The Day I won 1st Place Female
Race: Ninja 10K
Where: Harrisburg PA, City Island.
Weather conditions- Sunny, and humid. Temperature : 72.
Organizer: US Road Running
Shirt : Red tech Ninja shirt
Shirt : Red tech Ninja shirt
Number of runners – 23
Part of our training for the Hershey half includes a 10K, so I picked the Ninja 10K in Harrisburg, because it was giving out finisher medals. It seems that at some point, collecting shirts and bibs is not enough.
So early Saturday morning, we went to get our bibs and shirts, and then headed to get some food. The 5K started at 8:00 am and the 10K at 9:10 am. It seemed weird that the 10K would be the last to start, and so late, but we just went with it.
As the time was getting closer to the run, we didn’t see many other people getting close to the start line. I didn’t think anything of it, I was excited and nervous, and ready to just start running, it was getting hot!
We started at exactly 9:10, and all 23 of us took off running. At first it was a little strange to be at the front of the group, I have done lots of runs, the smallest one being the Irish Jig Jog 5K at which the fastest runners took off flying. We were all huddling behind the man with the yellow shirt, who was wearing a video camera on his head. Right about .10 of a mile, I knew I needed to start running faster and passed him slowly on the left side. About 30 seconds later, a man wearing a gray shirt passed me.
We went down by the river and ran. For me, the first mile is always the longest of the entire race. I can be running my long run day of 10 miles and the first mile still feels as if it lasted 25 minutes. The bike pacer seemed to be bored at the slow pace we were going. I have been training for the half marathon for 3 months now, but my pace is still at 8.45 – 9:30. No leaping speeds here !
The feeling of being at the front of a race was very strange! I kept thinking, ‘There is no way that I’m at the front, this must be a dream…. Am I in another person’s reality? What is happening?” but I kept my pace and kept moving. At around mile 2, I had a magical moment! I was running and only thinking of running and I was transported to a magical place, where I was just floating and happy. It didn’t feel like I was running, I wasn’t hot, or trying to catch my breath, my body was only magically moving through time and space. It was fantastic!
The river path ended shortly before mile 2, at which point we moved up to Front Street. We ran at my usual Sunday Morning route. It was around this point that I started to wonder about the water stations and where there would be one. I was not going to stop at a water fountain, that would mess up my pace and time.
We ran past Wiconisco Street, and I saw a water cooler, provided by Fleetfeet Mechanicsburg, as indicated in the cooler. But I would have to stop, pour my water and dump the cup. Stupidly I kept hoping that there would be a water stop, and that somebody would hand me a cup of water. Nothing.
There were a lot of other runners in the route we took, who were not in the race. And a lot were very supportive of me, and some kept telling me “You go get him!”, “ Stay strong”, “ You got this!”, “ You go get him girl!”. It was all so wonderful, I tried to breathlessly tried to say Thank you as I kept moving.
The turnaround point was at Division Street, there was another water cooler, which also required me to stop pour water and dump the cup. But I kept going. No time to stop. Shortly after this point, The man in the gray shirt started walking. I kept running.
I found Roger at the Fleet Feet Water cooler; he was in what looked like his second cup when he crossed the road to give me a high five. AT that point I wish I would have snatched the cup of water in his hand. But instead I kept going.
Shortly after 3.5 miles we went back to the river trail, and left Front Street. At this point I started to feel a little tired, but told myself to just keep moving and keep running. I slowed down a little, without stopping. I wasn’t struggling, just felt thirsty and my legs were feeling tired. I started to tell myself that if I kept going, I would win first place overall and could finally tell my son that I had won a race. I got a little too confident and started running a bit faster, then slower because I was tired. I had my headphones on, and I kept trying to focus on the music.
It was at around mile 4.5 that the man in the yellow shirt passed me. I kept up with his pace for about .25 of a mile and then realized that I didn’t have it in me to keep his pace, and slowed down again. I felt defeated, then only to remind myself that I was still in the top 2! And that I still had 1.7 miles to go. I started to tell myself that I would still be first place female.
I ran up the ramp going to the Market Street Bridge and I was very happy to know the bridge was the last of the run. I kept running. About .20 miles from me, I saw the man in the yellow shirt cross the finish line. I sprinted the last .05 miles and crossed the finish line. The organizers let me cross the finish ribbon, it was awesome! I got my water, got my medal and was super excited to be done.
The man on the yellow shirt came and shook my hand and congratulate me, I congratulated him too. He said that I kept a good pace the whole run. I waited for Roger to finish so I could take pictures at the finish line.
The medal was bigger than I had expected, it was very nice with a spinning circle on top! I liked that as we crossed the finish line, the announcer would say our name, and our time. I didn’t hear mine, but heard Roger’s. That was one of my favorite things of the run.
When the race was done, a few of the other runners came and congratulated me on my finish, it felt wonderful!
The group of runners was very small, so I didn’t win because I am a fast runner, but because I was one of the few runners. Maybe I shouldn’t try to take my “First Female” win away from myself, after all, a 10K with 2000 people and a 10K with 23 people is still a 10K. I’m proud of myself to keeping a good pace and finishing my run, and I’m happy to be able to report to my son that I have won a race!