Tuesday: 35 min chest/back/abs
Wednesday: 3.5m easy 9:30/pace, 15min hips & stretching
I woke up Sunday morning feeling really good & very nervous. My plan was to go into the race and attempt to stick around a 7:30/pace. I haven’t run a long distance event since the marathon last October. <—I can’t believe it’s been that long! I just figured this 10 Miler would gauge where my fitness is and help me plan the next steps to reaching goals.
After many years of racing, I’ve become a pre-race pro. Everything was laid out or packed up the night before, water was already in my car and all my food & supplements were laid out on the counter. My alarm went off at 4:45am and it took exactly 30 minutes to get out the door. For breakfast I had half a bagel with peanut butter & half a banana, a full glass of water with a B12 vitamin, a non-drowsy allergy med & Sports Legs. I had a throwaway to-go mug of coffee for the train ride into DC & a water bottle with Tri-Berry Nuun to chug after the coffee. This has been my pre-race regiment for as long as I can remember and if it ain’t broke, i ain’t changing it.
The train ride was a piece of cake, the port-a-potties were a-plentiful and gear check (even though I didn’t use it) seemed to be smooth. An accident involving a motorcycle & a pedestrian caused a slightly delayed start and the course to be shortened by approximately half a mile.
I didn’t get into my corral as early as I’d have liked and i ended up behind slower runners. This caused a lot of weaving and slower times during the first 4 miles. I was getting so frustrated that I finally stopped looking at my watch and just focused on finding clear running spots to pass people. As I weaved around and tried to speed up, i kept telling myself to, “Remember what Joan said, ‘save some for the end.'” This helped remind me there were plenty of miles left to makeup time.
Almost immediately after calming myself down, the corral crowd fell back and I got to do what I do best. Speed up on flat roads. At this point I made the decision to not look at my Garmin, run solely on feel and push the last two miles. I relaxed a bit enjoyed the course–the first few miles were part of the Rock n’ Roll USA 1/2 & the most of the final miles were the same course I ran during The Parks 10k. The familiar ground was comforting and the cherry blossom trees were bloomed & beautiful. There was a part of the course where both sides of the path were nothing but cherry blossoms, it was like we were all running through the clouds in a Super Mario Brothers game, it felt so surreal.
Until of course my legs started telling me they were tired. But it was all good. The course was shortened (small mental boost!) and all the 5k training & racing have taught me that I can run hard for a mile or two before the real hurt sets in. I just put my head down and kept turning over my feet, picking them up off the ground as quickly as possible. Before I knew it I was traveling up the hill near the finish—is it me or are races ending on hills more and more these days? It’s just plain mean—and instead of stopping, I just said “wait for the downhill.” The down came and I cruised into the finish. If the course wasn’t shortened I was on track to finish in approximately 1:13:35. I thought on a magical day I could do a 1:15. I thought Sunday I was going to run a 1:18, possibly.
Putting my watch away, taking Joanie’s advice and racing with how my body felt that day, was the best thing I could have done. My friend Sarah, who also ran the race, told me the same, “Run without your watch, I bet you’ll do way better than you think.” Not sure i’ll ever go fully bare wristed. But not seeing each and every mile split gave me the freedom to run my own race & not my watch’s.
My brain thought I was only capable to run a 7:30/pace for the race. My body is capable of so much more. I’m taking those risks I talked about when i switched my goals over to “speed.” It’s really amazing to let go of what you think you’re capable of, what your brain and numbers tell you you’re capable of and just try, take a risk, and push…