It's never a good sign when you are standing at the registration table and you overhear the guy behind you saying the 10k course is "brutal." Apparently "back-country roads" = 6 straight miles of mountain-like hills that suck the life out of you. That, combined with 4 hours of crappy sleep and cross-country jet lag, made me reassess my race plan after about 1.5 miles. My original plan had been to run the first 5 miles as my long run for the week, and walk the rest as a cool-down. I decided that as long as I ran at least 5 miles total, it was ok if I took walk breaks in-between. I coordinated my walking with water stops so at least I had an excuse. After 3.5 miles I felt like I was running out of steam fast so I took half a Gu, which helped a little. All in all, I ended up running 5.25 miles and walking .95 miles total. I probably didn't need my last walk break, but I knew I was going to make my time goal (1:15) so I slacked off. My finish time was 1:12.55, average pace 11:41 per mile. Not my fastest race, but not bad for walking almost a mile. My first 2 miles were sub-11, which I haven't done before in a race. The remaining miles were in the 11s and 12s due to walk breaks.
The best part of the race was the last .1 mile, one volunteer yelled "you're almost there! you've got this!" and then going into the last turn another volunteer yelled out my race number and said "finish strong!" and I sprinted to the finish line with the biggest smile on my face. They handed me a rose since it was a "Run for the Roses" (part of Portland's Rose Festival), and I sat on the astro-turf (high school football field) drinking water and eating a banana. It was an awesome race atmosphere, more friendly and less pretentious than some of the races I've done in VA. One woman at the banana table asked me how I did and I just smiled and said "I finished!" and she laughed.
The man at the registration table was right, the course was brutal. But it was awesome. I absolutely loved this race and would do it again tomorrow. My knees aren't really in agreement right now, but I could probably convince them. I posted on my facebook after the race, "never thought I would say this...just ran my first 10k!" I really never could have imagined that I would be able to do that. I feel like I accomplished something, and it feels so good! Can't wait till the next 10K to do it again.