This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A Great 4th

After Run for the Quay, I swore off anymore races in the summer. My feet were freaking hot during that race and I was just not liking how hard it felt. This is usually how I am during any race and hot feet that race was just another thing. In the winter, I could say "my fingers get cold" -- it doesn't matter. I battle with my mental cop-outs more than anything to do with my physical capability.

But this morning I ran the Great Raleigh Road Race, which is a five mile run.

What?!? I thought I swore off races?

I did but now that I have a coach, I was 'advised' to do this run. In fact, my bff $Bill mentioned the race to me, in hopes of having me join him. I was just going to blow him off and say 'have fun until I got Coach B's e-mail:
Pros: A longer race would be good for you. We can work on pacing.
Family- oriented event.
Spend time with your buddy, Bill.

Cons: Possibly hot feet, and unhappy runner.

How could I say no? The pros just outweighed the cons, especially the last one.

Of course, after my run with $Bill on Tuesday, I told him "I'm not running with you!" He's just in great shape and I did NOT want the pressure of maintaining his pace. Sure, I might be able to, but I would be an even unhappier person than usual and I didn't want to bite $Bill's head off.

Yesterday, Coach B called me to ask what my plans were for the race, so she could compare it to hers. I was like "Um, I usually strive for 10 minute miles". She totally blew that off and went with her plan, which was 'run conservatively for the first two miles, no faster than 9 minute miles' -- in my head I was like WHAT? That is NOT conservative. Did you not hear me state 10 mn miles???!!! On the outside it sounded like this " ".

She continues, 'so go conservatively then mile 3 is pretty hilly so just go for it after that, since there's only two miles left to go!' I think: ONLY two more miles to go? How can I GO FOR IT??? No way!!

But this is why I have a coach. Because I talk myself out of everything. I can run five miles under 9:30 while I train. When race day comes, I talk myself out of it.

Race day comes -- I meet up with $Bill and another fellow runner-friend, Frank. We warm up and then we get ready to start and then we go.

First mile feels really good. I have Bill in my sight and at most times, I could touch him. But I don't :-) and just watch that red shirt go. It felt good, well, actually, it felt GREAT. I thought that this couldn't be a fast pace but Bill is pretty right-on-the-money with his pace and I know his goal pace is close to my goal pace. We past the mile 1 marker: 9:00. WOW! I was SOOOOO happy to see that because it felt soooooo easy.

Everything is good until I approach mile two, where the sign has no number and the water stop is. I forget about checking my pace and grab water and pour it all over me before I have a few sips left. Once I remembered to look at my time, it was 9:24 so I knew I slowed it down a bit. I did that on purpose since I knew it was still early in the race and I had not yet hit the hills that I was expecting to hit.

Mile three was my worst mile...mentally. I start telling myself to walk, which is not going to happen. So far during this race, walking is not really entering my head (one of the main constant battles I have during race day) and it's just teasing me...nothing serious.

Of course what is serious is that my left upper arm is aching at every bounce, as if I had a shot and the pain was throbbing. Oddly, this has been a common occurrence. And then the other serious factor is that my feet are now hot. And I am hot all over. I fight with my shirt to roll it up to air out as much skin as I can but it keeps rolling down. This becomes a continuing battle throughout the race: roll shirt up, shirt falls down; roll shirt up and hold it, let go and shirt falls down; roll shirt up and tuck it in under the bra section, shirt eventually falls down.

At Mile Marker 3 (Yay! only two more left!!!), I see my split for mile two and three: 18:59. I try to do the math but I can't and figure out that I'm still on track but mile three was definitely my slowest thus far.

Mile three to four: I am stuck with people who are running hard (for them) and yet talk...and I mean talk talk talk. To a normal person, this is okay. But too neurotic me, THIS IS ANNOYING. And I can't get away from them. They're too fast for me to pass and not fast enough for me to slow down my pace. I just deal with it.

And poor Ashley: this apparently is a friend of the annoying talkers. Ashley catches up and annoying talker #1 is like "Hey Ashley! blah blah blah"...I could see Ashley was struggling to get through and talking was the last thing she wanted to do.

Then Ashley stops running at some point and annoying talker #1 is like "ASHLEY! ARE YOU OKAY?!" Can you leave poor Ashley alone????

This is the point where I dug into myself and started picking up my pace. Soon, Ashley passes me and we both struggle to get away from the annoying talkers. That's when annoying talker #2 says "I'm going to run with Ashley!"

I lost Ashley at some point...we were head-to-head for a few yards. I didn't like that -- too close for comfort -- but we were both in a zone where we couldn't do anything about it. Mile four split: 9:06. I didn't see this until after I finished...which is best or I would have panicked.

BUT WOW for me!! I was sooooooo thrilled to see that time.

Now mile five is the last to the finish. As I said, I lost Ashley because I became focused on $Bill. He was in my sights the entire time but after mile 3, he was way, way ahead of me. I was getting closer but nowhere near within touching him. I knew how the rest of the route would go and even though everyone was like "Oh the finish is great!" I recalled the last time I ran this, which was the Second Empire race (last year? the year before?) and it felt like a long way and it was brutal. On top of that, the finish for this one is further than the finish for Second Empire.

My mantra for mile 4 and five became "My legs are strong. My legs are strong." to try to psych my brain into thinking that I could finish. It worked and for the life of me, I have no idea how I picked up my pace even more...but I did. I decided I was passing everyone between me and $Bill. I don't know if I was successful but I was able to cross and noticed the overall clock had 46:something. WHAT? OMG...that is too cool.

I ran through the finish and passed Bill (in the finish) with a nice pat on the back. The end result was that my last mile was 8:44 -- a definite negative split from the overall miles. WOW!

Coach B came out to support Bill and I. I was so excited to see her. Then I was able to meet Frank's family, who I've heard about on many of our runs. Frank's wife: um, Whoa! That girl is hot. Frank's not bad but really, how did he land her???? ;-)

Then CJ ran with her dad for the 1 mile fun run. Frank, and one of Frank & his hot wife's boys were cheering the young runners in. At some point, Frank asks when I think CJ will come through and I'm like, probably around 10 minutes. Just seconds later, here she comes with Tim. I look at the clock: 9:00 minutes!!! What? That's my girl coming through with a fast time!!! Ecstatic, I was!!

I hugged her and felt like crying, I was so proud and happy. And to top it off, Mi-Mi did the 100 yard dash -- I did that with her. I was going to try to beat her but I figured that it would make me look bad...but she gave me a good run for the money.

So I can honestly say that this race has been my best race ever. Despite the mental battles, I persevered and did it in a very aggressive time (for me). I usually think back on what I could have done better, but I definitely got my runner's high from this one.

Thanks Bill and Coach B.

1 comment:

  1. great job on your race :-). You rock, 5th place in your age group and only 1 second out of 4th. While I wasn't too happy with my race outcome, I had a great time hanging out with our families before and after. Lilyan and Mia are so cute together and Cerena kicked butt in her 1 mile run :-)