Excuse any grammatical errors, it's too early for me. And if you didn't catch the blog title, it's a quote from one of my favorite movies. Forrest Gump.
I am not a runner. I do not consider myself a runner. Outside of playing sports, the only time I run is when a lactose pill doesn’t help my stomach or if I’m trying to hop on the next leg of a flight.
A friend of mine knew this and wanted to challenge me. Seems like in the last five or so years running’s popularity has increased tenfold. There are dedicated running shops here in Wichita that sell running shoes and apparel. So my friend challenged me to do the River Run (10K) in under 75 minutes.
The River Run: A 6.2 mile race that takes place during the River Festival. Thousands of people show up to this event to run in the 10K, 2K, volunteer, or watch.
The challenge was made back during the NCAA Tournament so I had plenty of time to train. I am motivated by challenges from friends. It drives me. So of course I get all excited and go out and buy some new clothes to run in. I had two months to prepare for this starting from the end of March to the end of May, over 60 days!
I consulted with a friend of mine who’s an avid runner and has ran in his fair share of 10K’s, half marathons and even full marathons which I don’t get the fun of whatsoever. I don’t do anything 26 miles unless it’s going from Larry Buds to the Kansas Star Casino. That’s it. And that’s not even a full 26 miles! Anyways my friend gave me a bunch of tips on how to start my training, sent me a schedule, and everything. The schedule said to run 3-4 times a week in the 60 days. Looking at the schedule it totaled up to over 80 miles of running. I even downloaded an app on my phone to log my running. From the start of my training (and I say that loosely) up until the date of the River Run, I only ran 8 times. Not one of those times was within two weeks of the race. I’m lazy. Not one of those 8 times was ever over 3 miles either. All of those 8 times were never faster than a 10 minute pace, probably more like an 11 minute pace.
That probably gives you an idea of how driven I was after the challenge was made. I sort of realized again I didn’t like running. The only fun part of it for me was the sense of accomplishment I had and the cool little map drawn out after I was done running of my route.
We are down to a day before the River Run. I’m kind of worried whether I’ll be in any kind of shape. What do I do to prepare the night before? I go to Bella Vita to load up on pasta and split a couple bottles of wine. Bella Vita’s a whole other blog for my thoughts on that place. Let me tell you the wine was a bad idea. I should have just had water.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. I wake up and feel totally groggy. I’m kind of nervous; I feel dehydrated and it’s pretty chilly outside. What does a chilly person do before he exits the door, he throws on a long sleeve dri-fit shirt……..and I already had a shirt on underneath. Please keep in mind everyone that I also had some Livestrong shoes that I’ve never ran in before. The shoes I had previously hurt my knees a few weeks ago so that’s part of the reason why I never ran in the previous weeks.
I arrive at the race and have a friend clip my bib number on my shirt. I connect my iPhone to my arm with a band and crank out some Hip-Hop music to keep me going. Another friend tells me I’m going to get hot with the long sleeve Dri-Fit shirt on. I pass it off like I know my body and how I’ll feel.
The start of the race is quickly approaching. Everybody is lining up at the start line. I look around and see tons of people. I never realized how busy it’d be. There were people of all ages, shapes and sizes. There was even a guy in a wheelchair doing it…………INSPIRING! My nerves are starting to set in. If I didn’t have a time limit to do it in, I would have been fine. But I hate failure and wanted to make sure I won the challenge given to me. BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s time to run.
I scurry over to the far left side of the street because people are just zooming by. I start running and just kind of run at the pace of the majority of the crowd. I have my sunglasses on and music blaring through my ears. About a half mile into it, the wine taste starts to come in. I hiccup some wine and think to myself, “Oh shit…………”. That all subsides and I keep on running. I really need some water and I turn to my right and ask a fellow runner if there’s any water coming up. She looks at me with a crazed look and says at the two mile marker. Crap……that means I have to run a mile and a half more just to get water.
I feel really dehydrated. My app tells me my first mile has been completed at a little over 9 minutes. Uh-oh, I’m running way too fast for what I’m used to. Sweat is already starting to pour down on me. Why didn’t I listen and just wear a short sleeve shirt?
I see Mile Two coming up and water!!! I’m hoping it’s not a mirage because I’ll pass out if I don’t get water. I sprint as fast as I can towards the water and grab one out of the guys hand and throw it at my face. I threw it at the wrong angle; it went up my nose. So I’m busy coughing and running and spewing water out of my nose. I grab two more cups of water and chug it down. Literally like minutes later, I start to cramp up. WHY GOD?!?! Why did I chug that water?
We aren’t yet at the three mile marker and the same friend who told me not to wear my long sleeve Dri-Fit catches up to me and asks how I’m doing? My memory is hazy at that time and I think I muttered two words: “Not good”. She tells me to take off my long sleeve so I try to. Damnit! The bib was pinned to both my long sleeve and short sleeve shirt. So I had to unpin it and take it off. While in the process of this all, my phone falls to the ground. So I had to stop pick it up, take off my long sleeve, and tie it around my waist. I put my armband back on as I’m running and it slips through my hand and falls. I stop again to pick it up and put it on. At this time I realize my headphones aren’t in, so I stopped yet again to plug it in and turn my music back on.
Three mile marker. Still making good pace but that stopping and toying around with stuff hurt my time….. and my feet. Around this time my feet REALLY begin to hurt. I can feel these blisters start to form on the bottom of my feet. WHY?!?!?! Why did I have to wear new shoes? Why can’t I ever listen? Is it because I’m a man?
I try to run through the pain of the blisters and halfway through mile three I say forget this. I stop to loosen up my shoes and change my running style so I’m not landing on the blisters. This would be a horrible idea and I don’t recommend anybody ever doing this. I was running on the outsides of my feet for the remaining three miles.
Mile four marker comes and I see more water. This time I just take a cup and pour it on the top of my head. I learned a long time ago about gravity and if I pour water from its highest point it’ll go straight down; no way can it go up my nose. I was right! I also take a small sip of water and then take a big swig of it but spit it out just to get some moisture in my mouth. My spit hit somebody’s leg………..I apologized. But I probably yelled it because you know when you have headphones on and try to talk? You talk really loud!
Mile Five marker comes and I’m still running on the outside of my feet. My ankles and heels are really beginning to hurt. I see Mile Six marker, I pick up my pace and just try to sprint as much of it as I can. Literally every time I saw someone with a camera I tried to make sure I didn’t look like death because I sure as hell felt like it. The finish line is in site, there are tons of people along the sidewalks cheering everyone on. At this time, I didn’t care what I looked like. I just wanted to finish. And finish I did. And it was under 75 minutes!!!
I caught up with some friends afterwards for the free breakfast that consisted of oranges, bananas, bread rolls and chocolate milk. Of course they’d give a milk product out………… I found a Gatorade knockoff and chugged that down.
About ten minutes after the race, I could barely walk. Running awkwardly tore up my feet, my blisters were intense, and all I wanted to do was be home. I looked young but felt 90.
But I did it. I finished the 10K and was pretty proud of it. I made sure to grab one of the participation medals they gave to everyone. I used to make fun of participation awards but no more. I will probably start wearing my River Run Medal out to all the places I go.
Overall it was a really fun experience. I can’t say enough how nice everyone is. The running community is very supportive. It’s something everybody can do. I learned a few lessons from my run that I’ll never do again. 1.) Not wear new shoes for a race 2.) Avoid drinking the night before and 3.) Avoid drinking the night before. Wait did I say that one already?
The sense of accomplishment outweighed my disdain for running so much; I will be entering my name for the Prairie Fire Half Marathon.
Now if you all will excuse me, I need to go train by running to get to work!