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

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Neuse River Bridge 10K Race Report

This race is the first of my two big races for the year (the other is The City of Oaks Half Marathon, in two weeks).

The race started at 8:30 AM. We were staying at the Comfort Inn, which was next to the race finish. It was a point-to-point race, where racers boarded a shuttle to the start. The last bus was leaving the race finish area (where the buses were lined up) at 7:30 AM. One would think this would be a no-brainer for us but we had to drop our girls off at Play Date, which was two miles away.

Again, seems easy enough but apparently, New Bern is undergoing a lot of renovations, including the roadways. Nothing was easy about traversing through downtown New Bern and my GPS was not handling it very well. Lucky for us, though, we got the girls squared away, as well as making it onto the bus.

Yesterday afternoon and evening, the cold front hit our area. Thus, this morning? Cold...with rain...and wind. When we walked out of the hotel with the girls (on the way to Play Date), Mi-Mi was like "oh my god it's soooooo cold!" and CJ was like "good luck with that run, mommy!" I retorted with "it's not _that_ cold" even though it was...

Normally, I OVERdress for slightly cooler than I care weather. Not this time... I had a pair of calf-length tights, a sports tank and a long sleeve tech shirt. This was not enough for 52 degree cool, windy, weather. I just knew that once I started running, it would be better...because now that I'm an 'athlete', I seem to heat up and sweat like men (yet another, embarrassing post)...but in the meantime, I would be miserably cold.

The bus finally leaves around 8:40 for Bridgeton, which is just over the Neuse River Bridge. Tim and I evaluated the number of hills we might have to contend with, which looked okay but at least one would be daunting.

We arrive at a Food Lion, where we see a bunch of runners huddled under the strip mall's eavement. I feel better because I see scantily clad runners (mostly those geeky running me with their really short shorts). Tim and I hang out with them for a bit, trying to bounce around and keep warm...the wind has picked up a bit and so has the rain.

We decided to see if we could find rain gear at Food Lion and lo-and-behold, we find rain ponchos. Others were buying trash cans to make ponchos, but we settled for vinyl ones, which amazingly, helped with the effects of the wind.

Tim and I warm up for about 12 minutes and then we were ready to line up. And at this particular race, we started off with the National Anthem. Very cool and quite rare.

Then we're off and I am feeling pretty darn good. My goal was to be in the nines. But when I talked to my coach? She said 'start out conservatively, like 8:45-9:00 and then at mile four, go for it if you feel good'. What? That's too fast!!! I called her to reconfirm and she felt like I was very capable. I was surprised but I actually believed her and felt somewhat confident that I could get close to that.

And I did... The first mile: 8:37. And for me, I felt like it was a brisk but safe pace. This is entirely on the road toward the bridge. After this split is called out, we are headed for the bridge.

The second mile was 15:xx. I had it was actually my mantra. Instead of repeating "1, 2, 3, 4", I repeated the split "15 blah blah". But I absolutely forgot the next three mile splits called out to me (my GPS watch was screwing it up), even though each of those were my mantras. How does that happen?

The third mile was 24:xx. Still doing and feeling well. I realize that my split would have me having my 5K PR, so now I think how much better I might be able to do in a 5K. I am very happy about the fact that I have no pains in my calves and knees. I think my swim on Friday helped my legs.

It was around this mile that I had a stitch. It was not so much a problem for me to ignore it but I was concerned for a little bit that it may not go away and wondered how it would affect me later. By mile four, it was gone.

Mile four I was at 32:xx. I'm pretty thrilled because without really thinking about it, I felt like I was doing a good time. But it's around this time that my thumbs are sticking straight up from my fists. Once that happens, then I'm in 'push-beyond-my-limit' mode. I am feeling the intensity of my pace and trying to maintain it. It wasn't a problem to maintain it because it was still do-able...but now is when the mind game comes into play.

After mile four, we (Tim is right by my side mile 1-4) exit the bridge. This is where I'm beginning to start panicking...on the inside. I know only have two point two miles left, but I start thinking about how fast my legs are pumping and now, they are starting to feel rubbery. This is a feeling I get on the track so I try to keep myself from overly-panicking and visualize myself on the track.

There is a volunteer off the ramp that tells us "9:09 - make a right at the end". At first, I think she is telling me my minute per mile pace but I realize that there's no way she could know that. I figure she must have been telling me the time... But I notice Tim picking the pace up and I think he's heeding Brennan's advice by kicking it in after mile four. But because I was already scared of myself, I attempted to pace behind him then decided to let him run his race.

He flew...and later, he told me that he thought that was the mile five split.

The last two point two miles were long and mentally struggling for me. I was ready to be done. I didn't like this at all. Why the hell did I do this and why the hell did I sign up for 13.1 miles just two weeks later? I am NOT GOING TO RUN THIS FAST IN MY NEXT RACE. I swear. And where the hell is the finish?

In my head, I know where I am and how far away I am from our hotel, and the finish. Mile five I had no split called out to me because there were two teeny-bopper volunteers making hugs and kisses...they did cheer me on though.

I did say the last two point two were long but the last mile was THE longest of all. I knew I had 1600 left on the track...and I just couldn't convince myself that it wasn't that bad. I did get some loud cheers from a group of girls at one last water-like stop and that picked me up...and then running through downtown I got a few cheers, so that was a good pick-me-up.

At this point, I am following two girls and a guy that I passed walking. They were is always the case at this point. One, the pink shirt girl, was too close for me to enjoy running behind, but just a little too fast for my scared self.

As we turn and I can finally see the finish, one of the girls, the gray shirt girl, started picking up. It just didn't look like the finish was that close for me to sprint. I was right. In the end, I sprinted to the end and passed the gray shirt, pink shirt girls, and the walking guy. I saw Tim waiting at the finish for me, trying to take a picture of me crossing the finish and I could hear the announcer tell me I can beat 54 minutes.

I crossed and I was done and elated. There were Pepsi folks all over the place and boy, at 9:30 AM I was ready for a pepsi. But no, none available. Just water and energy drinks.

In the end, my official time was 53:05. I am tickled as my PR was 58:18 from 2004 -- a year that I feel I was in my best running shape. A whopping 5:13 off my time!

But the one thing that I am disappointed in is that my registration apparently did not list me as female. has my age but not my gender...which if it was correct, I would have placed third in my age group. Just my luck. The only time I could ever place in a race like this, and I can't even place. I am soooooo bummed about say the least.

But I'll get over it. And now, I have a race that I can finally use to update my PRs (bottom of this blog) and have something else to strive for next year.


  1. I knew you could do it, your coach knew you could do it, even your husband knew you could do it. I think the only one that wasn't sure was you :-). That was an awesome race in some poor weather conditions. I had a feeling when you told me you just wanted to beat your PR from 04 that you would beat that by a ton. I think you have to change your standard, 2004 was my best year to 2008 is my best year :-). Weather permitting you can beat 2 hours easy in two weeks. Don't sell your self short and go for it. "We" know you can do it.

  2. Congratulations on a great race! You inspire me.