It's 5 days after racing Boston on Monday and I don't feel 100%. I skipped the track work with Dave L. this week because I was just too beat up to feel ready to run fast and I had a lot of work to catch up on. Enzo and I met Alanna yesterday morning for a hilly but easy paced 8 miler and only after that run did I finally start to feel good, but the hills were hard.
I ran this race because it was a 700 pt Team Championship event. Unfortunately there were not enough other Open Women present today from my team for us to field one. I have to start recruiting. Who wants to join my team! :)
It was really nice to see so many other Boston Runners out there racing today. I really like the group I run with in NJ. There are some very tough runners here.
It was windy this morning, at 8:45am when I arrived for a 9:30 am start. I knew it was supposed to warm up into the 50's by the time we were racing. I don't know why I am having such trouble with the "heat"… I guess if the temps are above 40, I feel like it is too warm for me. I guess I am holding my breath, hoping the heat of summer holds off some because I am just not ready to get my butt kicked by mother nature again. After all, winter was brutal, but I finally feel like I am putting that behind me a little.
Physically I am starting to feel well again. I am sleeping better and other indicators of my health, that I pay attention to (like how brittle my hair or nails are or how my skin feels) are starting to look good again. My racing is starting to feel better too.
Today I had no plan except to start fast and use that downhill, and then settle into 7:00 pace (or just under) and hold that for as long as I could. This course climbs back uphill at Mile 4.5. At about Mile 6.5 it settles down again until we have one last obnoxious uphill mile. I was a little concerned about the rollers back there as I wasn't sure if my legs were ready for more hills.
Mile 1 is super fast and I don't feel like I really need to hold back. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but sometimes it just feels like too much work to run with the breaks on just to nail some pre-planned race pace. M1 6:29
I was happy with that start and was now fully ready to settle into hovering just about 7:00, ideally just under it. At this point, I already felt like crap so I challenged myself to try to hold 7's until the hills start and then I would reset the goal. M2 6:55
We run a few miles along a woodsy dirt trail which really more road like than trail like. I don't think it was an actually bike path. I think it was hard packed dirt, but I can't be sure I am remembering it fully. Mostly I just focused on trying to stay steady. M3 6:59
At this point, I felt the need to regroup and prepare myself mentally for hills. I knew they were coming and did not want to be devastated on them. I was still moving well, but I just needed to recover a bit and feel ready to go. I passed a female. I got a few stride lengths ahead and then noticed her surge to regain her position a half stride ahead of me. I wasn't interested in racing her on the flat trail out of the woods, when I knew what was coming. She commented politely, "I hate running in no man's land… it is better to be with people." She seemed very nice. I wanted to ask her if she knew the course, but I didn't. I also wanted to tell her to try to not swing her arms across her body so much, but I am not a huge fan of people I am racing coaching me mid-race, so I didn't. She pulled ahead of me and I suspected maybe she doesn't need any help today. I continued to sit and wait for the hills. M4 7:03
At 4.5 we pop out of the trail and turn right back on to the road, we get a little decline and then the rollers start. I try to get some momentum and pick up my pace, passing the girl back and leaving her behind at that point. The climbing feels hard today and I know I am still tired. M5 7:02
I am grateful that in between the uphills we have lovely downs to work and I try so hard to take advantage of the declines before me. I catch up to Joe and he pulls me. We really work a hard uphill section together for a good stretch, getting the pace back down under 7:00. M6 6:56
I am now trying to focus on just the mile I am in. I am getting very tired. My legs are running out of pep, but I am trying to just stay steady and strong. Luckily this miles is much kinder than the two before. M7 6:56
Mile 8 isn't really that bad either, but Mile 9 is, so once I again I am trying to mentally prepare. There is no one near enough to me for me to focus on catching or not being caught by. I just want to hurry up and get to this done. M8 7:02
Finally the last mile, that I have been dreading. I try to dig, but I am done. I am actually grateful that I am not in battle to kick it to the finish. I am running as fast as I can and with the steep inclines towards the park, I feel like I am running in slow motion. M9: 7:10
Because the park is on top of the hill, we get the wonderful wind for the final 0.30. That 0.30 feels like an entire mile. I am ready for this to be over. I kick with whatever I have just to get the chance to stop sooner. Last 0.34 in 2:15 (6:42 pace).
I can't explain how hard this race felt but I managed to do better than I expected to run today. I am hoping that this is a sign that I am getting fitter and stronger and just healthier in general.
Time: 1:05:03 (6:59 pace)
OA Female: 12th
I would be remiss to not mention that the absolute best part of this race was at the end when Rich T. taught me about and then demonstrated the "skinny arms" pose for a team photo … and of course I also have to give a shout out to Ben T. for being an awesome leader (I just needed an excuse to write about Ben so there it is and it is true).
Thanks for reading!