Two weeks ago my friend Danielle and I ran the Get in Gear 10k here in Minneapolis. The weather was a perfect 50ish degrees with full sun. My first 10k was the 2010 Get in Gear. That race was much different. I got to the race late, needing to use the restroom. I waited 20 for the porta-potties. After I couldn’t find the start line. Finally, a very nice volunteer, fished opened the gate so I could squeeze through and get started, 45 minutes late. The rain didn’t slow me down as I enjoyed the race, finishing in 56 minutes.
This year was different for many reasons, not just the weather. It was my fifth 10k in 3 years. During that same time I’ve completed various races at other distances, but the 10k while one of my favorites is the race I most overlook. Maybe I give it the middle sibling syndrome, being caught between the 5k and the Half, but I often ignore it. This time,I specifically chose the distance because it was in the middle, giving me the exact challenge I wanted. A race that I could successfully complete but worth the entry fee and motivating enough to get someone to do it with me. I needed this race. Two weeks before almost, Boston happened. My legs ached, screaming at me to get running. My heart heavy, my brain not understanding how to sort all the emotions racing through it. Running is what got me in shape. Races are what made me feel apart of a community. Miles spent in my head, music that pushed me through it all, all of that needed to be honored and not just alone. I had to register for a race after Boston. I read several blogs following a similar thought. Twitter took up the tag #BostonStrong(your city). When Danielle told me about it, we made the decision that it was going on our race shirts. The race went and we finished. The race was not my slowest 10k and not my fastest. It just was.
That is exactly what I needed it to be. I need a race that reconnected me to what it is that I love about running. Seeing the other runners supporting one another. Seeing the other shirts dedicated to Boston. Seeing the spectators along the race course, people cheering on their loved ones and complete strangers, all reminded me why I love this almost otherwise solitary sport.