Well I can't say I am exactly trying to set myself up for success at the short race. But that is ok. My priority is logging mileage and the short races are simply a fun way to get in my speed work. Yesterday I met a Team in Training group and trained with a bunch of really great runners. I ended up totaling 23 miles at various paces. It was a good day.
Today my mind is more pre-occupied with the impending hurricane that is supposed to hit at some point between Monday and Tuesday. Sidney was supposed to have the weekend off and I thought he would be here to take care of everything like he usually does. He never stresses out and always seems to manage to take care of problems as they arise. I tend to stress out a lot and then figure out what I need to do, eventually.
After hours of running on Sat, I got to my car and found several urgent messages from Sid. He was called to the base and about to be shipped off somewhere in the US not knowing when he will back. This means Enzo and I get to ride out this storm together. Sid sent me on a mission to find pumps and had located a small generator, extension cords, etc... Things I need if / when the power goes out to pump the flooding waters from the basement.
I was starving, but I wanted to make sure I got the pumps ASAP (as instructed). I had to drive almost an hour in the wrong direction for the pumps and then headed back towards my home stopping on the way to finally ate. Eating immediately after these long slow training runs have helped me recover faster than when I don't. I knew I wasn't going to feel strong at the 8k today because I was so hungry during and after my long run and starving by the time I got real calories in me.
I almost didn't go to this race. I had pre-registered and it was team race so that made me want to be there. I felt I should be doing things at home, but I wasnt sure what to do, so I left for the race.
I arrived with about 40 minutes to go, ran maybe a mile warm up, and lined up to start.
This race is on a very well groomed XC course. Three laps make up the 8k. We start by racing across a field to a mowed path around the perimeter of a field. Runners usually go out way to fast in this first stretch because we all know that we are going to get stuck in traffic, especially as some start to slow a little on the first incline.
As I take my first few steps, I already feel tense and tired. I feel like I cant get enough air. I had already used my inhaler, but I still felt bad. I was secretly grateful to be in a pack where I felt stuck.
At some point in mile 1, Jim O flies past me. He wasn't too far behind me last week at the 10k, and I feel like a slug on XC courses, so I figured that there was a good chance he was going to stay ahead of me today. I was already making the loud whooping noises I make, almost involuntarily, to open my airways. That usually doesn't happen unless I am working hard. I should be working hard in mile 1. I just tried to stay below 7. M1= 6:44. (I was surprised it was that fast.)
In the second mile of the race we confront another hill. This one was much greater than an incline. This hill made my chest hurt. I am running behind Jim, and several other guys. The pace felt just a little slower than I wanted to go. Eventually I said excused me, and asked to pass. Jim said something like, "If you hear my voice again, that means you are doing bad"... I already felt like this was going to be a bad day. This incline felt really hard. I responded with something like "I am probably going to do bad today... I am due for a bad race." I tend to be an optimistic pessimist in races... I recognize the worst but hope with some effort I can do my best for the day. Karl L, who was just ahead of me commented that I was doing well and then he pulls away. M2 =7:07 (Not sub-7... bummer!)
I know XC courses are supposed to be slower than road courses, but I really didn't want it to be. I tried to find some speed while balancing out the distance I still had to cover. I finished off the last part of this lap and headed back out again for lap 2. Back across the grass and towards incline that I am not a fan of. M3 = 6:53. (Sub-7 again, better!)
Back up the incline, I realize I am just way too uncomfortable in the racing singlet. Before the race, when I saw almost everyone in long sleeves and gloves, I figured maybe the wind is making it too cold for just a sport bra. I put on my team singlet for the race, the first time all year, but at this point I decided it needed to go. I was just too hot. I tossed it before the end of the second loop and headed back out again over the first hill and down around the field. M4 = 7:04. (OMG, really again over 7!)
Although my pace fluctuated with the terrain, I felt my effort was pretty even. Quick math reminded me that 35 minutes is 7 min pace for a 5 miler. I hoped to be close to that.
I had passed two women before the end of loop 2. Once I took off my singlet I started to feel better. I felt like I finally found my rhythm. I was pulling up on a few guys and feeling really good. I caught back up to Karl L. I worked hard to get there. I suspected he had kick to drop. I wasn't sure what I had. I made a pass and moved ahead after that last hill.
I wished I had sat back. I forgot about the wind we were getting from the impending hurricane that was in our face on the way in. I really don't like wind at all. After trying to ignore it, I just couldn't ignore how tired I was. Karl passed me back, but I couldn't match his kick. I tried. Not today. But as we came in towards the finish, I was actually very surprised to see the clock reading in the low 34:00's. I dug a little and finished strong in 34:21. Final . 97= 6:31 (6:45 pace) (That made me happy!)
The USATF-NJ XC races are smaller races (about 250 runners) but seem to attract faster runners. This means I would have to podium in the women's race to get a sufficient number of points for my Long Distance Running Series score card. That never happens for me at the XC races.
This was the same course I ran my last 5k XC race on in Sept. I ran that race at a 6:52 pace and was 14th female... today with almost 2 more miles for the 8k, I ran it at 6:54 and I was still 14th female. Ok, I will take that. To me that suggests an improvement in fitness, especially after 23 miles and bad recovery fueling yesterday.
I checked my result, then left to go prepare for the hurricane... hopefully it will not be as bad as predicted.
100 OA place
12th / 30 of the "39 and under" AG