As usual, I was vague as to what I wanted to do with this race. My last long race was in April, for the Tar Heel 10 Miler. I PR'd that race and I remember it feeling pretty tough. The last three to four miles of that race was digging deep to keep going.
And since the Fall races, I have upped my threshold for pain: meaning I don't want to feel it anymore.
So I freaked out with the Magnificent Mile and wondered who the hell _that_ person was that did the 10 miler in April. It wasn't me. It was a different "me".
Coach B had her plans. $Bill had his plans. Mine were not developed into concrete numbers but ultimately, I wanted to run strong and be as close to my pace from April's race as possible. I didn't want pain but I didn't want to run this one like Pepe Le Pew. I wanted to push hard, but not too hard.
Make sense? Yeah. I didn't think so.
The more I think about my freaking rules I make for myself the more I think I should be called "The Neurotic Runner". I don't even win these things and I set myself up for such stress.
For instance: today? No stress. I felt confident that I would do well. I wasn't going for a PR. So I wasn't nervous. But instead of just stopping with that, I think "gee, since I'm not nervous, I'm going to suck at this race."
WTF is wrong with me???
Not going to fix that anytime soon...so here's how the race went:
Start and I'm about :40-:50 seconds from the starting mats. They don't go off when I cross, so I know that I"m already that much off from the official time. $Bill is up ahead and I take it all in stride, getting around people. Frank and I start off together and I'm surprised because either I'm going slow or he's going fast. And I'm not dissing his pace: his plan was to hit slower than my plan. But it doesn't feel slow so I'm thinking it's him. I later found out that I was right. :)
But it isn't long until the crowd loses us so I tell him to have a nice race and go on my merry way.
All along this first mile and a half, I feel great. I'm enjoying the vibe *but* listening to my surroundings and hoping that I can leave the talkers at some point. I don't mind talking...I LOVE to talk...but I don't particularly care for the loud ones who think they're several yards apart from each other and pretty much yell out their boring conversations. I recall from April's race that at some point, there are no loud mouths around me, which makes me feel hopeful that I'll have some peace and quiet in time.
I see $Bill at the mile and half point and catch up to him and join him. I told him and a fellow runner, the night before, that I wasn't going to start with him. But once I got to him I said "I wasn't going to start with you but it doesn't mean I can't run with you now :)". And I said it just like that: with a smiley emoticon on the end.
And we did great. We kept at a moderate pace throughout. I couldn't do the math all the time, when the splits were called out, but I knew I was very close to my April race pace, which is where I wanted to be. And I knew that it was better than the pace that $Bill projected for himself so I put on my crown of glory and thought to myself "I'm going to make sure Bill keeps this pace. He's going to be so happy to PR at this pace!"
About halfway through the race, my thought was more like: thank goodness bill is running with me because I wouldn't be able to keep this pace up!
We had great rhythms going and we never stuttered up the hills, which BTW, this was an extremely rolling route. I found it just as rolling as the Chapel Hill race but Frank said this one today was not as bad as April's. He ran both so I believe him. But wait. I ran both too!!
Doesn't matter. I enjoyed the Chapel Hill race route so today, I just made comparison's.
The pain hit me at mile 8. And my brain was starting to become doubtful. This is normal for me. It's like choking on the final point; throwing in the towel; defeated before it ever ends. I want to just stop and forget everything I accomplished up to now. Great pace. Great time. Just forget it and walk this mo-fo to the end. My legs are TIRED. And it feels like Bill is speeding up. Why? I grab water and tell Bill "Go Bill Go!" and watch him go off into the sunset.
But after a few seconds, I said to myself 'fuck this! don't give up! you are doing great! two freaking miles to go and you're going to slack now?" So I aim at Bill and try to catch him. I never do but my dream of grandeur was that we would cross together.
OK. At some point, while wearing my crown of glory, I thought I would 'let him cross before me' but as you can read, the crown fell off pretty hard at some point.
The last 400 meters I got a stitch. So wild since Bill and I followed a runner who struggled with at stitch for the first four miles before she finally stopped to rest. At least I got it in the end. But wait, how the heck am I going to sprint to the finish? Not that I had a lot left to sprint but I wanted to run in fast after seeing that I was close to my PR time. I wasn't going to beat it but I sure the hell wanted to get in there soon.
Then, as cruel race directors do, I lost the stitch as I ran UP to the finish and got through at 1:28, according to my watch. This is one minute over my PR of 1:27.
As I was reveling in my after glow, Bill points out that Frank had just crossed the finish. 1:33. WTF??? He's supposed to go SLOWER! I was so proud of him because he is such a great runner and is in great running shape right now.
So my BFFs PR'd today's race. I am sooo happy for them. And I put in a great effort without letting my alter ego sabotage my race at the end. I needed this one. Something to make me feel better about my long distance running.
I've got a few races left in the season...mostly 5Ks until December, when I hit my half marathon.
Some observations from today's race:
* man running without shoes, IOW, BARE FEET, through RTP
* the runner who continued to run with a stitch; she just kept squeezing her right side...I felt bad for her
* panic at water station #2...no one had water ready to pass out and we didn't have a crowd of people that could have taken it all before us; this threw me off a bit, BTW
* the silent mile marker volunteer: she had a stopwatch but said nothing when we passed her
* tight running lane; seemed like they _could_ have expanded the running lane on those major roads, since they were double lanes...
* meeting Facebook friend Mary...she's fast but there are those fast people who relate to all runners (like Coach B)...she's always encouraging and also blogs about her races...it was so good to finally meet her