Saturday, June 16, 2012

We Run the Night :-)

SO, after my latest 5K adventure Wednesday night that had me questioning my fundamental views of racing, I decided to pop in another one on Saturday. I appreciate the challenge that difficult 5Ks present, but they always leave me wondering how I could have done had the course been flat and fast. SO, in addition to channeling my inner competitor, I wanted to see what kind of spark my legs REALLY had in them.
Race start at the Flag Day 5k--where's waldo??? :-)

I decided to run the Captain’s Charity 5K because it was advertised as flat and fast, AND it was only five minutes away. I planned to get there a bit early so I could register, use the restroom, and get in a good warm up because I was up against my biggest competitor and needed to be prepared. Who is this crazy perfectionist competitor getting me all psyched up to kick butt this morning??? Well, DUH--- ME!!! J The truth is, and with all people, I truly believe our best competitor is ourselves. Upon reflection over the last few days, I think my self-competitive ways of being have been doing me right. It’s just not me to worry about the rankings of anyone else; I’m only concerned with how I’m doing relative to ME.  That’s just who I am. Sorry, Darwin! :-) 

So, my goal was to get close to 19:30. I haven’t done any kind of speed training in months (SHAME ON ME!!) so I didn’t want to hold my heart to close to it. Anything under 20:00 and I was going to be a happy girl. After I registered, I ran out to the race course. I did some jumping jacks, stretched a bit, then did a mile warm up. I included a few 200 meter sprints to get my legs loosened up. I hate starting a race with stiff legs! The course looked flat as suggested, although a bit windy, so I knew I had the power to get under 20:00 if I ran smart.

After my warm up, I hopped on over to the race start and felt totally ready to go. All of the runners lined up, the horn went off, and off we went!! I made sure to relax and stick to a comfortable pace for the first few meters. 5k races always have the mad dash runners for the first half mile that crash when they realize the pace is out of their league. I always get anxious holding back. But, in every race as I start passing runners one by one, it's always apparent that sticking to a pace in my league pays off in the long run! So, I kept that in mind and I stuck to about a 6:10 pace. There was one female ahead of me in the first mile, but I let her do her thing. I was racing the clock and wasn’t worrying about anything else. As I crossed the first mile marker, I was at 6:11 which pleased me. Wednesday, I was at 5:55 and I didn’t have the finish I wanted. So, with my conservative start, I felt confident. As I came to a turn around, I ended up passing the girl who had been in front of me. She didn’t even attempt to stick with me, and soon I was catching up with some boys with various race plans. Some dropped behind, one flew ahead, and one stuck just a tad in front of me until the finish. I think I was his motivation---he wouldn’t want to lose to a girl!

As I got to mile 1.5, I started getting those “oOoOooOoO half way there, this is where you could choke” thoughts in my head. I immediately started thinking of that super fun new Pitbull song that I was dancing to on the car ride to the race (…and for all these years, I thought coffee was the key to my morning perkiness. Apparently I don’t need it after all!! Haaaa).  I think it's called "We Run the Night." It's sOoOoO peppy and fun! :-) It got me out of that potential funk and kept me on pace. I kept a close eye on my watch, not letting my pace sink anything below 6:30, and holding close to the 6:20s. Once I got into mile 2, I was confident that I was going to break 20:00 but knew I had to keep pushing. I definitely was feeling the pain, but had enough in me to keep chugging. The boy that was a tad in front of me was feeling it, and I felt like I started giving into his pace a bit. It's really easy to do that, especially towards the end of the race when you're tired. AND, that's why it's SO important to RUN YOUR OWN RACE!! ;-) We rounded the corner into the Captain’s Stadium, and I pushed across the finish line. I finished 19:42, 6:20min/mi and was first overall female!

I didn't break 19:30, but did get under 20:00 so I was very excited! The race was a good confidence booster for me, and a reminder of the benefits of conservative pacing. Any race of any distance I’ve been truly successful in, it has come down to proper pacing. If I go out too fast in the heat of the moment, it throws off the entire race. Even in races where I’ve run fast times (CLE Marathon 2010, I ran a 3:18, but paced it ALL wrong and the second half was pure misery), conservative early miles or meters are essential. I do want to get under 19:30, in fact, I want to get under 19:00! But to do that, I need to get back on the track. I will be their Monday morning!! :-)

As for tomorrow, I will be up bright and early for 11 miles on the Tow Path wrapping week 2 of my Tow Path Marathon training! Just an FYI for those interested, I will be once again using Hal Higdon’s Advanced 2 Marathon Training Plan this time around. I had a pretty successful fall using that plan, (and potentially spring, but had to stop in the middle due to my stupid health issues!) so I plan to stick with it.  I will blog a week 2 recap tomorrow!

It’s Saturday night---stop reading this blog post and go run the night!!! :-D

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