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For just over a month now, Z and I have been training for The Leprechaun 8K Charity Run.

We were running with a group from Z’s church on behalf of ActiveWater, a non-profit from Michigan, that works to build wells and filters in communities in Zambia and Cambodia to help end the water crisis. image

Every Saturday Z and I met up with members of our team for a run around the church and Hopkins campus.

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The farthest distance we ever went during these runs was around 3.5 miles. An 8K = 4.97 miles. Hence my trepidation when it came time for the race. In addition, Z had to attend a last minute training which meant that he could not do the race after all. Even though it would have been easy for me to pass up, I decided to go on without him and prove to myself I could do it.

The day before the race I was in a bad place. Stomach pains made it uncomfortable to even stand…and I was supposed to be running?!?

I woke up the morning of the race and while still not 100% I decided to give it my best shot. I planned on keeping it slow and steady and being careful not to push myself.

The race was held at The Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, MD (a 40 minute drive from downtown Baltimore). When I got in the car in Baltimore the temperature was 42 degrees. By the time I arrived it was 36. Yikes!016

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It was a small race seeing as how this was the first year, under 150 runners. Packet pick-up took place on site and there were restroom facilities right near by (always ideal).

I met up with the rest of my team and once 8:00 hit we were on our way!

The tracking app on my phone never actually started so I shall have to resort to Google Pedometer instead:

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The pre-race instructions were “just turn-right.” Once leaving the grounds we made one large loop through a neighborhood then past lots of farm land.

I saw a turkey off in the distance and watched as geese, swallows and a Great Blue Heron flew overhead. I certainly was not in Baltimore anymore…

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Seeing as how I still felt a tad sickly my goal was to keep things slow and steady. I have a tendency to get competitive at the start of a race and go at a faster than usual pace.  This causes me to fizzle out towards the end and often times experience cramping along the way because I didn’t allow time to warm up. Not this time!

I started at a nice easy pace, found a girl in front of me going a similar speed, and kept pace with her the entire time. My stomach started out a bit iffy, but by the time I hit mile 3 it was a non-issue.

I was so happy to be able to fall into a rhythm, enjoy the scenery and an awesome playlist.

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“Light Em Up” by Fall Out Boy = best running song ever. It has a perfect tempo for my pace and gets me pumped up! That and “Heart Attack” by Demi Lovato. Although I hate to admit that I listen to/like it the song is catchy and has a great beat.

Once I passed the mile 4 marker I was good to go. I put on Fall Out Boy (again) and picked up my pace to the finish line (see picture below…not actually me but you get the idea). 015

My time was 53:38 (I think). That averages to be 10.6 mi/mil. My fastest speed? No. But it was the furthest I’ve run in almost 2 years (my one and only 10K was July ‘11).  I also finished feeling good, not crampy and exhausted. A success in my book!

There was plenty of water, coffee, bananas, orange slices and bagels awaiting us at the finish as well as Irish music (it was a Leprechaun race after all!).

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I grabbed a snack and headed up the lawn to stretch in the sunshine and take in the scenery.

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I was definitely proud of myself. Running does not come easily to me so every race is an accomplishment in my book. 020

8K-Check! Next up: The Color Run 5K in May.

I want to know…

Are you running a race this spring? If so, which one?

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