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

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tar Heel 10 Miler Race Report

This race happened this past Saturday, April 25th. $Bill, Frank and Tim were also doing it. This would be Tim's first long run in a LOOOONNNGG time, so I was pretty excited that he took the challenge when I said that *I* was including it in my race plan for the Spring.

$Bill is still recovering from a freak injury that sidelined him from his marathon, as well as other running, so instead of doing the 10 miler, he was going for the 5K.

And Frank had a heart 'procedure' done in January so this was his first long race since his marathon from last November.

And me? I was conquering mental attitude injuries. :-)

The good news: the day was beautiful. When I let the dog out at 5:30 in the morning (race start was 7:30 in Chapel Hill, about 20 miles from our house), it felt GREAT. WARM. Shorts weather!!

The bad news: it got HOT during the run. When I finished, the first thing I did was kick off my shoes and air out my hot feet.

The good news: the course had a lot of down slants...not really down HILLS but gradual downward directions.

The bad news: there were just as many UPS...

The good news: this was the first race that I had ever noticed that ALLOWED headphones. I took advantage of it and wore mine. Keith and the Girl, my fave podcast, kept me in the zone throughout my 10 miles.

The bad news: not a lot to add here other than I could still hear stomping feet and heavy breathing. And no, it wasn't mine...well, at least the stomping feet wasn't mine.

So I was pretty OK about the race. Slightly nervous beforehand, like the night before and the morning of, but once I got there, I blanked out my mind to concentrate on what I was doing at the moment.

I skipped the long line for the port-a-potties and went for my warm-up jog. It was supposed to be 1.5 miles but I ended up barely over 3/4ths of a mile. When I was done, I was WET all over with SWEAT.

Ever since I started running longer runs, working out harder, more often, I have become a chick that sweats like a dude. I hate it. I end up looking like I ran in the rain when I haven't. And people are always inclined to tell me that...well, in ways they don't realize: "oh! did you get stuck in the rain shower?" "did you just come from the pool?"

Back to the race...

I felt pretty comfortable and by that I mean, I wasn't panicked or thinking too much about the overall race at hand...just run...just run...just run.

Frank, Bill, Tim and I all started off. I felt pretty good. My warm-up run had my blood flowing well, so I kept myself in check. When the crowd started thinning out a bit after about a half mile, Bill went on his way, as well as Tim. Bill was only doing a 5K so I wasn't about to keep up with him. And Tim, well, he's faster but there's no telling what he might do, so I stuck to my lonesome self quite happily. Frank was on his own too (and he usually is :-)).

I noticed, unbelievably, that the first mile was around 8:40 pace. Hmmm...that's a little fast. Coach B had asked that I stick to 9s the first five miles and then see what I could do for the rest. I found this to be a bit aggressive but I was going to play it by ear and see what I could do.

But the 8:40 felt OK...more like pretty good. But I knew this was just the first mile so I eased my pace.

Then the second mile passed and I'm still in the 8:40s (closer to 8:50). What is going on? This feels good! Surely, this is not right?

So I ease more, trying to keep myself close to 9s. I have a lot of miles to go here. At one point, I panicked just a little bit thinking: gosh, I have an HOUR OF RUNNING AHEAD OF ME! This was a bit daunting to think about (and yet during long training runs, the thought does not occur or does not make me panic) so I quickly concentrated on the podcast and just run...just run...just run.

The miles continue and I am still running sub-9s. WTF? This is unbelievable. It becomes my goal after about five miles: I am going to try very hard to keep sub 9s. It feels do-able; I have been doing it and if all else fails, I end up close to 9s at the end and actually reverse the original plan.

At mile 6, I decided to take a walk break and drink some Gatorade. I was thirsty and had skipped all water stops prior to this one. I figured I had earned it.

When I started back up running, AKA the RESET button, I was back in the 8:40s. Impressive!!! I was so thrilled!!

But not longer after restarting that, the energy in my legs drained. I was dog-tired. But I wasn't going to stop. I had to keep this up and make Tim, Coach B, Bill and Frank proud. I had to keep going because I would hate myself if I screwed this one again.

Then, with less than TWO MILES LEFT, I did absolutely the last thing I wanted to do that my brain was telling me NOT TO DO. I took a walk break. Well, at the time I started walking, it wasn't a break. I just started walking! And it wasn't at a hill! I walked right by a volunteer that said "you can do it" and after that, my brain fired up the engine and I started running. And I ran until I got to the finish, thank you very much!

And I finished at 1:27:49...six second from what my watch said. I broke 1:30, which is what I discreetly wanted to do...and my coach called me at 1:27s, which I thought came from cold medicine that she was taking.

Of course, due to the heat and the brunt of running 10 miles, I had minor confusion. I never stopped my watch, as I thought I had. And when I made a stop at the port-a-potty, I noticed that my time on my watch was 1:31. What? I swear I crossed at 1:27 something! What happened?

So my ego deflated...trying to figure out where I went did I lose so much time during my walk, or the last bit up the hill to the finish...Tim and Bill asked what my finish was and I said: 1:31. They both looked at me like I was an idiot and Bill says, um, it's 1:32 NOW! One of them said 'um, you never stopped your watch!'

RELIEF! YAY! I really did do that time! And even on Monday, I was in disbelief that I did that.