This Saturday morning I trekked down to Denver for the Resolve 5k/10k which was held at City Park. It has been a LONG time since I last ran a 10k and I’m still processing how I feel about the race. In an effort to understand my relationship towards 10k racing, I went back and thought about my first 10k.
My parents met while running socially with friends in college and continued to run through my childhood. My mom ran The Great Race on October 5th, 1986 with my dad and a friend on either side of her to keep people from jostling her. She was 8-months pregnant with me. Growing up, my parents often wore the cotton Great Race t-shirts around the house to do chores. It was a huge deal when I was allowed to run beside my dad for the first time. However, the Great Race has about 10,000 runners each year. The Resolve 5k/10k today had a few hundred, and many of them were 5k participants.
In many ways the 10k is a perfect distance for me. At packet pickup I told my friend Nick, “How can people train for years to run 100-meters at the Olympics. It often takes me 10 seconds just to come up with a response to a question; I would never be able to act that fast!” Give me 40+ minutes to settle in and suffer and I’ll be happy – sort of.
Small races are beneficial because I can quickly find an empty spot of road without spending an entire mile tripping over people’s feet. It also offers me an opportunity to compete for awards. Today I won a free pair of shoes for first place, but I’ll never run a 31:02 10k like the female course record for The Great Race. (I mean, maybe I will. After all, the race today was in the snow and at elevation.) On the other hand, small races mean I can’t chase down competition. I can’t secretly mutter, “Girl in the pink jersey, you’re going down.” I was lucky to have Nick running next to me today, because around mile 4 there was nobody in sight. We made a slight turn and I picked my gaze off the ground, “Nick, are we going the right way??”
My race entry fee basically means that I paid $1/minute of racing. Isn’t that what the going rate for an airport massage is? I really could use one of those. What did I get in return? A fancy timing chip I could have done without, a t-shirt I could have done without, and an aid station that wasn’t manned on the second loop because the woman didn’t have gloves on and I presume got cold in the 10-degree temps. The water bottle I was handed at the finish line was frozen, so it also possible that the aid station volunteer gave up because the water froze.
Yes, I definitely threw in some negatives about racing a small 10k above, but overall I think I’m happy I did it. It was a great way to get out in the sunshine on a cold day. I got to catch up with an old friend. I did it so I can improve my running for half-marathons so it had a purpose for me. And finally, it was fun to run a 10k just like my parents did at my age. It made me feel a bit closer to them today and made me appreciate how much their relationship, built through running, has impacted me.