Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sanibel Race for FISH 10k

I couldn't have asked for a better race Saturday. I need to be honest here: I didn't have a strategy or plan in mind until about a mile into the race. I knew I wanted to run conservatively because I have Rocktoberfest tomorrow, and I knew I wanted to beat my last time on this course (65:00), but I also knew my PR on the course (58:41) was out of reach. Beyond that, I had no plans.

But let me start from the beginning. (It's a very good place to start.) 

Kristin planned to meet me at my house with Kristina - her babysitter and an old student of mine - at 5:30am, then I would drive to the race, which didn't start until 7:30. We wanted ample time to get there. So at 4:50 I got up and had iced coffee, put on the day's racing outfit, and had a Glutino poptart.
I knew it would be a good race when I woke up to this!
When we got into the car, this is what greeted me:
Matt couldn't make this race, but he made sure I knew he was thinking of me!
We headed out right on time and got to the race venue early. We already had our packets, which were full of some pretty fun stuff this year, so we had time to use the bathrooms, eat an Espresso Love Gu, and get everything ready before lining up.
Our race packets included a backpack, water battle, t-shirt, frisbee, B12 shot, and protein powder sample.

Kristin and me pre-race.
Really excited at the starting line!
In the first mile, my legs felt a little...sore? Achy? I don't have a good word for it. They felt like I'd been doing anaerobic exercises recently, which I haven't been. They didn't really hurt or even feel weak, but they didn't feel fresh. Still, I kept a nice pace for that first mile and just reminded myself over and over to take it slow in the first half.

It was then that I decided to chase 62 minutes. It's a nice round number that means a sub-10 pace, which would be just fast enough to feel accomplished without burning myself out for Sunday's race.

I hit the 5k clock around 32 minutes, at which time I felt I'd been moving along at a leisurely pace and was taking it too easy. I made the conscious decision to put a little more fuel on the fire. 

At this point, I began to pass many of the people who had sprinted ahead of me around miles 2 and 3. This always seems to happen; I get a kind of sick pleasure out of being "slow and steady" and watching so many people burn themselves out. That's terrible sportsmanship, but it's true. I'm proud of myself for knowing how to stay on pace and keep the bigger picture in mind.

Around mile 4.5 I saw Kristin coming along the turn-around and she high-fived me. (At mile 5.5, I returned the favor and cheered for Kristina as she came up the road.) I usually slow down 2/3 into a race, and for this one that distance corresponds to a dirt road from mile 4 to about 5.5. This time, I didn't let myself slow. In fact, I kicked it up and kept a faster pace at that point, even holding it to mile 6. When I knew I was close, I dropped the hammer.
Rounding the final turn...
As usually happens, once I cranked up the pace at the end, those around me followed suit. The dash to the finish was neck-and-neck-and-neck.


My sprint at the end was the epitome of ugly running...my form was atrocious, my lips were pulled back in a snarl, and I was taking the biggest, ground-eating-est strides I could. But I had to. The clock read 1:01:50 when I rounded the corner, and I wanted 1:02 so badly I could taste it.
Boom. Mission accomplished. Negative-split race and right on time!
 Let's take a moment to appreciate this face:
Matt calls this my "Terminator Face."
Here's something important that occurred to me as I grabbed a water: my last race in April was a 10k that I ran as an end to my training for the winter/spring before taking a little time off. I ran it to enjoy it, and came in at 65 minutes. (This seems to be my usual when I'm not trying.) Running harder - but still holding back from what I knew I could do - boosted my confidence for the marathon. I know a 10k is less than a quarter of the marathon distance, but just remembering what it feels like to run a good race has helped tremendously.
And funnily enough, I felt I didn't get enough of a workout. 10k seems...downright short, really.

One other cool thing that happened at the finish line was that an older guy sought me out and told me he'd been trying to read my tattoo most of the race, and he really liked it and found it motivating.

Kristin came in at 59:43, meeting her sub-60 goal, and Kristina - who was running her first 10k ever - placed first in her age group! All-in-all, we were very happy with our performances.
Post-race breakfast!
Meg (you may remember her from Ragnar, too) met us at the finish and we went to breakfast at one of Sanibel's many kitschy restaurants.

After returning home and taking a very brief nap, I hung up my medal and we went out to meet Kristin and her husband Stephen for an Oktoberfest lunch at a local pub. We enjoyed drinks and bar food; it was the perfect way to cap off the day's festivities.
This year's medal is definitely the cutest!
My solid race has me beyond excited for tomorrow's...Or, you know, by the time you're reading this...today's!

ABK

20 comments:

  1. Love the snarly face, and still with the perfect brows. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know I can't go out without grooming my brows, even to run a race!

      Delete
  2. Congrats!! You did awesome and I love that face! :) Also, your headband is adorable!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm kind of a headband junkie!

      Delete
  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I love reading race recaps. :) Great Terminator face. ;) I've made a few of those this year as well...lol. Oddly enough I understand your 'sick pleasure' of watching others lose steam as you pass them. This happened to me in my marathon recently and I totally get it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one...I don't wish them any kind of harm or anything, but I just kind of love overtaking people who try to pass me!

      Delete
  4. Looks like you had an amazing race!!!! Can't wait to read about your 10 miler :) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That one was definitely tougher but a great experience!

      Delete
  5. Congrats!!! The Terminator Face is the face of race success!! Seriously impressed with your perfect pacing to hit your goal of 1:02 almost on the nose!

    Also, I'm a little jealous because The Island Cow is my favorite at Sanibel! Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never eaten there but YUM...I devoured my entire plate!

      Delete
  6. Great job girl....all that training is paying off and you are going to kill the marathon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm starting to really feel that it's going to come true!

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on such an amazing race! You are rocking your runs lately. I'm so glad! I can't wait to read about today's race.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally "in the zone"! I hope it lasts!

      Delete
  8. NICE job! You hit your goal, did negative splits... the perfect race! And you are clearly a very seasoned racer to know your body and know HOW to approach a race. Some people just go out too fast... but then they give us a huge ego boost and motivation to continue when we pass them! That is some nice swag you got there. And I love your terminator face! Did you have to finish in SAND!? That looks HORRIBLE! Please tell me it just looks softer than it is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The finish was in a sand parking lot, which means it was SUPER well-packed. It's the same terrain as the 4-5.5 mile mark...not too soft but definitely not concrete!

      Delete
    2. Oh okay that is good. When I go to the beach I run in the sand and it is soooo hard.

      Delete
  9. So cool to read about this. Loved your strategy and how you went about executing it. And LOVED seeing the photos of you bearing down at the end (making that turn and then at the end) - so often we don't get to see this sort of thing. Congrats on a great race!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really glad Kristin finished so early and that Meg was there to get photos...it's nice to see the effort at the end paid off!

      Delete
  10. Awesome job!! Great time! And the snarly face lol...I think most of us runners probably make funky faces when we're pushing for pace!

    ReplyDelete