|I managed this self-portrait before dawn
the morning of the race.
As promised, following are my results from the 2011 Tar Heel 10 Miler, run on the campus of UNC and the streets of Chapel Hill on a misty Saturday morning before the sun ever broke through the clouds.
Laurel Hill time: 7:35
Place: 734 out of 2,189 overall; 267 out of 1,252 females; 60 out of 200 females ages 25-29
I began the race on Stadium Drive with a nasty head cold, an injured Achilles (pulled in a soccer game two days prior), and maybe an hour of sleep (worried I’d sleep through my 5 a.m. alarm, I never quite made it to dreamland).
Around mile marker two, I felt a burning sensation in the ball of my left foot. It never went away, forcing me to change the way I run (more naturally a sprinter than a distance runner, I run entire road races on my toes). Hours later, I’d discover the source of the pain – an enormous blood blister.
Near mile marker five, the pain in my Achilles relented, blissfully replaced by a runner’s high.
A few miles later, I called my parents from the course just to check in. Their voices gave me the boost I’d need just moments later.
Soon after we said goodbye, I reached Laurel Hill – the most difficult part of the race, featuring a 200-foot vertical climb over the course of a mile. By then, my lack of sleep had caught up with me. But when I crossed the first timing mat, I pushed myself, getting as close to a sprint as my body permitted. Each time my ruined feet hit the pavement, I heard my little sister’s laugh, and I dug deeper. I crossed the second timing mat at the top of Laurel Hill seven minutes and 35 seconds after crossing the first – meaning I’d run the most challenging mile a minute faster than my average mile pace.
Soon afterward, I heard the music at the finish line as I rounded a bend. And when I reached the final straightaway, as in every race, I pulled out one more sprint for “T.”
I ran the 2011 Tar Heel 10 Miler 12 minutes faster than in 2010, so tonight, true to my word, I’ll make a $60 donation to our Miles to a Miracle campaign. But more importantly, I’ll never stop running. In fact, I got back out on the track tonight, ready to tackle the next race for Taylor. Laurel Hill has nothing on the mountain we have yet to climb. But I believe.
Please consider making a gift of your own to help Taylor’s Tale cross the finish line of the ultimate race: the race to save the lives of children like my little sister. Give Now