Tonight was the annual Grand Blue Mile race in downtown Des Moines. This is the third year I signed my 9-year-old niece, Tawnie, up to run it with me. My friend Masha has been talking about getting into running so I told her about the race and she signed up to run it with us too and Andrea, who I run with often was also signed up for tonight’s run. And, it couldn’t have been a better night for it! It was high 70’s, which is a little warm to run, but once we got going through the shade of the buildings, it truly was an amazing night.
Tawnie informed me a few weeks ago that she was going to run it all by herself this year- no help or guidance from me along the way. So, with that, I started thinking about really pushing it to see just how fast I could run it in. I talked to Masha, who agreed to keep an eye on Tawnie if she was around the same pace… I asked Tawnie about a dozen times before the race if she was *sure* she wanted to this all by herself. Exasperated and with a sigh, she told me each and every time a very firm YES NIKKI! So, that was that! Andrea and I made a quick decision to run hard and push each other to the end… after a long wait, the gun went off. Andrea and I turned around and waved goodbye to Tawnie and we were off! We started fast- around a 6 min/mile pace… I decided to think of it as a one mile repeat drill… only we only had to do one and we’d be done! I knew I could hold 6:53 for 6 one mile repeats, so I was secretly hoping to be better than that time. About a quarter-mile in, I noticed how thirsty I was. I stopped drinking water mid afternoon so that I wouldn’t have to pee during the race (small bladder!). I was absolutely parched and breathing hard. I slowed a little bit, Andrea kept pace right in front of me. A little after the half mile mark, I got a ball of phlegm in my throat. Usually, I would spit it out. Unfortunately, everywhere I looked there was another runner. I did NOT want to spit on another runner so I tried to swallow it back. That resulted in me gurgling like an old man and hacking the rest of the race. With that, my chest felt tight but I could see the finish line and knew I could finish. I just kept telling myself I’ve got this! I can do this and don’t give up!
Andrea and I crossed the finish line in 6:40. Her first words were “that was awful! Not awful in race time, but awful in wanting to throw up.” My sentiments exactly. I wanted to throw up. Which meant I had run a good race and pushed myself 🙂 We walked it off and grabbed water and headed back to the finish line to watch for Tawnie and Masha. I saw my dad and asked if he wanted to walk back to catch Tawnie and he told me she was already finished! I couldn’t believe it! She ran the mile in 8:47!!! The last two years we’ve finished in the 11 minute range. Masha was literally *right* behind her. I guess Tawnie followed my race advice and when she saw the finish line, she kicked it into gear and sprinted it in! That’s my girl! She is one tough chic and I just could not be more proud of her!!!!
My next race is on Saturday- I’m running the Drake Half Marathon with Andrea. We have an aggressive goal pace in mind and my hope is that I want to puke when I finish… then, I’ll know I ran a good race and did it right. So, this week, I’m resting and carb loading 🙂 It’s a welcome break… although I am admittedly nervous for the race on Saturday!
Here are some pictures from tonight’s race – cheers!