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We now interrupt your regularly scheduled sewing and cooking posts to blather about running.

I ran a 10k today. Just a year ago the idea of running 6.4 miles all at once was daunting, a goal for the far-off future. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running since high school…first unwillingly, with my mom, later under more of my own drive. When I moved away from home and started teaching, I really wanted to stay with running, but I never stuck with it consistently. Every year, I’d do the 5k in June with my family and that was a big stretch, bigger than anything else I did the rest of the year.

Then, last summer, I found someone else who also wanted to run regularly and just needed motivation. My friend Laura and I have logged a lot of miles since we started last August…usually about 3 miles a day, 4 days a week. Some weeks have been better, some worse. We had a long interruption over the holidays where the weather got terrible and we got lazy. We had a lot of snowy days spent in the high school weight room–ewww, smelly–because we’re too cheap for a gym membership. Last fall we ran a 10k out at a local ranch. It was the hardest run I’ve ever done–windy, hilly, unfamiliar terrain, and seemingly endless. It made me feel good to finish, though, and gave me the confidence to do it again. 

I did another 10k today, and while it wasn’t torturous like the first one, it wasn’t exactly easy. When I saw the “3 mile” sign, I began to think longingly of the finish, and how I’d already be there if I was doing the 5k. Halfway through the race, I got a blister on one foot. The other foot got all tingly for about 2 miles and made me think it was going numb. Then, just as suddenly, it went back to normal. I started out strong, but by 3 miles in people were passing me all the time. I kept thinking, “This hurts, and I have to do it again for another race in 2 weeks. I am crazy.”  I wasn’t even trying to run fast most of the time; just concentrating on keeping the rhythm and not stopping.

As I approached the finish, I wanted to speed up and finish strong, but I had trouble finding the motivation. Then I saw my parents (they had done the 2-mile walk and 5k and had finished earlier) cheering for me and I didn’t want them to see me dragging in to the finish like a pansy. Somehow I found the juice to pour it on and sprint to the finish…where I heard my name announced as “Jocelyn”. (Thanks, people, for proving your complete inability to read a phonetically clearly spelled name. The only time it never bothered me to be called Jocelyn was when my grandma said that, because I have a cousin Jocelyn and she mixed us up sometimes. That was fine. This is not.)

After finding some water and meeting up with my mom, I went to find out my time. Knowing how tough the race had felt, I had no high expectations for my time. I don’t run fast; I run because it feels good and gives me a sense of accomplishment. It’s fun, even when it hurts.

I found that I had finished the 10k, 6.4 miles, in 58 minutes, 59 seconds, which translates to an average pace of 9:12 per mile. Most mornings, Laura and I run at a pace between 9:30 and 10:00. Even compared with my previous 5k races, this is the best time I’ve ever run. For anything.

It feels really good to have met this goal and conquered it, and done even better than I expected. I guess my next goal will be to see if I can improve when I do another 10k in two weeks. I hope it will be easier…it’s here in town, on the same routes that I run every day. We’ll see. I don’t really aspire to beat anyone else…just myself.