Moving on to yesterday. It was a good day - work was busy, I made sure to make smart food choices (minus the mini bag of Skittles - it was calling out to me, totally not my fault!), and drank plenty of water.
Came home and rolled out the hamstrings and piriformis with this candle. No, I'm no joking - I have yet to obtain a foam roller, and couldn't locate a rolling pin. Desperate times people..
Worked like a charm, with the added bonus of having scented running shorts by the end (you're welcome, to all those running behind me last night!). The only thing I didn't think about was how waxy my butt would get. Oh well, small price to pay..
Got to the race in plenty of time to get in a decent warm-up - 2 painful slow miles, watching the stormy sky, and just waiting for it to open up. Thankfully it never rained more than just a sprinkle.
I haven't raced in forever, and as much as I would like to pretend that speedwork in training is the same, it's not. You put me on a line with 2000+ other people, and it's nothing like doing a track workout or a tempo run. As I made my way to the starting line, I changed my race plan about 6 times. I was a giant ball of nerves.
Thinking there was a starting mat (it was chip timing), I tucked in with a group of people mid-pack. We were a good distance from the actual starting line, but my plan was to just jog to the start, and take it from there.
Gun goes off, the crowd inches forward. As I cross the start line, I look down. No mat. *&^$%&*!!! I just lost almost a minute!! Doesn't matter, I have my Garmin, which will give me MY accurate time. Okay - time to focus.
I found a pace which felt "good". Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew it was too fast (for me), but it was nice to feel like I was working. Mile 1: 7:37. Oh shit. Again, my mind was telling me that unless I wanted to this to be a death march at the end, I should probably slow down. However, the legs felt like moving. And they won the mind vs legs battle. Mile 2: 7:39. It was about here that my mind told my legs that this race was NOT a 5K, and I was going to be in monster trouble in about a half hour. My legs gave in a little, but not much. Mile 3: 7:51.
The realization that I was an idiot and went out WAY too fast washed over me. My legs felt it, and my mind knew it. I needed to avoid the downward mental spiral, or it was game over for me. I needed to re-adjust, and try to stay around 8's the rest of the night. IF I hadn't already blown up too hard. Mile 4: 7:57. Okay, this is where I probably should be - settle in Meaghan, settle in.
My legs were feeling 10K-ish, and this is a 10-miler. Glorious. There's a hill that although doesn't get steep until Mile 6, starts somewhere around Mile 5. I'm NOT a good hill runner, and the aforementioned 10K legs aren't helping me much. Mile 5: 8:18. Oh, this is so not good.
Mile 6 was the low point of the night for me. I saw a group of people in front of their house with an extra lawn chair and a cooler. "Hmmm, maybe I can gracefully bow out. No one would really care, and I could be done.." "This is stupid. I feel like hell, this hill hurts, and I'm not meant to be a runner. Maybe I should take up competitive knitting. Yes, that's what I'm going to do, starting tomorrow". "if I stop here, and cut through neighborhoods, would the walk back REALLY be that long?". Yeah, it got reeealllllyyyy ugly in my mind. This is what I shall call my "meltdown mile". Mile 6: 8:40. Nope, not a typo kids, NOT a typo. Don't be jealous.
I needed to make a choice - mail in the rest of the race, or figure out how to push through this and pull out a somewhat respectable time. I knew I wasn't going to bring it back to 7:37's, but I needed to force my legs to do what they could at this stage of the game. Just focus, and trust my legs know what to do. Mile 7: 8:14. Better.
Facts: I felt like hell. My stomach was cramping, I had gone to a much less than ideal mental place, and my head was all foggy. I needed to just trust my legs. I only needed to get to mile 8. I was now running for "2 miles to go". I can do this. During this mile, I overhear a tween talking to her friend: "if these people aren't winning, why are they doing this?". Good question kid, good question. Mile 8: 8:12.
Two itty bitty miles to go. Worst case, 20 minutes. I'm thinking "I can run for 20 minutes. I'm only going to focus on getting to mile 9. Then I only have a mile. Every step I take is one step closer to mile 9. Just keep moving forward." It was about here I swore off ever doing a marathon again. I'm only 8 miles in and feel like I wanted to die. How the hell would I ever make it 18 more?? Yikes. Mile 9: 8:17.
Last mile. Oh God I just wanted to be done. I could feel my stomach revolting, and just needed to keep everything down for another 8-10 minutes. I just put my head down, and concentrated on one foot in front of the other. It was such a long mile. I knew I was in a place to most likely PR on this course, but knew I had no chance of PR'ing at the distance. I knew it was due to my terrible race pacing, but chose not to think about that until after the race. Mile 10: 7:59.
Total time: 1:20:45.
Average pace/mile: 8:04
(1) I knocked 3 minutes off my time on this course from last year
(2) I was only 45 seconds off my 10-mile PR, and this was a Tuesday night "race".
Not so positives:
(1) I ran the race like a moron
(2) I allowed myself to go to a terrible mental place
(3) I lost perspective
(4) I didn't run to my potential
I have a lot of thinking to do, and clearly a lot of work to do. I'm happy I did the race, and I'll most definitely do it again next year.