Saffron’s Training Log and 1st Master’s race report 9-16-13

a few scenes from the long-awaited race day
a few scenes from the long-awaited race day

Hey there runners, and welcome to my Salty Training Log!

After a long summer of injury (June) and rebuilding (July and August), my fall racing season started this week. This meant that it was time to cut back on the mileage, throw in a rest day (hurrah!) and cue up a full 7 days of pre-race anxiety. Now, I have been known to have my share of racing nerves but this week was RIDICULOUS. Every night when I would try to go to sleep I would end up thinking about my road mile race and my heart rate would ramp up, my palms would sweat and I would lose valuable sleep. All this over a 1 mile race! It was silly and I knew it. But I also knew that I had been building up this, my first master’s division race, in my head for at least 2 years, so I tried to just go with it and not get so nervous that I lost my lunch. I did plenty of laughing at my own ridiculousness this week and ultimately I managed to pull off 2 good workouts and the race itself. Here’s how it all went down:

Monday: easy 9 miles with Carter. When I am very lucky I get the chance to run with my high school BFF; today was one of those days.

Tuesday: VO2Max workout. 12 miles in 1:21. Workout was as follows: warm up, drills and strides, then 5 x 1000 meters at 5k pace with 2 minutes rest in between followed by 5 x 200 meters at mile pace with 1 minute rest in between. Cool down. The workout went well and my mile paced 200’s felt easy. But I was still feeling anxious about my race this weekend. After I got done on the treadmill (most of my speedwork is done in my garage with the treadmill set at 1% grade) I headed up to hit the showers and just couldn’t stop thinking about the race. I decided that I would feel less anxious if I did 800 meters at mile race pace, so I got dressed again (in new clothes!) and hopped back on the treadmill. After a 1/4 mile warm up I did 1200 meters at 5:25 average and it felt totally doable. Hurrah! Anxiety was temporarily cured. After all that hoopla I headed to the gym for a core workout.

Wednesday: 8 miles easy on little sleep, more core!

Thursday: Tempo Time! I was initially hoping that due to my race this weekend I would only have one workout this week but alas, this popped up on my schedule so I hit the treadmill. It ended up going much better than I had anticipated and I didn’t feel beat up by it so it all worked out. The workout called for warm up, drills, 2 x 10 minutes at lactate threshold with 2 minutes rest in between, 3 x 1 minute at mile race pace with 1 minute recovery in between, cool down. As is the norm for me I covered the display on the treadmill during the tempo portions to avoid counting down the seconds of each interval and ended up doing more tempo than planned: my intervals were 15 minutes and 11 minutes. On the upside, I felt strong throughout each so I am not complaining!

Friday: 50 minutes easy run. I had hoped to swim today but my schedule got in the way and coach called for running anyway. I was surprised by how good my legs felt!

Saturday: rest! The schedule actually called for a 30 minute taper run but parenthood beckoned so I took the day off to give my son a full day of attention. We had a lovely time and I think my legs thanked me.

Sunday: the BIG DAY. Started out with an easy 4 mile shakeout run with Wasabi followed by a nervous breakfast. As long as I was hanging out with friends my nerves were manageable but whenever I found myself alone my anxiety level got silly high again. The race wasn’t until 2:20 p.m. so I had no choice but to wait it out. Finally it was time to head to the race, warm up, and at long last toe the line. I think I was literally vibrating with anxiety by the time the gun went off! But within 200 meters I calmed down and the meters just started flying by. My goal was to run in the mid-5:20’s: I knew that the master’s course record was 5:26 and I figured that given the field that day it would fall but I just didn’t know if I could be the one to take it down. But by 800 meters I was in front of the other 40+ ladies and the clock said 2:35. WHAT?!?! I felt calm and fresh and strong, but that seemed far too fast. Freaked out, I slowed down for the next 400 meters but when I passed the 1200 meter clock in 3:57 and still felt good I decided to just start to push a little more. Over the last 400 I passed 2 women (and narrowly missed out on passing 2 more, but I didn’t know that due to the chip timing). When I crossed the line I could hardly believe my eyes…5:20! I ended up with the course record, the master’s win and a 2 second lifetime PR. I know this is the kind of race my coach had been expecting but I was surprised and thrilled.

Sunday ended up being the kind of day that makes all the hard work that I put in worth it. I spent the rest of the day completely content. Not only did I have a fantastic race (for me) but all the women who I am privileged to call my teammates ran fantastic races as well. Our masters women finished in 1st, 2nd and 4th and everyone broke 5:50. All that said, I am acutely aware of the massive gulf that stands between me and the best masters women and the room for improvement I still have in my training and racing. I am looking forward to continuing to work and hopefully shaving some more time off my shiny new PR in the next year or so!

Extrovert. Unabashed fan of all things running. Mom/chauffeur/sidekick to a busy child who may be more eloquent than I am and wife to a husband who works so hard many people don't think he actually exists. Gymnast turned coxswain turned competitive runner hoping to become faster as a master.

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