I promised a longer account of the Run Through Redlands. Here goes.
I was quite nervous before the race. It was showtime and of course the last-minute jitters made me doubt myself. But I figured getting to the race early would have helped, and it did. I got to Redlands about 45 minutes before race time, which was enough for me to comfortably register, put on my bib, relax, walk around and acclimate myself to the whole environment.
But when I got to the start line, I was jittery all over again. Maybe it was the finality of it all, like the no-going-back stage was upon me. At exactly 7:25 though, I had no choice but to run. No more room for nerves, anxiety, nothing. It was on.
I felt good early on. I was erring on the side of caution and was going at a slow and steady pace. For the first mile or two, I ddin't get past 10-minute-miles. Of course, near the end of the second mile I realized my shoe was coming undone and had to stop to tie my shoe. It was a bit annoying and more so because I had forgotten to take care of that before I set off on my run.
Turns out, that was the only time I stopped running. I navigated through hills, long straightaways, parks, residential areas, all throughout Redlands.
After about an hour, I felt good. I was about six miles in at the point and wondered if I could knock out seven miles in an hour. At the start of the seventh mile, I decided to try and pick up the pace a little but by the time I hit the 8-mile mark I realized that wasn't the best idea. My heart rate leapt up to 178 and I knew that pushing it at a heightened pace wasn't a good idea at that point.
But no matter, I was still doing well overall. I made it past the ninth and finally 10th miles and felt good. I'd been doing well to drink water throughout the course but seemingly right after the 10th mile, I was in desperate need of water. Sunday topped out in the mid-90s here in the Inland area, and the sun was getting pretty high even at those early-morning hours.
Of course, when I needed the water, I wasn't finding the water. There wasn't much water between the 10th and 11th mile markers. But when I finally came across some water, I grabbed two cups, drank one and drizzled the other on myself.
By that point, I had passed the 12-mile marker, though I hadn't seen it. It was the only one I did not see. I made it a point to celebrate each one but by Mile 13, I was exhausted and was not up for any celebrating.
I headed down the last stretch as volunteers kept telling us "Four more blocks to go!" and "Three more blocks!" but I couldn't quite see the finish line. It was around a corner and I'd gone into my sprint before than. As soon as I rounded the corner, I saw my wife and daughters. They were happy to see me as a whizzed by them and that gave me plenty of energy to see me through. I ran hard, ran fast and gave everything I had. My final time was 2:14:50.
And I paid for it. I crossed the finish line and slowed down. I wanted to let myself fall down on a patch of grass but made myself keep walking. I grabbed some oranges available to runners and walked towards my family. I dropped to my knees out of pure exhaustion. I needed somethink to drink and thankully my wife had brought me some Gatorade. I was short of breath by that point, literally wheezing short puffs of breath so I guzzled some Gatorade and sucked those oranges dry. I also ate a banana my wife had brought me. Pretty soon, that strange wheezing passed and I gathered myself.
I felt blisters on my feet. My sides hurt. My nipples ached. My muscles were already screaming in pain. My body took quite a beating, quite a pounding and suddenly the heat became intense as I sat there, trying to compose myself. I went back for more oranges (I swear, an orange never tasted that good!) and eventually I felt okay.
My body went through a lot and if I'd have known that before the race... well, I still would have done it but it's not necessarily a pleasant feeling.
Still, it's a great achievement for myself. And I figure once the pain - discomfort would be more accurate I suppose - subsides all I'll be left with are the memories and a sense of accomplishment. I'll take that any day of the week.