So we made another trip up to my home state to compete in my final tune up race for Boston. Chose a fun one with a very cool Martian theme. I wasn't expecting stellar placement as the race boasted an elite field with money prizes 5 deep overall and 3 deep masters as well as free shoes for 1st in age group and running caps 5 deep in each 10 year age bracket. However, I was expecting to run a PR, I had a range I was eyeing, with 40:10 being my aggressive goal (6:28 pace) and 42 (6:46 pace) being the slowest I would be content with in good conditions.
I felt pretty ragged (aerobically) on my Wednesday medium long run and could tell I needed the 2 days of recovery that followed. So with my mini taper I was ready this morning to see what these legs would do for me.
Woke up early and got in some cereal, a banana, tea, and a hot shower 3 hours before the race. We got to the expo just in time as within about 10 minutes of picking up my packet the line was out of control! We marvelled at the awesome freaking shirt I got. Let's just say there's not much room for any more graphics on it, I'll post a photo next time I get a run in it. Walked around and found the start line then I headed out on a warm up. Wasn't feeling stellar but I got in 25 minutes with 4 strides and hoped for the best. After two quick porta potty stops I rushed over to the start.
Not quite awake standing in line to get bib.
Posing with a pink martian.
Finishing my warm up.
Heading to the start line after one last porta potty stop.
They warned that anyone running slower than 5 minute miles should not be up front so I lined up a bit farther back than usual for me. I think it worked in my favor as I didn't try to stay with any girls that would have pushed me too fast early on, but I did have to dodge a few overzealous i pod wearing peeps that should not have lined up so far forward. I'll save the rant.
Video of the race start. I'm towards the end of the vid :) Not entirely happy with my form but I guess I always knew that I don't look like Ryan Hall when I run. I don't know what it is going to take to fix my posture...
Just tried to find my magic pace the first mile. Didn't want to go out blazing but I also didn't want to get too comfortable and have to make up time later. The course started with a big loop (about 1.25 miles) and then continued on out onto a highway of sorts out and back and then onto a paved trail for the last mile until you popped back out onto the road we started on. So the 1st and 2nd mile markers were in the first loop and a half. I was pleasantly surprised to hear cheering in the first half mile as a spectator in pink hollered "Go E-Speed." I didn't recognize the face and called back "Who are you?" Yeah I'm a goober, what can you do. It was nice to have someone out there rooting for me and I spotted her a few more times on the course and chatted after the race. She was there cheering for her sister and she is training for Steelhead this summer. I'll definitely have to go check out her blog.
Mile one split was 6:34. Not quite as fast as I was hoping for but the effort felt sustainable and I was content to keep that pace for the rest of the race coming in between my goals. As we came around the corner back towards the start I took down one girl that looked like she could be my age, turns out she was much younger and not in my group, oh well! Caught up to a lady I had chatted with at the start who said she was aiming for 45. Ran side by side with her through about mile 2 before pulling away.
My parents as always are the best and both came to watch me run. Dad got some great shots and also took the video. It's really touching when you run by and hear them commenting to other spectators that yes that's their daughter, as they scream their heads off for you. Makes you feel good.
A little before mile 2. I swear I was running 6:35 pace here even though it looks like I am power walking.
Right before mile 2.
Mile two was 6:36 just holding steady. After the two loops it was off onto the pot hole filled highway. I passed a few guys here that were friendly and warned me to watch the pot holes. The road has definitely seen better days. I would have paid someone for their sunglasses out there, it was sunny and I broke mine heading to the start. A light wind and slight upgrade on this mile but conditions were pretty much ideal. 6:41 I had secretly hoped to hit the 5k right around 20 but I just wasn't that speedy today. Had to settle for 20:33 which is still in my top five 5k splits of all time I think. Maybe I should have just crushed the first 5k and died, there was a $100 bonus for the leader at the 5k. ;)
Passed a lady coming into the aid station before mile 4 and thought I would reel in the next one but never did gain any ground on her after that. I kept pushing as I grabbed a water cup. The volunteers were friendly but pushing the water hard. "Get your ice cold water to run faster" Mile 4 was 6:43. Not what I was hoping for but I could tell my effort was about the same as the previous mile so I wasn't surprised.
The girl I passed surprised me by picking it up and stuck with me for quite a ways. She has got some grit. I know I would have had a hard time picking it up if anyone passed me at that point. A gentleman I had passed coming into mile 4 caught me half way through 5 and I did manage to hold onto him, pushing for a 6:26 mile 5 (I'm confident the mile was short as mile 4 had a bit of a downhill and I didn't up my effort until I hit 5 so my guess is both those miles were actually about 6:35).
I had warmed up on this part of the course and was stoked that I would be done in less than 8 minutes and may have upped the intensity a bit much here. Got to a bridge that had been slick during the morning warm up but looked dry now and hammed it up for the photographer. Realized as I was doing it that the bridge was definitely still slick. Very weird sensation as your foot strike slips behind you.
Headed up the only hill and rounded a corner for the final stretch. Right before we hit the road there was a nice puddle waiting for us. The guy next to me was tall and managed to get most of the way over and apologized for splashing me. I dipped my right foot right in the center, but I told him no worries, "I'm a trail runner". (again, goober, I know)
My parents were waiting for me right around the 6 mile marker (6:48, also leading me to think that mile 5 was short) and cheered me on encouraging me to catch the lady in front of me, but I didn't have any steam for a kick and I think she upped her effort when she heard them (official results are up and I actually did run faster than the lady ahead of me but she must have been up front at the start) :) Hammered my way in grooving to the Casper slide playing on the intercom for 41:17 (is it bad that all morning I really just wanted to dance to the good tunes the dj was playing?). So overall pace was 6:39. I'm pretty happy with it. Would like to have been a bit more even on the last 5k (compared to the first) but for my first 10k in a while at the tail end of my biggest month ever I'll take it ;)
Made sure to go and congratulate the lady in front of me and the one behind me as well as the gal I had talked to at the start. Grabbed an H20 and banana and headed to find my parents. Rounded out the morning with an easy 11 minute cool down before heading to the awards. Managed to snag around 12th overall female and 4th in AG so I got a cap. We went over to the expo and picked up some gels for my long run tomorrow as well as a fun shirt for my hubby.
All in all a fun morning. Expo was a bit crowded, too tight of space but I'd imagine the marathon tomorrow will be well run. They put on quite an affair! Love the themed races but I am corny like that. If you have the weekend free next year and are in the Michigan area I'd definitely recommend checking out one of the races, they offer 10k, 13.1 and 26.2.
Glad to be done.
Sporting my cap and a T for the hubby. All the volunteers were wearing these, I thought it was awesome.
Pretty happy with the effort, not convinced I gave 100% the whole race but definitely couldn't have run much harder coming down the line so maybe I am just getting better at pacing. Legs felt pretty stellar, but my aerobic system was just a little ragged. Breathing wasn't quite as easy as I'd like it to be, but that's what the taper is for! Side stitch threatened in the second and third miles but some focused breathing seemed to make it go away. I'm guessing my less than perfect form is contributing to this problem when I up intensity. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that no side stitches come after me in Boston!