This shouldn't be a very long report, even though I ran two races and these were both large races for local road races. There was 970 runners in this 10k.
Coming off my best marathon last week, I road a wave of adrenaline to a 90 mile week. I haven't run a 90 mile week in a long time. In fact, I actually tapered a bit for Run for the Red marathon by running only 30 miles the week prior. But I think that was more out of feeling sluggish than from me planning a bona fide taper. Run for the Red was not supposed to be a PR for me, but rather a race to see how much work I have to do to run a great marathon in the fall.
Going from a 30 mile to a 90 mile week left me feeling flat. I still thought I had a shot at some 6:45's. My expectations were not crazy. I ran 6:43 pace here last year… but that was last year when circumstances were different.
This felt like the most humid and warmest start to a race so far for me this year. Each week I will only be reporting the same until at some point in Sept when I hope to be reporting the decline in temps. Strolling Jim may have gotten up to 77 degrees, but it was cool at the start. Today was the first day I was sweating while in my car getting prepared to race. The humidity was thick and I knew it was going to be a struggle.
At 8:15, I line up with Rich T. and declare that we will run a bunch of random splits. Of course I was hoping that those splits would come true because they were good ones. It did happen. Bummer. I knew miles 3 and 4 were slow for me last year, so I expected something similar. Three wasn't so bad, but mile 4 this year was much worse. M1 6:43, M2 6:41, M3 6:47, M4 7:12 (ugh, LOL!).
By mile 3.5 I had managed to pair up with a guy who's name I forgot, I want to say Mike, but I just can't recall. I sorry Guy I will refer to as Mike. We ran side-by-side in silence for a while. I think initially the instinct racers have is to race people nearby. Usually someone breaks and one pulls ahead. But "Mike" and I just stayed steadily on the same pace until somehow the energy changed from competitors to companions in this together. I was clearly the weakest link for most of this final third. At a water stop, I managed to pull ahead, but looked back to see if he was coming back up. He was. He asked me once about pace. I gave him the data. M5 7:08, M6 6:50
I was hoping to have a shot a breaking 42, but as we hit the 6 mile clock and I saw the time already in 41:xx I knew I wasn't going to be close to breaking 42. My breathing was labored since my asthma is triggered by humidity (most other with asthma report the opposite). I decide to just hold my pace, not let anyone pass me, and hope to survive the 5k. Last .2 1:25 (6:38 pace)
AG 1st AG ($25 Gift Card)
As I finished the race, a guy on the medical staff looks at me, very concerned, and asked "Are you OK?". I said "Yes" and he pointed at my stomach. I looked down and I had blood and sweat streaming down my mid-section. I can't wait to see my race photos.
Since running the marathon last Sunday, I had suffered from chaffing from my sports bra band. I usually I do a few successful things to protect my skin, but I did none of those things race day morning before the marathon. By the end of the marathon, I had a raw spot that remained sore for days. During the week my mileage ramped up so fast that my skin was not able to heal. The small blister bandage is usually all I need to protect my skin. But, I had run out of bandages during the week my skin was not happy.
Before today's races, I had prepped my skin, first with rubbing alcohol before applying the bandage, hoping the alcohol would help the bandages adhere firmly before the race. The humidity was working against me and was much stronger than the adhesive on the bandage. By mile 1, the bandage had fallen off. By the end, my skin was torn up and I was bleeding significantly with out even realizing it.
I went to the med tent to ask if they had anything I could use to clean up the blood and then anything that I could use to lube up the area before the next race. They did a good job coming up with creative solutions to try to figure out what I could do to not bleed all over myself in the next race.
The 5k started at 10:15. There was 1706 runners in this race. I am pretty sure about 900 were under 15 years old and they were all in front of me. :) I found my way towards the front but had trouble getting into the street. The group was loud and rowdy. I was feeling a bit dizzy and claustrophobic being packed firmly into the group of runners. The starting Gun was a tired little air horn that was barely audible from my location (which wasn't that deep into the start, it is just that the crowd was loud and I was smushed into a dense pack of people).
When the boys behind me realized that the race had started, they started screaming and shoving and yelling for people to RUNNNNN!!!! It was probably one of the most unpleasant starts I have ever had during a race, as I felt myself being forcefully pushed from behind. Not pleasant at all. This made me wonder if there was an effective way for RD's to share the idea that a runner's official time does not start until the start mat is cross so there is no reason to push or jostle in the starting corral when the gun goes off.
As I started the race, my legs felt tingly and I felt surreal. I am not sure if it was the humidity and heat increasing as it passed 10 am, or if I felt the impact of being smushed into a herd of people. I knew this was going to be hard.
At .2 miles into the race, many over zealous youngsters were starting to peter out. I thought it was adorable to hear a little girl encourage her friend by letting her know, "You know, it is really OK to walk some." At this point, the crowds were thinned out and running was smooth.
As I reached mile one I feel incredibly tired, but I am so grateful that there is only 2 miles left. M1 6:48
From here forward, I feel like I am on cruise control (set to not a very fast pace), not able to run any faster, but rather just trying to survive while hurrying to get to a place I could stop. The miles were hard. My legs were tired. But in comparison to the 10k, the 5k really does feel manageable. M2 7:12, M3 7:02
I pass a few ladies in the last mile and decide that I really don't want to be passed back in the last tenth, so I dig a little for something more. Last .1 37 (5:32 pace).
Just after I cross the finish, I hear someone say "I tried to keep up with you this time, but I just couldn't catch up to you!" It was "Mike" from the first race.
AG: 2/89 ($10 Gift Cert)
That was a great way to run a 15k! Not my fastest 10k/5k double. I can't say that I am honestly thrilled with my performance, but I can't complain. Considering both races cost me $40 and I won $35 in Gift Certificates, I am happy.