Doing a 10K seemed like a good idea when they first proposed it. It seemed like a good idea after I'd done a 10K in practice. And it even still seemed like a good idea after I'd done a 15 lap mass start race last weekend. By the time I got up at 5:30 this morning, though, a 10K was beginning to seem like a "what the Hell was I thinking?" kind of idea. My distance races so far this year--all one 3000 and one 5000 of them--have gone horribly; both were the worst times I've gotten in those distances in about five years. So now suddenly I want to do a race twice as long as any metric race I've ever done?
But I was signed up, so I was going to do it. And I decided that this would be another great opportunity to go into an event with no expectations and no stress, and with a plan to just have as much fun as I possibly could.
So I did.
The 10K was the first event of the day so there wouldn't have been a whole lot of time to stress and fret anyway--if I was into stressing and fretting, that is. As it was, I just had time to do a quick but thorough warmup, and then they were calling us to the line. Which was the first hurdle of the day--I've never done a 10K, and I didn't know where the starting line was. Once we settled that little issue we were ready to go. I was solo in the first "pair," with Mel and Sprinter Boy in the pair behind me. I anticipated getting lapped by both of them, probably multiple times.
And then the gun went, and I was off. I had no one giving me lap times, no clue how I was doing, nothing except the fun of skating. And skating some more. And skating some more. Mel passed me once and lapped me twice, and Sprinter Boy passed me once. Other than that excitement, I just skated along, not minding how high the "laps remaining" number was, not working exceptionally hard (because I had no idea how hard I could or should work for 25 laps), not worrying about how much I had left to do. Eventually, when I had 10 laps left and was still feeling really good, I decided I should try a little harder--so I did. And other than some PVC's with four laps to go, the remaining 10 laps passed as easily and enjoyably as the the first 15 had. When they rang the bell for my final lap I started to smile, and I smiled for the whole last 400 meters--I was going to finish my first 10K, and it felt great.
And then I heard my time, and it felt even greater--18:14.13.
And that was when it dawned on me...oh, yeah...this is what I like about skating. Surprising myself with a good event, loving the way a race went, feeling the "high" after working hard and accomplishing something.
Or, well, not working hard enough, apparently. Mel, who had
And yes, there will be a next time. Maybe not until next year, but I'm pretty sure that if I train for it a bit, get someone to give me lap times, and prepare myself to work a lot harder in the race than I did this time--I can break 18 minutes.
That's another thing I like about skating...there's always something to look forward to. Even if it's looking forward to skating a race that's not quite as much fun as this one was.