I haven't raced since mid-October, and I've really missed it - there's just a rush from being able to compete that I don't get from workouts. In workouts, you have to hit the optimal effort; in races, you get to taste your max.
I had a number of different races to choose from, but ended up going with Ringing in Hope - it was a long drive for me, but had the advantage of ending early enough to not interfere with New Year's Eve prep (this is the same reason that I didn't do a New Years Day race). We had a 5K and 10K choice - I opted for the 10K, simply because I thought the longer distance would be a better fit for marathon training.
(I'm fibbing - I hate 5Ks).
So showed up, registered, warmed up (in a manner of speaking - it was cold, and my feet didn't get feeling until mile 3 of my warm-up). Did a few drills and strides, and then lined up, and we were off. 5K and 10K running together.
And yup, let myself get dragged out with the 5K runners. Not horribly so, but in retrospect, I went out at a pace more appropriate for a 5K than a 10K. Which makes sense, since I was running with 5K runners. But not good for me. When I haven't raced in a while, I'm prone to going out too fast, and that's exactly what happened here.
After about 6 or 7 minutes, I relaxed and found my rhythm, and just tried to hold steady. The course itself was a nice one - no huge hills, just a continuing sequence of long rises and long gentle falls. And though the course had quite a few turns, plus the confusion of 5K and 10K runners combined, it was well directed.
A bit after mile 3, my legs started getting pretty tired - in retrospect it was my too fast first mile catching up with me. I had figured out when the 5K split off that I was leading the 10K, and I focused on holding a steady effort to keep that lead. But some time after mile marker 4, another woman passed me. I tried to go with her for a few steps, but my legs were pretty leaden, and didn't have it in them to pick it up. It killed me to let her go, but all I could do was to hold my same steady hard effort, and hope that she would burn out and come back to me.
But she didn't. She kept pulling away steadily. As my coach noted to me later, she had executed the start slow/finish strong very well, while I had not. And the win was the price I paid. It's never fun to lose, though it was a good reminder of the importance of pacing your race well. Here, the race started at mile 4, but by that point, I had already run mine.
Oh well. I kept at it - I might be second, but I could still do the best with what I had in me. My legs were really tired by this point, and I laughed a bit inside at just how lousy my form must look, but I kept putting one in front of the other -- good practice for marathoning. When I *finally* saw the finish line, it was a relief.
Final time was 40:58. The consensus from the few people I spoke to was that the course was a bit long - my Garmin measured 6.4, with people getting between 6.33 and 6.45. I know there's the traditional refrain of "but my Garmin..." and the truthful and logical rebuttal that Garmins are always going to read slightly long. But 6.4 is far outside my Garmin's normal range of error. The story I heard was that the course was measured on one path, but then the cones were set to make us follow a wider path that added distance.
Not that it matters. I wanted a long hard run and a race, and I got both, so I'm happy. Now I just need to pace my next race better. Getting into better shape would be nice also, but that will come. As a rustbuster this wasn't bad at all.
Splits per Garmin (who knows what the mile splits actually were, but this is the closest I got:
Mile 1 - 6:19 (1.02 miles - 6:12 pace)
Mile 2 - 6:40 (1.06 - 6:19 pace)
Mile 3 - 6:45 (1.04 - 6:29 pace)
Mile 4 - 6:39 (1.00 - 6:39 pace )
Mile 5 - 6:37 (1.04 - 6:23 pace)
Mile 6 - 6:40 (1.03 - 6:28 pace)
last bit - .21 - 1.19 (6:16 pace)
- Temp was supposedly 39 degrees, but felt MUCH colder. But was perfect for racing once we got going. The total lack of wind was a nice bonus. We really lucked with the weather.
- Took me 45 minutes to get out there. I really need to get another EZ pass for the tolls.
- Wore my trainers (Kinvaras) rather than my racing flats. I didn't want to risk a plantar fascia relapse. And not like my trainers are that heavy anyway. I still haven't decided whether I'll race my half in my flats or my trainers.
- One puff of Dulera 3 hours before.