I had never done a 1 mile race before. I had run a mile as fast as I could, but only in the context of mile repeats on the track or accidentally. Seriously. I once almost dropped out of a four miler because I ran the first mile too fast. My running group, Fast Forward encouraged us all to come out and do it, which was all the motivation I needed. I wanted to do this race last year but I had go out of town for a wedding instead.
So I paid my $15 to run a mile (and I thought my Whole Foods salad on Monday night was a frivolous expenditure!) and ran from my house to the start area as an easy warm up. I warmed up some more with the Fast Forward folks, enjoyed a nice pep talk from the coach and formulated my plan: Go out hard and try to hold the pace. I had no idea what my time would be but I was hoping for 7 minutes or better.
I watched the little kids come through the finish for the kids 1/2 miler, which was very cute, and then it was our turn. “Us” being the “Friends and Family Non-competitive Wave” If I thank Fast Forward Sports for nothing else, ever, I owe them infinite thanks for sending out the email with specific instructions to sign up for this wave.
“How come I can’t register as Women’s Open? Non-competitive? I’m going to be elbowing jog stroller people out of the way!” I asked the coach.
“If you want to line up with Collen DeReuck and all the rest of the female elite runners, you can, but I wouldn’t if I were you,” he admonished.
Duh. I forgot this is Boulder, where you have to climb Mount Everest or run a sub 3 hour marathon for anyone to think you’re mildly special.
So I lined up with all the regular folk and when it was time to go, I went, pretending it was just a mile repeat with no need to save anything for the subsequent repeats. My thoughts went like this:
Run run run run run. There’s Dan on a bench cheering for me. Hi babe. Run run run. Just run. Don’t think. Just run. Don’t think. Guy in a red shirt with floppy hair passed me. Pass him back. Oh he passed me again. Keep running. Just run. Just run. Just run. My throat is dry. Really dry. Keep running. I can’t breathe. Air is for the weak. Air is stupid. Keep running. Its almost over at the traffic light. Don’t slow down. I think I see Dan. He’s saying “Go Pammy.” Mentally I say hi. Can’t talk. Why is a grandpa passing me. Almost done. Turn the last corner. Gonna puke. Don’t vomit. Run faster. Almost there. Clock says 6:57. Run run run run run. 7:01. Ok. I can breathe again.
Then the wheels started turning… What if it were on the track? What if I hadn’t gone to Booty Camp this morning? What if it were at sea level? What. Ever. I ran as fast as I could.