Well, I did it. I raced for the first time in a long time and not just any race, 10 long miles of race. At 2 months into training after 2.5 years of being out of shape, I’m obviously not in PR shape, but it felt great to put on my spandex and racing flats and give it a go and I didn’t berate myself for finishing almost exactly 3:00 slower than my PR. In fact, I chalk it up as a small victory that I focused and got it done knowing I wasn’t going to somehow miraculously run way faster than all prerace indications of my fitness forecast or that my training buddy kicked my behind from here to next Thursday (great race, Marisa!)
It wasn’t a perfect performance, I did not dig as deep as maybe I could have the last few miles allowing myself to get frustrated by some stiff gusts of wind. And I then excused these brief moments of slacking, by telling myself I wasn’t going to catch my buddy even if I did and that there was no one behind me breathing down my neck. But with more training and races, I will keep working on my focus and going deeper into those last miles. Relatively speaking though, I kept my focus and pushed harder than I have in other races even with nobody around and no heroic performance on the line.
One thing this race brought to light is that I have something very obvious holding me back and it’s been holding me back since I started racing. Yep, we’re talking my wonky arm swing. I know it’s definitely a problem at the end of races when I’m tired. Virtually every race photo of me from the end of the race shows me twisting my shoulders and arms across my body with each stride. Yikes! It’s definitely something I need to work on if I want to reach my goals. On one hand it feels daunting to have to change something that is obviously programmed deep inside of my DNA (my sister does it too!), but on the other, this is some serious low hanging fruit and I can’t help but wonder if improving this one thing will instantly make me significantly faster. Time (and lots of strides and drills and reminders to unwonk the arms) will tell.
Besides all that, I had so much fun at this race! I have never had so many people cheering for me ever! I’ve won races and not felt this much love. There was a turn around at mile 4 and we had to run back along the same course, so I could see all the runners ahead and all the runners behind in the race. Having so many friends in the race cheering for me was so touching and helped me remember how fun this whole endeavor is. And watching lots of those friends pr their faces off (tm Wasabi) just added to the joy. It was awesome!!!
The rest of the week was pretty darn solid too!
Mon: 8 easy no watch starting before the sun.
Tue: a.m. 3 early miles and then 9 with “track.” The track was occupied so we hit up a park next to the school and did a workout on a rolling path. We ran, 1.5 miles; 1 mile; .5 miles with 2:00 running rest in between at 8:00 pace. We were to start at 7:00 pace and then each half mile of the workout cut down so that the last .5 was at 5k pace. We kicked butt! 1.5 in 10:07 (3:25, 3:22, 3:20), 1 mile in 6:18 (3:11, 3:07) and then .5 in 3:00. Felt awesome and it was a super fun workout!
Wed: Easy 6 on the Y treadmill in 8:30 pace.
Thu: 8 early miles averaging 7:45. Woo! That is a feat in the early a.m.!
Fri: 5 easy and early.
Sat: 14.5 with 10 mile race in 1:07:47 (6:47 average, I think)
Sun: 12.1 with Marisa in 99 minutes. I felt better than expected and the miles on trails and roads surprisingly flew by.