|Finishing with a smile! It was great to have my husband and kids with me at this race.|
Here are the details.
Pre-Race: The race wasn't until 9, so I didn't set an alarm and woke from a great sleep at 6:45. My kids got up soon after, I got them breakfast and then ate my own--dry Cheerios, about six ounces of OJ and a banana. I also had several glasses of water and one glass of Ultima, an electrolyte drink I can tolerate because it's sweetened with stevia rather than sorbitol or tons of sugar.
I also took a shower. I've mentioned before that I'm not much of a girly-girl, but I do like shaved legs under my capris and clean hair when I race. Then I put on my race outfit: capris and a short-sleeved neon-green race shirt from last summer's Heart and Sole Half that my daughter Ruthie picked out (Ruthie, by the way, is MUCH better; she even went to the dentist yesterday and did great during her cleaning; the mouth sores are still there, but healing; thanks to everyone who wished her well).
I wasn't sure about this shirt. I don't like to stick out in races in any way. But what do you say to your almost-five-year-old who is coming out to watch you run six miles in the wind when she wants you to wear a certain shirt? You don't say no! And it turns out it was a good shirt. My husband and kids were able to spot me coming in to the finish wayyyyy before I got there--I could hear Dan yelling from a half-mile away! Also, another runner complimented me on it as we ran together briefly in Mile 5. We agreed there was no way I would be hit by a car. When I saw her later after the finish she said she had used me as her rabbit, watching my shirt ahead of her like a flag.
|Dan saw the shirt from a long way off.|
The Race: We got there too late for me to warm up. I hit the bathroom and went straight to the start with only about two minutes to spare. While waiting in line, I ate a pack of Black Cherry Shot Bloks. I figured a little more sugar and some caffeine wouldn't hurt. I was a little chilly at first, but despite the wind the sun was warm and there's no shade on this course, so I figured I'd be OK.
The first three miles were the windy ones. Miles 1 and 3 were straight into the north/northwest wind. Mile 2 featured the only hill of the pancake-flat course. These things are reflected in my times for these miles. I was trying to hold back a bit, knowing the weather wasn't favorable and that I would still have half the course to go when we finally got out of the wind. I paid a lot of attention to my breathing: four steps for every inhale/exhale cycle. It was nice and controlled.
Then we turned east. Boy, turning out of the wind helps!
We had to go west again for most of Mile 6, but you know how it is when you're almost done. You can hammer a bit and be OK. I'm proud that Mile 6 was as fast as Mile 5. And I'm proud that I found a kick for the last quarter mile, though I'm sure having Dan and the kids cheering for me had as much to do with that as any ability of mine.
Last .2--7:00 pace
|Finding a finish kick--I couldn't quite catch the girl in red, but she and I passed two other women just ahead of the mat!|
The times may be off because the Garmin never matches the actual time. But I was much closer on the watch and the official time than I usually am, so I must have done better with the tangents than in the past.
My only real disappointment was that the finish line clock said 49:04 when I crossed the mat. I thought I had done sub-50, only to find out that was the clock for the concurrent two-mile race. Fortunately I found this out quickly, had about a 30-second sulk and then cheered up again. You can't argue with a PR of any kind in the wind. Dan also helped (as always): he said he thought a 10K PR seven years and two kids after my prior one was really awesome.
Good Things (besides the new PR):
1. I paced myself almost perfectly. Now I know I can handle the tempo and race pace runs I have coming.
2. I didn't let adverse weather get me down. You get what you get with weather. No whining.
3. I felt good the whole way. I was definitely done at the end, but I am not sore and know I can hit the ground running with training again this week.
4. This was an awesome field, especially for us double-X chromosome types. The women's winner, Nuta Olaru, finished a mere three seconds behind the 18-year-old top male (he ran 35:11, she ran 35:14!). Dan said it was an amazing finish, that she *almost* caught him. Olaru and five others among the top ten finishers were in their 40s (Colleen DeReuck, one of my favorite local Olympians, was sixth and top female master); the man who finished 8th was 50 years old. (Running) life does NOT end at forty. I was honored to be 11th out of 58 women in the 35-39 age group (my group's winner ran 39:17), 50th out of 298 women and 173rd out of 555 overall.
5. I can run without music! Turns out I probably didn't need to (lots of folks were running with music), but the official rules for this race said no headphones and I'm a rule-follower. This was a good confidence-builder for sure. While I have no plans to ditch my iPod, it's great to know I can run well without it.
I can think of really only one negative thing about this race (besides the sub-50 continuing to be elusive): This time doesn't indicate a readiness to run my BQ time in a marathon. My McMillan running calculator paces for my Houston training will stay about the same after this race. I was hoping to be able to run my training efforts a little faster.
Like I said, though....no whining. Just gotta keep on doing the work.