This racing season was a non-running PR season for me. I'd focused much more on biking and running, and while my running was never terrible (except for IM Wisconsin, which I wouldn't even call a run), it was never a PR. Even more disheartening was the fact that I never really felt great during those runs either. I wasn't looking forward to them and I didn't have the same zip that I always used to have...
Well, it may be too early to tell, but I feel like I've turned a corner and now I'm headed in a new, more positive direction in terms of my running. It's actually fun again and I have speed there that I didn't know still existed. This weekend was the weekend of two races - a 5K on Saturday and a 10 mile trail race on Sunday. On with the race reports!
Tuckahoe 5K in Arlington:
A nice local race with lots of elementary, middle, and high school kids, as well as a bunch of adults. I found out the day before that Rachel and Brad would also be at the race, so I was looking forward to seeing them afterwards. The race was in North Arlington, which is the really hilly part of Arlington. I wasn't worried about trying to make a PR - this race was more to gauge my running fitness than anything else. But, while I was more concerned with the HR data than the time, a fast finish would still be welcome. I wanted to try to negative split the run, but I didn't want to start off too slow. Or start off too fast and fade at the end. It has been ages since I raced a 5K and I really didn't have a rock-solid strategy. Just go fast and feel uncomfortable. That was it.
Mile 1: Hills. And faster than I had planned with a 6:53 first mile. There was a line of about 4 girls ahead of me and we all seemed to ease into a similar pace without anyone making a move. I was in the back and comfortable there, I didn't want to make a move too early, just stay with them.
Mile 2: More Hills. With a 6:59 time for that mile, my speed was slowing, but so was everyone else's. My HR was staying in the 170s, so I knew I was working hard. So far I was still in the same position in terms of the girls ahead of me, but no girls were passing me either.
Mile 3: You guessed it - Hills. And my slowest mile of the race - 7:10 - so much for negative splitting the race. I was definitely feeling fatigued at this point, but I wanted to move up and I knew I had enough in me to keep a relatively hard pace to the finish. I ran the last 0.1 at a 6:56 pace and happily crossed the finish line in 22:01. I hadn't looked at my time, besides the per mile pace, during the whole race. I wish I had looked a little earlier because if I knew I was going to be so close to a sub-22, I like to think I would've dug a little deeper and pushed it a bit faster. I ended up getting 2nd in my age group and 5th girl overall.
Backyard Burn 10 Mile Trail Run, Wakefield Park
I had gotten a slot to this race at the last minute, with a friend transferring her bib to me late in the week. I knew I would have run a hard 5K the day before, so I thought about doing the 5 miler instead of the 10, but I have always thought that 10 miles is the perfect race distance. I'd never done a trail run (besides one at the end of an off-road tri), and figured I could probably survive the 10, especially because Wakefield was one of the less hilly trails around. Lots of my friends were doing the race, so I was also looking forward to socializing with everyone. Plus, there was the promise of French Toast at brunch afterwards, making race day look pretty good. This being my first 10 mile trail race, I didn't know what to expect in terms of my pace or overall time. I was hoping to keep my pace in the low 8's and maybe finish at 1:20 or so. Here were my splits:
Mile 1: 7:13
Mile 2: 7:44
Mile 3: 8:05
Mile 4: 8:22
Mile 5: 7:56
Mile 6: 7:46
Mile 7: 8:00
Mile 8: 8:01
Mile 9: 7:59
Mile 10: 7:21
It was like deja vu all over again; throughout much of the race, there was a line of girls, with me towards the back of the line. I slowly picked off girls, trying to keep my pace under control during the first loop so I would fall completely apart on the second loop. During the first loop it was hard to tell which were running the 5 miler and which were doing the 10. There was a girl wearing a green shirt who was ahead of me all the way until mile 8.5. I kept my sights on here and moved closer and closer. Then there was another girl (Taylor, who turned out to also be on Team Z and super nice) who was trading places with me throughout the second loop. They were both fast and I was wary of making a move and passing them both because I wasn't sure how long I could keep up a good surge. Finally, about 1.5 miles from the finish, at the top of the big hill, I made my move and pushed the pace, passing the girl in the green and wondering how long it would be before her and Taylor caught me. I was feeling good, even though I was working hard, and I didn't want to cross that finish line wondering if I could've worked harder or where I would've placed if I hadn't given up. So I kept pushing, was definitely uncomfortable, but I knew I could hold that pace until the finish. In the end, it turns out I came in 2nd in my age group and 3rd overall! I won a glass for drinking beer, ate some pizza and socialized with everyone I hadn't seen in awhile. Overall it was a great day and I'm really, really happy with my race!