My goal and/or hope was to PR this race. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that didn't happen. I'll analyze the race a little further on in this post.
The race was held at a bar called West Park Station in Cleveland, though it is basically in the swankier West Side suburbs, rather than Cleveland proper. The race didn't start until 9 AM and was only a half hour away, so I was able to sleep in relatively late for a race day (about 7:30 AM).
We haven't been running our heat (to save money), so it felt really cold when I got up, and I grabbed my hat and gloves, but when I stepped out of the garage, it was actually very pleasant! It was 50 degrees, but it didn't have that "chilly" feeling. I ended up running in just shorts and a t-shirt and was very comfortable, though almost everyone else was layered up. It's been seasonally warm here, so I think we're all still in that stage with overdressing on accident.
I arrived at the race site around 8:30 AM and parked at the Walgreens next door (shh...) and waited about two minutes for my race packet. I got the last small shirt (score!!), but they were ordering more shirts for the sizes they had run out of, which I always appreciate. I was planning to wear the shirt to pass out candy, so I was really glad they had my size! They are long-sleeve cotton shirts, which I think are my favorite type of shirt to get from a race - so comfy and cozy!
|For a unisex, it fits surprisingly well!|
They sent us out to the start about five minutes before hand, and while it was a little cool waiting, and I was far from miserable. I ended up standing next to this guy who asked for the time, which I was happy to provide him, but then he kept craning his head to look at my watch about every 30 seconds, which I had pick up satellites, so the time wasn't even showing anymore. It was strange!
The race started without much fanfare. I'm very happy with where I placed myself, since I have a history of starting too far back. I only had to weave around a few people, then I was in a good spot. I wasn't sure of how fast I could run, so I hung on to a guy pacing about 8:50. He was going very sure and steady and seemed comfortable at that pace, so I two stepped behind him for the first mile and a half. The pace felt hard, but I was able to keep my breathing under control.
However, after about the halfway point, my legs were just done. I lost my rabbit but was surprised to see I was holding about the same pace - he must have sped up (because he had a better pacing strategy than hanging with a random stranger, ahem).
After the second mile, the wheels came off. I'm sure it's been the time off due to injury, but my legs could not turn over and my heart rate was sky high. I kept backing it off incrementally to see if I could catch my breath, and I ended up dropping to an almost 10 min/mile pace. There was a point where sitting on the curb and crying sounded good. It sounds so melodramatic now, but I just hurt at a pace that should've been comfortable.
With a half mile to go, we turned back to the main street, which would take us to the last .1 of the course. I felt like slowing had allowed me to recover fairly well, so I started to pick it back up. I imagined "changing gears" and picked it up in spurts, letting each increase settle in before going again. It was hard, but with my heart rate back under control, I felt better.
The last .1 was a straight shot and I focused on doing a controlled acceleration through the finish.
There was water, bananas, and granola bars easily accessible right across the line, and I helped myself and watched people finish for awhile. A lot of people dressed up, and it was really fun! But I felt really tired and nauseous. Now that I've had a chance to think over the race, I've started questioning whether it was really a physical issue that held me back, or if it was more mental. But, to me, wanting to puke is a good benchmark, so I feel like I did really give it my all.
I'm disappointed I didn't PR, and I just left the race afterwards, instead of staying for awards. I told myself I was cold, but I easily could've grabbed my coat from the car and gone back inside. The racing company posts results in real time, and I thought fleetingly I should check them, but I moped my way home instead.
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I saw later I had placed third in my age group! I'm hoping I might be able to pick it up at one of the Fleet Feet stores, but we'll see.
I'm feeling a little down because I was hoping a big PR would prove I had gained a ton of fitness this training cycle. However, I realize I should have recognized that taking a few weeks off throughout to treat my leg, while being the smart decision, would affect my performance. I also need to keep in mind I've been training for a marathon, not a balls to the wall 5K, as it were.
I am taking heart in the fact that my last .1 was at a 7:20 pace, and it didn't feel like a wild out-of-control sprint. For reference, the last bit of the Jog into Spring 5K, where I got my current PR, was an 8:35 pace and felt like death. I think I have more speed than I showed today, I just didn't have the endurance to put it all together.
Hopefully I will be able to clean my running up the next two weeks for Chickamauga!