What a crazy taper week of highs and lows, ending on a high note at the Cottage Grove Half-Marathon with a two-minute PR in the half marathon (1:30:38, just missing my sub-1:30 goal), winning my age group, placing second woman, and 11th overall! The moral of that story? The treadmill works. I developed a severe neck kink last weekend (from who knows what, grrr) that lead to serious pain, and landed me in the chiropractor’s office three times in as many days. Although not a normal pain-killer type of girl, I ended up on a Percocet/Ibuprofen mix for a couple of days that allowed my muscles to relax and by Friday I could look mostly all the way to the left again. I kept up with my miles, even my at-pace ones, because staring straight ahead and running didn’t hurt any worse than doing nothing. Race day was fantastic; I ran with a good group of friends, three of us won our respective age groups, and we celebrated post-race at my house with our families. Running is community. Running is family. I am a lucky girl.
Sunday: Rest day
Monday: 5 miles with four strides.
Tuesday: 6 miles with 2@6:39. My little running Yorkie, Scout, joined me on a workout run today, which is a first. He got a mile-PR today with our second one coming in at 6:32. What a little stud.
Wednesday: 6 treadmill miles, recovery pace.
Thursday: 3 miles, recovery pace.
Friday: 3 miles with 1@6:50. Brought the dog again today and decided I need to find a dog-friendly race. We would kick some butt! Feeling ready for the race tomorrow, legs feel rested and twitchy. Neck feels the best if has all week. Picked up packets for my whole group and smoked a pork shoulder all day. Cannot wait for tomorrow!
Saturday: RACE DAY! 2-mile warm up, 13.1 miles 1:30:38, (6:54 pace). What a strange feeling: the race today is right here in my town, on my trail I run several times a week. I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, or eat super early, or poo in a porta-potty; just a very low-stress start to the morning. We all met at my house prior and carpooled to the start, warmed up, and then the busses of the other runners arrived. We eyed the other runners, commented on which people we thought we’d lose to or beat, and then it was time to line up. The RD called those going for 1:30 or less to gather up front, and only one other girl came to the front with me. Young, sleek, in bright pink bun-huggers. She ended up getting a 1:20, so was totally out of my league.
The lead pack (of only nine people, come to find out) pulled ahead quickly and then a super fit guy, Mr. Green Tank Top, and I were alone, he about 10 strides ahead of me. He was super-fit-looking, and I expected him to pull away after a while, but by mile three I pulled about 15 strides in front of him and kept it that way til the very end. Running dad/coach was at every pull-off shouting encouragement, the last four miles I had to dig deep and I knew that I was just going to just miss my sub-1:30 goal, but I didn’t feel badly about it. I was hanging on to a sub-7:00 pace by sheer grit. Mr. Green Tank Top was still on my heels, and I dug with all I had left, he one-stepped me right at the finish line so he finished 10th to my 11th by one-second. Is that getting dicked rather than chicked? I’m not upset about that either, though. He immediately turned and we high-fived and he started raving about how I pulled him through the race and how much he appreciated it. I was all smiles, my kids surrounded me with hugs and running dad Lonn squeezed the breath out of me. My friends trickled in over the next 15 minutes, a great day for us all. Three age-group winners, three PRs, one strongest race post-baby, smiles all around. Followed with delicious food and drink at my house with a surprise birthday celebration for Lonn. My heart is full.