Sunday, April 24, 2011

How I Earned My Cadbury Eggs

I have been looking forward to the local spring 10 mile race for some time. I have always really liked the course and I feel like I'm ready to start taking down my old pr's. My 10 mile pr, at 1:05:21 was definitely one of my best pr's so I knew it wouldn't be easy. G said he wanted me to run 1:05:30 (6:33) or better. I felt confident I could do that.

The weather here has been crazy. It was cold, rainy and windy all week. The night before the race there was a crazy wild thunderstorm and poof, by morning it was a balmy 60 degrees. It was still windy, but the rain and cold were gone. I'll take it!

I met up with my friend and fellow G-trainee, CV for a warm-up. We got in 1.5 plus bathroom breaks before hitting the starting line for strides. I did 4 100ish meter strides and hit the line. G came to see us and gave us a little pep talk, which basically amounted to relax and don't be wusses.

The gun went off and so did we. The start is downhill so we were flying a little too fast. I wasn't watching pace at that point and CV told me what it was, but I only heard 41, so I thought we were going too slow. Oops. She meant 5:41! I backed off a bit once I realized that and CV got a bit ahead of me. A guy that was running near me said, "Don't worry. It's 10 miles. There's a lot of time." Ha! I don't think he realized we were friends and training partners! I saw her pass the mile in 6:07 and I passed at 6:13. Oops. When I passed the mile marker I heard a dude behind me yell, "Good job, Salty. Now settle in!" I still have no idea who that was! But thanks, dude :)

The next mile was a little slow: 6:32. I was reeling in CV though and by 2.5 I had caught her. As I was just about to catch her, the guy who told me not to worry said, "See!" Ha! He cracked me up. I guess he had his money on me that morning. She stayed with me for about .5 miles, but then she fell back. My mile 3 was 6:24. Mile 4 was really windy. Maybe it was because I no longer had CV to focus on to keep my mind off of it, but it was really bugging me. I drafted off of a couple of dudes when they were around, but mostly I just tried to not fight too hard and just roll with it. I was still doing pretty well with the pace: another 6:32.

Right around mile 4 is a turn around. I love races where I get to run back and see all the people behind me. Sure, it feels good to see so many people behind me! But it is also nice to look for friends and just generally have more people around to keep me company. I so often end up racing alone and this race was no different. Since I was the first woman at this point, I was getting crazy mad love from the other runners. I had a perma-smile on my face for this mile and a half. I slapped friend's hands and was so happy to see so many others. It was just great. Mile 5 was 6:30.

Once the crowds dissipated and I was back on my own, I was really alone as there was a pack about 10 seconds ahead of me and no one else around. Even the spectators kept telling me I had NOBODY behind me! To make matters worse the sun was out and with the wind mostly out of my face it was HOT. I started to struggle a bit to stay focused and committed. I thought it might help to switch screens on my Garmin and work off of the pace settings, but I think it made me more depressed as I was struggling to run in the 6:40's. Before the race I had a solid plan for the first 4 and then a plan for the last 2, but I didn't really make a solid plan for miles 5-8. These were the hardest miles and without a mantra or an idea of how to get through them I slacked off a bit and started to feel discouraged. Miles 6-8 were 6:46, 6:48 and 6:42. UGLY!

But my plan was to do a gut check at mile 8 and if I could go faster to do so. I made a turn and saw I was gaining on that pack and went to work. I switched my Garmin display back to time and off the pace setting so I could just ignore the watch (which was depressingly informing me I was now off pr pace) and to just go. I passed one guy and then a couple of others and then some more. I passed mile 9 in 6:14! Woo!

And then at mile 9 the plan was to do another gut check and to decide how much I had left and to let it all out. LEAVE NOTHING ON THAT COURSE! So, I decided I could go even faster and started to hammer. I was FLYING! I felt amazing. There is a long windy downhill as the course meanders down a bike path to a park where the finish is. I seized that downhill and blew past a few more guys. As I came to the bottom I saw G who was encouraging me to let it all out. I was still feeling great and then I turned to go on the last loop around the park and that lakefront wind just socked it to me. I kept pushing though. It sucked, but I pushed as hard as I could through it. I pushed all the way to the finish passing dude after dude and finally I saw the clock and new I had that pr. 34 seconds baby! I rolled in with a 1:04:47.00 and the win!

I checked the split and I ran the last mile in 5:59! I am so proud of that, especially with the insane wind. I realized that I actually had a lot left those last 2 miles and I'll remember that when I hit a rough patch in my next race. I definitely need a game plan for running alone during those late middle miles when it's too early to push the pace, but too early to give up!

Anyway, this pr makes me really happy. As I said, my 10 mile pr was one of my stronger ones. This pr takes me to a new level when I look at the predicted equivalent performances at other distances: if the predictors are right, I am in shape to pr at every distance!

So with a pr, I kicked off a great weekend. It was #2's first Easter and the first time peanut really got the whole concept of a holiday. He has been telling the Easter bunny decoration on our kitchen window what he'd like him to bring in his Easter basket for a month now. When peanut wanted to throw his veggies on the floor, we would point to the Easter bunny and explain that he doesn't bring goodies to little boys who don't eat their vegetables! I am going to miss that bunny in the window!

Yesterday, peanut was so excited to come downstairs and see the Easter bunny brought him the "enginths" (Thomas the Train engines) he's been asking for. I guess eating all those vegetables was well worth the trouble, eh, peanut?


E-Speed said...

Congrats girl! So proud of you! You are on fire!

Mindi said...

Woo hooo! Nice work!

Vince A. said...

Congrats speedy! PR's are the stuff of life.

Mnowac said...

Nice job! I was so excited to see you fly back.

allanjel said...

For a fast runner, you sure are slow to update your new 10 mile PR on your blog ;o)