The title of today’s post is courtesy of Mama Marathon who said it to me before Saturday’s 10K. I had told her to run like the wind and said I’d be in the back of the pack running like a breeze; in reply, she told me to run like I stole something. I think that might be one of the funniest things I’ve heard lately. (BTW, she ended up having a great race.)
So, the 10K. The one that I signed up for 13 days in advance, having never run that distance. How did it go? Overall, I’m pleased with how things went, with a few exceptions that I’ll get to in a moment.
It was 35 degrees when I left Jenworld and walked to the race start. Yes, walked. It was about 1.5 miles and I felt good and warmed up by the time I got there.
Knowing how to dress for this weather is proving tricky. Sure it was hovering above freezing when I headed out, but the sun would be rising 30 minutes later and I knew that the temps would rise 10-15 degrees while I was running, but also I’d be warm from the run, but then later on cool and shivering. What to wear?
I wore a short-sleeve technical shirt over a long-sleeve one and then a fleece vest over that. I got hot and unzipped the vest, so it flapped around in an annoying fashion the whole time. I wore long running pants, but they were thin, so I also need to get some Under Armor, because my legs and butt were cold, in spite of the rivulets of sweat making tracks all over my body.
Another thing I learned on Saturday is, if I’m walking to a race, to estimate my travel time correctly. I calculated times based on walking a mile, not 1.5 miles, so I arrived only 5-6 minutes before the start. That’s cutting things a bit too fine.
One thing about Saturday’s race that was different for me was the fact that it was co-ed. This was my first time running with men, not that it really mattered, as I never really saw any of them from my spot at the back of the pack.
Since I had walked/biked/run the race course a few times, I thought I had a handle on what to expect; however, it turns out that I’d read the race map incorrectly and that the first quarter mile was not what I thought it was. (Seriously CRC people, why can’t you just link to Google Maps or Map My Run and also include a course profile so we can see the inclines?) Instead of a gentle uphill incline, there was an immediate good-sized hill, followed shortly thereafter by another decent-sized hill. After that, it was all familiar turf, but I started off winded.
Unfortunately, that early change in how I’d imagined the race rattled me and I spent the next 6 miles playing head games with myself. My inner voice is probably the hardest thing I have to deal with and I am my own worst enemy. For some reason, I couldn’t quite get into my running happy place and spent far too many minutes messing with myself. I tried to get into the zone — I tried affirmations and all that, but Ima kick its ass utterly failed me this time. If I’m going to run a half marathon next April — and, no, I still have not decided — I need to put a muzzle on my inner critic, who really is quite mean and nasty.
I think part of my problem is that most of the time, while I know that I’m a slow runner, I don’t quite realize just how slow I am until I’m in a pack with other runners. And, while I knew I’d be way in the back, for a few miles there, I had no idea if I was the last runner or not. I refused to look back and so, because I was so very busy tormenting myself mentally, I assumed I was last and just berated myself mercilessly.
I know what you’re going to say: Jen, this is ridiculous. Six months ago, you couldn’t run a mile nonstop and only two weeks ago you couldn’t run six miles. Believe me, I know. I KNOW.
As it happens, I had a pretty good (for me) time of 11:30 on my first mile, then 12:15 on my second mile. By mile 3, I did find a sort of groove and did what I could to prepare myself for mile 4, which I knew would be brutal. That’s the one that starts with a long, painful uphill. I got up that thing, but the only affirmation I could come up with was Dory’s chant from “Finding Nemo”: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming… Hey, whatever works.
Once I got past that hill, however, that was pretty much the last one, other than the usual rolling hills that can be found in my town. This was all very familiar turf, as I’ve run it many, many times. And, best of all, I had race support waiting for me near mile 5, in the form of Pete, who took some photos and high-fived me.
And, it was right around this time that I realized that I was not the last person in the race. Those older women behind me? Ended up smoking me in the last tenth of a mile. And one of them was 70 years old. So after that I was convinced I was the last to cross the line.
After seeing Pete, I got a second wind and pushed hard for the last mile. I finished feeling good and, even better, came within 36 seconds of my goal time of 1 hour, 20 minutes.
[Yes, I realize how slow I am.]
And it turns out that I was not last. I was 294 out of 302.
I really need to get one of those fancy Garmin watches, because I’d love to know what my times were for each mile. My overall average was 13:02 per mile, so maybe I wasn’t dragging as much as I had thought.
As compared to my race two weeks ago, where I averaged 12:36/mile, this past Saturday was slower, but then again, I ran 6K two weeks ago and 10K this past weekend. I’m just happy I was able to do the damn thing and finish it.
The painful irony that I was very aware of as I finished was that I had to retrace the last mile that I had just run, as I had to get home quickly and transform into Soccer Mom mode. Luckily, Pete came to get me on Hubba Bubba, which my tired legs greatly appreciated.
One more important thing I learned: Don’t eat a boiled egg for breakfast before a run. The resulting burps will not be pleasant. I always eat a bowl of oatmeal and fruit before I run, but thought I’d add an egg so as to round things out a bit. Never again.
Another totally random thing: Remember that post a few weeks ago when I talked about runners pooping themselves on longer runs? Well, my friend Prairie Trails sent me this fascinating — albeit a bit gross — link about the larger scatological issues that a great many athletes face. In short, we all poop and some people manage to lose control in rather spectacular and public ways. I just pray it’s never me.
So that’s the post-race report. Coming up next, I have a 5K in 12 days and the course is very hilly, so I’ll be running it at least a couple more times. I’m also hoping to push myself a bit for my long run later this week and attempt an 8 mile route. I know I’ll walk a fair amount of it the first time, so my plan is to run/walk it, then rest for a week before trying it again. I’d like to have that distance more or less mastered by Thanksgiving weekend so that I can start pushing on toward 10 miles after that. My hope is to have 10 miles under control by New Year’s Day, so that I can spend the winter pushing toward 12-13 miles and then maintaining it. If all goes well, I’ll sign up for the half marathon in February or March.
How was your weekend?