Reading over my old race recaps helps get me ready for races. It reminds me of what I've learned, how I felt at certain points, what my goals are, etc. This race was a week ago and it's already a little fuzzy.
I read my marathon blog. And the lesson from that was: START SLOW, START SLOW, START SLOW. I read HM #s 6 and 7 and the lessons there were: start slow. And then run fast! You want that sub 1:50. You know you can do it. Get under 1:50!!! I read HM #5 where I was in such a zone and had an incredible run on a very tough course. I visualized myself feeling that way again.
And at the starting line last week, I pictured myself at #5s starting line. I channeled that energy. Get. in. the. zone!
One concern was that I hadn't trained for this race. I was just trusting that coming off a marathon 4 weeks ago was enough. I hadn't run over 6 miles since the marathon. Not ideal training! But, whatever.
This race is almost all downhill (until mile 11). It's known as a speedy and beautiful course. We couldn't have asked for better weather. 40 degrees at the start. The sun was out, leaves were golden and every shade of red imaginable. My personal runner's heaven!
But, another concern was starting with 2 friends and DH. I was worried because I really wanted to run my own race and not try to keep up with anyone else. But then I looked on the bright side, and realized this would force me to start slow because I would have to chat and be aware of my breathing. I was honest and told them my plan. They are all faster than me and agreed to get me off to a good start.
And it worked:
8:04 (This was a huge downhill so easy to run speedy)
By this point we all broke apart. I put my earbuds in and picked it up.
Whoa! Slow down, sister. Too early to go that fast. My goal was 8:05s-8:25s because I figured that would get me the average of 8:19s I needed for a 1:49.
So when mile 5 is 8:03 I really did say aloud, "Seriously! slow down." I reminded myself not to make this same mistake again. I gave myself a little lecture for the entire mile. And was pretty happy with the next Garmin vibration:
But then there's that delicate balance of slowing down too much, so I had to pick it up a bit.
Around mile 9 I noticed that familiar slump in most runners around me. Head down, shoulders rolled in. My dad calls it the survivor shuffle. Oh, how I know that feeling. Mile 9 is usually a very ugly place for me in a HM. But this time I felt strong and amazing. 8:05! Yes! yes! yes! I felt so good.
And then... this is where the race gets cruel. There is also a 10 mile event. You have to run right by their finish line. And! Then the very few hills on the entire course start here.
Don't slow down anymore, I tell myself. You need another 8:20. But suddenly I feel the fatigue.
The mile 11 marker is half way up a hill. My watched buzzed 8:30
Nooooo! Not again. I knew I was slowing too much and I didn't have all that many seconds to spare. And I was only halfway up a monster hill and I knew there was one more coming.
mile 12 is 8:58
NOOOOOO! I kicked it into high gear. I wanted to finish strong. In August I gave up a little at the end and I refused to feel that way again. I ran as hard and fast as I could. And it hurt. A lot. Most painful 8:12 mile I've ever run.
Turns out 13.1 miles is really far and it's a bad idea to go in with a marathoner's over confidence. I really thought it wouldn't be as hard as it was at the end. Another lesson learned! Respect the distance.
ha! Nothing like cutting it close.
A few of my favorite race things: a PR, a fun medal, and chocolate muscle milk!