Two and a half weeks ago, I was hit with that awful feeling of having totally forgotten about something. And by “forgotten”, I think I mean “pushed so far to the back of my mind that maybe it’ll just go away if I don’t think about it, lalala”. I’m talking about the Beat the Blerch 10k. I talked a good game about wanting to run this spring, and then summer came along and I was apparently content with sitting on my ass eating chocolate every night.
Normally in this situation, I would bail, bail, bail, but I seem to have grown up a little bit in this first year of parenthood, so instead I decided to go for it. I figured that even if I ended up walking most of the course, then (a) who really cares – no one, no one except for myself and (b) there would be Nutella. And a couch along the route. This clearly isn’t a race that encourages taking oneself too seriously.
In case you don’t know, Beat the Blerch was started after Matthew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) made this comic called The Terrible and Wonderful Reason Why I Run Long Distances. It hit a nerve with a lot of people, and led to this excellent book and this race series. When I was looking through my photos after the race, I suddenly noticed the whipped cream action going on behind me and Nora. This is very descriptive of the race, and naturally I highly recommend it.
Anyway, I finally took Nora out in the running stroller, which is actually pretty fun, and a godsend in the rainy weather we had those two weeks – the rain cover is awesome and can withstand some very soggy runs. I got some good runs in, but never more than two miles in a row of running. The trails near our house are just too hilly for me to not take walking breaks, especially while pushing a stroller. I set a goal for myself that on race day, I would run to the halfway point, then switch to walking.
But come Saturday, you know what? I ran that entire thing. I was slow as molasses – 1:10:48, I have to live up to my blog name, after all – but I ran it. I didn’t even need to stop at the aid station, but I ended up doing it anyway since I couldn’t miss out on a photo op with a real live Blerch.
– My shins hurt for the first two miles and I was starting to consider maybe walking a little bit, and then suddenly BOOM I was warmed up, nothing hurt, and I felt great. Must remember this next time when everything sucks. I even got several comments from strangers about the fact that I was smiling while running, so yay! Endorphins!
– At one point, before my shins stopped hurting, I was about to walk but told myself that fer chrissakes, you rocked contractions, you can make it through this. And it totally worked.
– I started out way too slowly and didn’t realize until the end that I had way more to give. Don’t be so cautious!
– Podcasts work better for me than music, unless I’m running downhill. Music gives me time to mull over things, and those things usually involve some sort of negative self-talk. Podcasts take my mind off whatever I’m doing, and suddenly I’ve been running for ten minutes without really noticing.
– I tend to shy away from big crowds and love running alone in the mountains, but there’s something to be said for the motivational aspect of being surrounded by lots of people. Especially when they’re all high on sugar.
– My body can run for over an hour straight on basically no training. That’s pretty awesome.
– I really need to stop bailing on things that intimidate me.
So yeah, that was a really great experience, and a huge confidence-booster. If I could run this race without training for it, what could I do with training? I went ahead and put my name in the lottery for Orcas 25k in January to find out. Fate will decide whether or not I get in, but if I do, I decide how prepared I will be. I’ve entered this race before, and bailed – but now I really do know that I can do hard things. Please send good lottery vibes my way.