This morning I ran a race.
Oh, you didn’t see that coming, did you? Let’s back up a little bit.
Friday afternoon, around four o’clock, my co-worker walked past my desk and asked a simple question he has asked many times in the past.
“Any races this weekend, Heather?”
My first race was scheduled for March. For the weekend of Fitbloggin. Sunday afternoon I was planning on running a race outside of Baltimore before making the six hour drive
home to my apartment. But then it turned out I wasn’t going to Fitbloggin anymore. So I wasn’t going to be running that race.
“Nope. No races until May.” I replied.
The conversation was over, but not before the sudden desire came over me. I was supposed to run twice during the week according to my half training plan, but because of some changes in my schedule, I hadn’t run since my impromptu 6.2 training miles last Sunday. I needed a race and I needed one quickly. So I logged on to active.com and got my search on.
Before I could even think about the long term effects of this new
relationship race, I was committed. I had signed up for the Saints Red Cross 5K, a race put on by one of the over 20 schools in the area, Siena College.
Of course, I didn’t check out the weather plan for the weekend until after I decided to run. When I did finally type in my zip code on weather.com, it told me to expect snow flurries, wind, and therefore, chilly temperatures. What did I get myself into?
Saturday night, I laid out my gear. But it wasn’t just any gear, it was “I may be running in snow” gear. I decided to layer up. Sports Bra, tank top, long-sleeved moisture wicking shirt, tshift, two pairs of socks, shorts, pants, and a baseball cap. Then I packed a bag with my trusty, super warm “old man” sweat pants, my Lodi soccer hoodie (also trusty), ang extra socks to change into post race incase of soaking rain along with a few other things I might need (my camera, my ipod in a ziplock bag a la Caitlin, the directions to the race site, a banana and a Clif bar.
Then I went to bed.
I tossed. I turned. I got up. I laid back down.
I read an entire chapter. I drifted to sleep for about 20 minutes.
Then more tossing. More turning. I got up. I laid back down.
I watched an episode of Weeds on DVD. I drifted to sleep for about an hour. Then I had a serious heart-to-heart with myself. “GO TO SLUMBER.”
The last time I remember looking at the clock was 2:30 AM, although I woke up a few times before my alarm went off at 5:30 AM.
Oddly, I wasn’t too tired. I did a quick 10 minutes of yoga in my living room, consisting mostly of a constant flow combination of rag doll, runners lunges, upward dog, plank, and downward dog. I just wanted my very tired body to feel a bit of a stretch before the start of the race.
I ate breakfast. I drank water. I triple checked to make sure my playlists had made it to my Ipod. This was my first race running with an Ipod, and I was muy excitedo. So excited in fact that I had chosen so many songs that when I was done selecting, I had over 2 hours of music on my playlist. I was hoping to run a little bit faster than a 39 minute mile, so I decided instead to make two playlists –
Then I was on my way.
The race was held at a park, The Crossings of Colonie. I had never been to The Crossings before, but I have noticed through searching for racing opportunities that a lot of the races in the area take place here, so I will most likely be running a few more races at this park in 2010.
The race went as well as one could expect after getting such little sleep. I know I could have pushed myself harder, and I had a bit of a battle with my mind all throughout. I walked a lot. I had told myself I wasn’t going to be upset with how I did as long as I crossed the finish line, which I did.
I didn’t PR, but I didn’t anti-PR, either. I ran the 3rd fastest 5K I’ve run so far, coming in with an official chip time of 35:46.
I didn’t wear a watch, or even attempt to pace myself during the race, which I know hurt my performance. I walked when I wanted to walk, and I made sure to use all hills to my advantage.
There was a point in the course where I could see the last stretch of the course, hear the announcer and watch people sprinting past the the finish line in the opposite direction – but I still had a bit of a run ahead of me. Having never run this course before, I couldn’t exactly tell how much I had left to go, and it seemed to be quite a ways. When I heard the announcer say that someone had just crossed the line at 25:30, I thought for sure I had at least a mile and a half to go and that I was in no way going to PR, or even come close. Instead of pushing myself harder, I started to lose the mental battle. I started to walk
MORE. I didn’t give up completely, but I definitely didn’t push myself as much as I usually do towards the end of a race.
When I crossed the line under two minutes from my PR, and only 15 seconds away from my 2nd fastest 5K, I felt a bitter taste in my mouth. I was upset that i had given up so easily. I had walked a lot of that last stretch, not because I was in pain, or out of energy, but because I had allowed my mind to defeat me. My motivation and my drive had fallen to the wayside, when I could have very easily run the last stretch with everything I had and probably came close to my PR, if not beat it. I was a sad runner.
I made a few decisions after the race.
I will not be upset. I crossed the finish line. I wasn’t prepared for the race at all, and I shouldn’t have expected to PR when I didn’t the best decisions the week, day, and night before the race.
In 2010 the following will happen:
I will have a new 5K PR. I will. end of story.
I will try new distances. I already have a few races chosen for this year – a few more 5Ks, but also the half marathon on 10-10-10, and a 4 miler on the 4th of July. I’m going to try and find some other mid-distance races as well.
I will work hard at conquering my biggest running struggles; pace & breathing.
I will run with someone I love. Seeing the groups of people together on the course, pushing one another along, high-fiving, and just being there made me instantly jealous of my not having a running buddy to enjoy the race with. But even more so, seeing the groups of people together after the race, stretching, chatting, laughing, gave me such a longing to have someone there with me.
I will have someone at the finish line to cheer me on, celebrate with me and take my photo. I’m already stoked that my family is coming to visit this summer, but the fact that they are going to be in town when I am running the Firecracker 4 has me especially excited. I’m trusting my mother will be much more reliable with taking post-race photos. Thank you nice woman who took this photo with my camera for me today. ahem.
Do you have any race goals for this year?