I’ve always thought the one thing that could make the Monument Ave. 10k better is if it had finisher’s medals. This year, in particular, I deserved one.
If you read this post, you know I’m not in the best running shape of my life. Specifically, I’ve got some sort of postpartum hip injury. (That I keep meaning to call the doctor about…)
If you read this post, you know that I held Mary Virginia for the better part of 72 straight hours last week and barely slept. In the hours when I should have been sleeping, I would think through my strategy to get through the next day on such little sleep. What did I need to cancel? How would I get enough caffeine? Could I convince David to share the couch with me?
When I realized the 10k was so close, I started to stress. Thinking through the logistics, the energy required to run 6 miles, and the subsequent exhaustion, I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t even handle thinking about it, not at 3 a.m. when there was so much else on my mind.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do the race was because I have a streak going: I’ve run this race every year since I’ve lived in Richmond. I’ve done it single, engaged, married, and twice pregnant. I didn’t want to stop the tradition. But when I thought about my “streak”, I realized that no one’s ever said, “Hey, Amanda, have you run this race every year since you moved to Richmond?”
No one cares. And there isn’t going to be some guy with a clipboard who leans over my death bed and says, “What happened here in 2014? It says you were a DNF in the 10k.”
So I bailed. And it felt amazing.
Then I had a good night of sleep, which gave me enough energy to muster up a change of heart.
I’d already decided I wasn’t going to push myself in the race; this was going to be easy and fun. I didn’t have the energy or desire for anything else. So I ran with my sister- and brother-in-law as well as two friends who were running the 10k for the first time.
It was drizzling at the start, but otherwise the weather was perfect. We started running and not too far after the start we overheard someone say we had run 0.2 miles. I looked at my watch, our time was 2:36. At the start, part of me was still hoping to break an hour, but finding out that we were so off pace so early in the race, I abandoned that goal, and I’m glad I did. It gave me the freedom to truly run the race for fun, for the experience, for the opportunity to put on my running shoes and celebrate the ability to cover 6.2 miles with over 36,000 runners.
We had a good time. We ran comfortably, we joined in with an Army cadence, we played air drums with the VCU pep band. We got water, we waved to our families who were cheering us on, and we crossed the finish line smiling.
My hips hurt the whole way. A week later, they still hurt. Running the 10k helped me decide that this injury isn’t going to go away; it’s getting worse fast. So I’m taking a break from running until I see a physical therapist.
But I’m still glad I did it.
I’ve never been a speed demon; I’ve always prioritized the social aspect of running over the guts and glory part. But in the past few years, I’ve had to be even more laid-back about races and finish times. And I still think there’s no satisfaction like laying down a well-earned PR, this is the first time I’ve gotten a race photo of me cheering across the finish line. I dunno, that looks a lot more fun than the heaving-for-breath, gassed out, drenched-in-sweat alternative.
I almost forgot to include my time. 1:03:48.