My pre-race fueling (something I wanted to really work on) was spot on yesterday - well, for the most part. My tummy was not queasy at all, which is usually the thing I battle before every race. My biggest problem yesterday was that I wasn't able to "go" before hand. Turns out, my lovely sister-in-law, unbeknownst to her, slipped us all decaf that morning on accident and well, decaf doesn't quite get things moving as well as the full strength stuff. I really didn't worry about it too much, there wasn't much I could do by the time the race started. And that is one of the things that I have learned as a runner that has played out into my life when I'm not running: focus on the things you can control. When I realized I wasn't going to be able to go before hand, I just switched to being mentally prepared for the task at hand.
The race was held in Sacramento in a cute little residential area called Carmichael. The course is all residential streets and is flat and pretty fast. I could feel the change in small elevation at times, but really this is a PR course for anyone. Very few turns and flat as a pancake. After my 1 mile warm-up, the start went off with very little fan fair and I instantly found myself trying to keep up with the fasties. Not the smartest move when all I really wanted to do was use this race as a gage to hold 8:00 miles - which I'm hoping will be my MP come Long Beach.
mile 1 - 7:42 (slow down! no need to go all crazy here!)
mile 2 - 7:56 (much better, now just hold on to this!)
mile 3 - 8:10 (uh, pick-it up!)
Mile three is where I started feeling the affects of that decaf coffee. I had to go - and I had to go bad! But with this course being pretty much all residential, there were very few honey buckets. In fact, there was only 1 it turns out and I had passed it at mile 2! Ugh! With my head down I proceeded to just attempt to keep my pace at my goal time. My knee though, had other ideas. My left knee has been still a problem lately. It usually warms up around mile 1 or 1.5 - and this morning it didn't want to cooperate. Around mile 3.5 or so, I had shooting pains that made me just want to walk. Trying to plow through those few miles were hard - I could feel my pace slowing and I had no kick or push off to speak of. All I could think of was why the heck now? I had been running 10 milers a lot lately and not had this many problems!
mile 4 - 8:32 (wtf? I NEVER run this slow in my training runs!)
mile 5 - 9:01 (omg! there goes the goal time!)
Mile five was a repeat of mile four - just intense shooting pain. This was close to the turn around and some really low moments for me. I was passed by a man pushing a baby jogger, dressed as a female clown. Yes - you read that right - he was wearing a woman's running skirt, woman's wig and pink hat, dressed with clown paint on, PUSHING a baby jogger. Oh, and did I mention he was carrying on a conversation with the baby no prob the WHOLE TIME? Yeah, that was a very low moment. I was also passed by a TON OF WOMEN at this point. Even though I had held on to my pace for a while, loosing it here allowed for a lot of them to pass me. The thoughts going through my head during this time were NOT pretty. I was thinking, "I'm done racing! I don't want to race ever again! I'm NOT running Tahoe and I'm sure as hell NOT running Long Beach! Not even the half! I want this to be over NOW! Just walk - you'll feel better. No, you can't walk, you can still can come in around 1:24. Just keep going."
You get the picture. It was ugly. And I don't think I have felt that low during a run/race in I can't even remember. But I also knew I could do this and I was going to be damned if I let a goal time slip away on such an easy, fast course. So I picked up my feet and pushed on.
mile 6 - 8:18 (much better, now just push a little bit harder!)
mile 7 - 8:01 (exactly! right where you need to be!)
At mile 7 I knew that if I picked up the pace I could still come in around 1:20 but that it was going to take some work. Speedwork here I come! I literally put my head down and started running as fast as I could without puking. Great race strategy, right? I started passing the peeps who had passed me before. I took my Garmin off and started ticking off the tenth of miles left. I just wanted to be done and my pace showed.
mile 8 - 7:55 (oh, come on, you can do better than that!)
mile 9 - 7:30 (that's better, now don't puke!)
Doing math and running is never smart - it usually leaves us with longer than necessary long runs or paces much to fast to hold. Yeah, that is where I was - attempting to calculate how friggin' fast I would have to run that last mile to save face with my goal time.
mile 10 - 7:01 (wow, that speedwork at the track is working!)
I ran in as fast as I could picking off tons of peeps to finish in 1:20:24 - just 24 seconds off my goal time - I'll take it. As I'm sure you can see - consistency was not the name of the game yesterday. I had paces all over the place. Not smart running - and NOT SMART RUNNING or pacing for a marathon. I learned though, that I need to pay attention to this knee. My endurance is there, my speed is there, but I need to get this knee under control or disaster will be looming with every race or worse, every run. I also learned - make sure you're drinking REAL coffee - not that decaf crap. I carried my small 10 oz. handheld yesterday and it was perfect. It didn't bother me at all and I think that I will buy another so that I can switch out during my marathon's with my family. It was nice to drink on my schedule and it wasn't annoying at all - a huge plus.
Garmin: 10.17 miles - 1:20:23 - 7:59/mi pace
Official: 10.00 miles - 1:20:24 - 8:02/mi pace
AG - 11/41 - (30-39) *if I had been in the 20-29AG I would have come in 4th - the fasties are in my AG now!
Overall - 136/335 - there were some fast peeps out there! And yes, the guy/clown pushing the baby stroller came in about a minute before me :(
Coming into the finish
Yes, another one where I'm turning my Garmin off! Argh!
24 seconds? Are you kidding me?
The race director also offered a "kids race" of sorts. I thought it would be more organized than it was so I invited my little nephew William, aka Buggs, to come out and run. He is always super excited about my medals and they were offering one for all the kiddos. The cool thing is, he got his medal and was super stoked. The un-cool thing is, they really didn't have an organized "race." They just had the kids run around at random the high school track. In reality, he didn't care - he raced and got a medal. I even joined him on his two lap journey - stopping once to tie his shoes :) I'm hoping he will be the next runner in the family!
Running in with Auntie!
High five at the finish! It was warm out!
Getting his first running medal!
A proud (and hot!) Buggs!
My new little runner and his dad
A very, very proud Auntie!
So, I may have not met all my race goals but I did learn a lot - which is all I can ask for. Running is a journey - not a destination and I proved that to myself yesterday. I learned my pre-race fueling is working, I learned that I can pull shit out of my ass when I need to and I learned that I am stronger than the voices in my head. I'm not 100% sure still about Long Beach - and I'm okay with that. My knee and my running future are more important than any race or BQ. After the race, we headed out for my favorite breakfast in Sacramento at Tower Cafe - it helped me drown the 24 seconds :)
This week is a cut back week! Whoo hoo! Couldn't be more thrilled. I'll still incorporate my speed work and long run, but my mid-week runs will be a bit shorter. I also made an appointment to see the doctor this week for my knee and hopefully it will give me insight into what I need to do to fix the situation. I finished last week with 55 miles, just where I predicted. I'm thinking I will be closer to 45 this week - that sounds just heavenly ;)
My power was out all morning and early afternoon, so I'm finally off to catch up with all of you! Have a great rest of your Monday peeps!
Happy Running and Happy Monday!