I registered today for this race. I need to get some 700pt USATF- NJ races for my score card. The timing for this is not ideal, but if I want to run ultras, run marathons, and be a part of the series, nothing is going to be ideally timed. I have 2-3 goals races per year which I try to taper for, at least, but this race was not a goal race so I ran abt 90 miles this week (including that 50 miler on Sunday) leading up to this.
I really didn't care too much about what I ran today, as long as I made a good effort. I believe as slow race on tired legs can be just as challenging as a fast race on fresh legs. However, admittedly, I was a little anxious about this race because at this race last year I tore my Plantar Fascia somewhat significantly. I just want to get through this ok.
Even thought this is my "rest week" with lighter mileage planned from this past Monday, I still always start off at a competitive pace while assessing how much I need to back off. My plan was to run around 7:00's for as long as I can, expecting the first mile to be fast since it is mostly downhill, and the last miles to be slower b/c they are most uphill
I dont think this race is easy. The first mile starts with a steep downhill, then rolls a little bit through some streets. Then we level out and run along a gravel trail for a few miles. All of that is easy. But, at 5 miles we pop out of the trail and hit the roads again, but much of this half of the race includes larger rollers, mostly uphills, that bring us back up to the park. As we get closer to the park, we hit a very short but steep part that is really just mean. Finally we enter the park, recover with a decline while making our way around the parking lot on a bike path until we reach the final incline to the finish.
M1 - 6:26... or 6:50??? Last time I ran this I remember the first mile being marked long. Here again, all the Garmins are beeping before we were even close. At the beep, my split was 6:26 and it felt like it, but at the mile mark it read 6:50.
M2 - 6:59. As the road level's out, I settle down, run comfortable and try to reserve something for the rolling hills that will come in the second half of the course. As we hit mile 2, the Garmin beeps on schedule, reassuring me that the first mile was marked too long.
M3 - 7:04. We are on the trail section. I am starting to feel worried. It was on this part that my PF pain began. I remember feeling trapped at the half way mark of this shorter race with a lot of pain. Finishing the race only made it worse. Despite this section being flat and on hard packed dirt, I tend to slow down. I kept noticing my Garmin reading slower pace and I had to make a focused effort to get the pace back down.
M4 - 6:59. I know those hill are coming soon and I start to wonder what will happen. They always seem to slow me a lot in past years here. I am passing some females while getting passed by some men. I feel like it is too soon to push myself hard so I sit at a comfortably challenging pace waiting for the hills to come.
M5 - 7:00. We pop out of the trail, turn a corner and cruise down a decline before we start to approach the mild inclining road that will turn into larger rollers soon. I start to make a effort to hold my pace and wonder how many miles I can stay 7 or under.
M6 - 6:58. I am working hard on the ups to stay steady and working as hard as I can to use gravity to help me on all the downhills
M7 - 6:50. As we level out again, I try to pick off as many people as I can. I know the last mile is going to be mostly uphill, so if I want a shot at PR, I need to make up some time and Mile 7 and 8 are the miles to do it. I don't get as much back as I thought I could in this mile, but I am happy to still feel strong.
M8- 6:48. Any downhill I find I work hard. Any up I hit I try to stay strong. I hear what place I am for the women and it becomes my goal to not lose my position. There are no women near me, in front or behind, that I can see. However, I don't want to give anyone a chance to pass me on the last uphills in mile 9.
M9- 7:00. This is a cruel mile. We have to get back up to the park and we do it with some short steep ups that make my chest hurt.
M9.3 - 2:32. Once up the last of the ups we run a lap around the parking lots on a bike path and finish going up an incline. I make an effort to finish as fast as I can. Garmin has me a 6:45 pace for .38... but whatever it is, it took me 2:32 to run it.
I am happy to have such a good run after many weekends of longer hard races. A 15k is a nice change of pace from ultras or marathons. :)
5th Female OA