I've run two races in the past 7 days.
First, the St. John's 5K put on by my church. It's a fundraiser for their weekly meal program. The race itself is small and I was right in thinking that might enable me to win either my age group or some other prize.
This was a really encouraging race for me. I won my age group (17-35 or something similar) and I was the second female over all to finish. I also made a significant PR - 27:23! That's a drop of about 50 seconds, and I was really pleased with it. I'm at a point now where I don't feel like I need to hold back on the start of a 5K; I can kind of just run the whole thing pretty fast (for me, at least).
Then on the 23rd I did a the River City Rat Race 10K in Fort Wayne (where I took no pictures). John accompanied me to the start, and then met me at the finish at the Old Fort, Fort Wayne's replica of the historic fort buildings from the War of 1812. This race was definitely one of the strongest I've ever run, and I finished in 60:35 - a new PR.
Several things about it went well, in that I warmed up properly, my blisters held out until near the end, and I timed my meals so that I didn't get heartburn (kind of a common problem for me, but one I'm learning to fix). Also, the race went really close to my parents' house, so they came out and cheered just before the 4 mile mark, and that was awesome!
I'm trying to focus on those things, and the fact that - HELLO - I got a PR, but I left feeling fairly disappointed. My official goal for this race was to PR (anything below 61:13), but my unofficial, secret, obsessed-with-my-time goal was to go below 60:00. It even seemed like that was going to happen, since I accidentally went out too fast, and I ran mostly 10 minute miles after mile 2. Volunteers called out times at each mile marker, and it looked something like this (my thoughts at the time are in parentheses):
Mile 1 - 8:55 (WOW! Too fast!)
Mile 2 - 18:change (ok, better)
Mile 3 - 27:55 (why am I running so fast?)
Mile 4 - 38:00 (this might end badly)
Mile 5 - 48:00 (ok, but my brain can't do the math to calculate what is happening, but this seems very consistent...just keep moving and you will probably go below 60.)
Mile 6 - 59:change, but I didn't really hear what they said.
Then two things happened.
1. I mistakenly thought I only had .1 left (like in a 5K) when I really had .2, and I thought that I could make it. I somehow stopped thinking of fun music in my head because I think I'm almost done.
2. My blistered feet hurt. a. whole. freaking. lot. There is one final dip, downhill/uphill, and then the finish line seems farther away that it's supposed to (see above). I am not mentally prepared for what now seems like a tiny hill.
- I ran the best race I could for how I trained.
- The training schedule I made up for myself was actually better suited to me running a fast 5K, and that happened the week before.
- It may not have been reasonable to assume I could run a sub-60 10K, since I've never done one in practice, and my last 6 mile run was still 63:00 or so. See above about the training plan.
- I need to find a way to get rid of those blisters, because damn.
- More than any one other problem, I kind of gave out mentally. My attitude could probably have compensated for the blister issues, fatigue, etc, but I kind of lost my focus and then it all caught up with me. Once again I learned that running is so mental. If that's the lesson I get to take home from this race, then that's ok. I know what I want to work on.
...and I got a PR.
A couple of funny things I overheard:
One of the guys around me for the last 2 miles had a radio with headphones and called out "Touch down, Bears!!!" every time they scored.
A guy behind me for the 1st three miles seemed to know every volunteer and when we passed one of them, he said, "That's (so and so), his son plays football for IU....That must be sad to watch."
Despite my own issues, this race was really fun and well organized. It wound through mostly residential streets, and
a lot of people came out to clap and cheer on their front lawns. Plus, for $25 registration I got a sweet Brooks, long-sleeved technical shirt. It's probably the last race I'll do this semester (unless I find a holiday-themed one to run!), and I have lots to think about and work on during the next few months.