lot of people running up my street.

 

This year my neighbors were watching me. (Well, me and 1,227 others, but I’m pretty sure mostly me.)

10K runner
My son is a great runner, but a crappy photographer.

 

I have to admit, it was pretty exciting. I gathered at the start line with all my run club friends getting ready to do something I never imagined myself doing. Something I never imaged I could do – running for six miles, putting one foot in front of the other and gasping for breath for over an hour straight. What the hell was I thinking?!

Race Start line
Me and part of my crew.

 

When the gun went off and I crossed the start line I was a bit emotional. A little choked up, actually. (Probably because I realized there was no turning back.) I smiled as I ran down the street and saw the people from my neighborhood waving at me (and 1,227 others). Dave was out early to a NASCAR race (don’t ask) and Marley slept over at my mom’s, but Chandler was waiting for me on our driveway. I waved at him excitedly as I passed. He gave me a head nod and raised his hand in sort-of half wave and turned around and walked inside. Apparently the moment was not as monumentous for him as it was for me. (Whatever. Teenagers!)

Mile One was surprisingly easy. It must have been the adrenaline. The excitement. My neighbors cheering me on. Plus it was all downhill. That certainly didn’t hurt.

The distance between Mile One and Mile Two was not quite as easy. I thought maybe they forgot to put up the mile marker. Or maybe I missed it. I couldn’t have missed it could I? Wasn’t there supposed to be a water station there? I was parched. Where the hell was Mile Two?! Finally! Water station and mile marker. Two miles down, four to go. (Seriously, what was I thinking?)

I hate to admit it, but between Mile Two and Mile Three it wasn’t that terrible. I didn’t like it, but I was well-trained and I knew I could do it. I never felt like I had to walk. Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to walk, but I never felt like I had to. My friends were all long gone. I’ve always been the slowest runner in my group (by far), but that was okay. There were still people behind me. A lot of people behind me!

When I hit Mile Four I was scared. Really, really scared. I knew the dreaded hills (or is that mountains?) were just around the corner.

Great-Race-of-Agoura-10K-elevation
Gulp!

 

But before the mountains hills, I was coming up to a U-turn so the runners ahead of me were running towards me. I’d call out my friend’s names and scream, “Whooo!” as I saw them pass and they’d scream, “Whooo, Charlene” back.

And then I saw him.

There was a child who could not have been more than five years old with a 10K race bib on coming towards me. I’m talking five-years-old tops. I was being outpaced by a freaking toddler!

Have I ever mentioned that running sucks?

(I know what you’re thinking, by the way. You’re thinking that I’m exaggerating. You’re thinking that some short nine-year-old was out there being all Bruce Jenner-like. (When Bruce Jenner was a runner and not a reality star.) No, I’m telling you, if this kid was in kindergarten he is for sure the youngest one in his class. Does one of the local pre-schools have a tiny tot track and field program? I mentioned this toddler running prodigy to my friends at the finish line and they saw him too. My friend Juliana said she saw him pass her, high-fiving people along the way. So I’m telling you, this kid was five-years-old. He was real. And I hate him!)

Anyway… on to the hills.

Here is the first one:

running hill
It’s even harder than it looks!

 

What the F?

Yeah, I had to go up that. Do you see how those people are bent over? No, it’s not because they’re vomiting (although who could blame them if they were?), it’s because that hill is so freaking steep you have to bend over like that to get up it. Also, I took this picture from the middle of the hill, so it’s also longer than it looks.

This is the hill of running legends and myths. This hill is the reason our asshole beloved trainer Regan wouldn’t let us run the course before the race. This is the hill that makes people make that face when you tell them you’re doing the Great Race of Agoura 10K. You know that face that people make when you tell them you’re about to do something stupid? The face with one eyebrow raised, their chin tilted down and the tsk tsk tsk that goes along with it? Yeah, this is that hill.

(I might or might have walked it. That’s for me to know and you to never ever find out.)

And then after going up another very terrible horrible no good hill I saw the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

No, it wasn’t this:

California beach at sunset

 

 

Or this:

Bobs Big Boy Burger

 

 

Or this:

bradley-cooper

 

Or even this:

Sorry kids!
Sorry kids!

 

It was this:

5-mile-marker
Hello gorgeous!

I cannot tell you the joy I felt seeing the 5-mile marker sign. It made me happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life (maybe this is what they mean by a runner’s high) because in 12 minutes or less I was going to be done! And it was all downhill! Well, mostly downhill. Until that last short but extremely steep hill that took me by complete surprise. (GRRR!)

As I came down the final hill and turned the corner towards the finish line I actually picked up some speed. I really wanted to finish strong. I do wish the last 50 feet weren’t on overgrown un-mowed grass, which is really hard to run on by the way.

My friends were waiting for me at the finish with high fives and sweaty hugs. We did it! And I’ll never ever ever have to do it again. (Maybe.)

10K medal
We did it!

And in case you were wondering how I did (you were, weren’t you?), here you go:

Not too bad for a first race
Not too bad for a first race

 

Oh, and can I end this post with a little bit of a mommy brag? My son? The one who gave me the half-hearted-yeah-whatever wave from the driveway? He ran the 5K and won. Yeah, that’s right – 1st place out of 999 runners. He must get his running gene from me! (Or I guess, probably not.)

One proud mama!
One proud and happy mama!

 

Today I am resting. But tomorrow I might go running again. (We’ll see.)

 

*And yes, Lisa, I did steal that picture of the beach at sunset from your Facebook page. (Thank you!)

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Reflections on Running My First 10K Race

  1. I am SOOO proud of you, Char! And as someone who has seen (and run/walked) those terrible hills during Mile 4 of The Great Race, I’ll testify that they are MUCH worse than that picture indicates.

    You are wonderful and amazing and the fact that you’ve always hated running makes this achievement not only CRAZY but all the more IMPRESSIVE.

    That’s a damn hard race and I LIKE to run. So. Next time we’re talking about goals, you just brush it off those shoulders of yours.

    You did something you NEVER thought you could do. So of course there’s nothing that isn’t in your reach now.

    Nothing.

  2. Charlene, you are so hilarious. I love this post. Love it!!!! It’s hilarious and inspiring all wrapped up in one delicious package of female spunk.

    I was cracking up very loudly throughout the hold thing. But my MOST FAVORITE part was the most beautiful thing you saw at the top of another horrible hill. Those pictures of what WASN’T at the top of the hill was so hilarious. I doubled over laughing on that one.

    I’m so glad I came to your post today. I so deperately needed a laugh like that. Thank you.

    Oh and by the way, CONGRATULATIONS on completing your first 10k. I’m so impressed. I would love to run a marathon, but like you I hate running. And unlike you—I’m a scaredy cat. A big fat chicken. You rock, girlfriend.

    Congrats to your son, Chandler, too. And to both of you……job well done. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much Demetria. You are always so kind and sweet and supportive and it means the world to me. So glad I could give you a well-needed laugh! πŸ™‚

      Oh, and just so you know, I will never ever EVER rune a marathon. Or even a half marathon. No desire. A 10K (just 6.2 miles) is quite far enough for me thank you very much. (But trust me, if you wanted to you could do it my friend. Trust me!)

  3. So proud of you, Hot Mama!!

    What a great accomplishment. That hill looks like double HELL!

    What are you listening to on your headset?

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX KISS from a NON-Runner.

    • Thank you Kim! And it’s funny, I meant to put what I was listening to into my post. When I was running up that last hill I was listening to “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson which seemed very fitting (as I was surprised that hill didn’t kill me) and my last song was “Push It” by Salt N’ Pepa. And push it, I did! πŸ™‚

    • Haha! Thanks Snuffy. You know it’s funny, so many of my friends say they only run if someone’s chasing them. The great thing about running a race is there are a LOT of people chasing you. HA! πŸ™‚ (I’m still in a bit of denial too, BTW.)

      Thanks so much for commenting.

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