I don’t think I mentioned it, but during my run last Tuesday, I had a brand new injury appear out of the blue. I was afraid it was going to wreck both races, but thank my lucky stars it did not. Things worked out just fine and I am super relieved.
I was nervous about the 5K. I wanted to push hard, but was fearful about making the injury worse, especially for Sunday’s 13.1. It was very cool out, I ran around the parking lot to warm up. I could feel some slight pain, but hoped that would be it. Otherwise, I felt good. (And this may be TMI, but after two trips to the bathroom -one of which was five minutes before the start- I felt a lot better. It really sucks to run when you think your stomach might betray you at any moment.)
Before long, we were lined up and then we were running. I started my playlist, or at least I thought I did. I had an 18 minute playlist that I was hoping would carry me to an 18 minute finish. All uptempo, hard charging music. But the second song? 06 Jah Calling
At this point, I realized I’ve always used my iPod shuffle on random, and never bothered to figure out how to specifically play the playlist! D’oh! But Jah was calling for me to go easy the first mile, which I did.
The course was not the same as I’d run before, so my pacing felt off. I was shocked when we hit a turn around and were halfway home. And I must say that I hate turn arounds where you go around a cone and just turn around. I’d much prefer a gradual turn like a roundabout or something. This kind of turnaround just seemed lazy, like they couldn’t be bothered to figure out something more graceful. Perhaps expectations are lower in races that go through shopping center parking lots.
I started to pick up the pace and passed a few runners. My breathing was under control, but my heart rate was high. One of the guys I’d passed came back and passed me. I tried to keep up with him, but he wasn’t having it. He toasted me and I had to let him go. The last quarter-mile was tough. I gave it all I had. Cruising under the clock, I saw my time 19:32. (6:17 pace.) Not as good as I’d hoped, but under 20 minutes, which was my goal. The good news is, there’s plenty of room for improvement at the next 5K!
I developed a new-found respect for the 5K distance. As an aspiring ultra runner, a 3.1 mile race seems silly, but this race isn’t about distance, it’s about speed. It’s almost like an extended sprint. Which is doggone hard! And beautiful. It’s another way to see how much you can endure. Best of all, this test takes only 20 minutes instead of 20 hours! I definitely look forward to doing more of these, and training specifically for the event.
One race down, one to go.
It was another cold start. So cold (relatively speaking), that I was wondering if I should have worn more clothing. The wind made it seem way colder than it was. But I knew I’d warm up.
I had my dad try and take my picture with my iPhone. That was a comedy of errors as my dad is challenged by any technology from this century or last. After literally the fifth try, he got a picture.
I will definitely have to teach my dad how to use a camera one of these days…
So the race start was 7:45. I got an okay spot near the front. I was cold and nervous. There was a guy to my right wearing a Garmin that looked like it was from the 80’s. He had his arm in the air for a good four minutes trying to acquire satellites. I never heard a countdown and all of a sudden we were off.
Surprisingly, the crowd thinned out almost immediately and there was tons of room which was great, but weird. The wind walloped us the first two miles or so, but eventually died down. Or I stopped noticing it. One or the other.
I had no idea about the course other than this map below.
I can be really dumb sometimes, okay, a lot of the time, but I just now figured out how to read the map. It does tell you which direction to go! My point was I had no idea what to expect on the course. The good news is there was only one hill on the course, and it was no big deal at all. The hardest part was making sure I was following the arrows on the ground.
My mystery injury wasn’t bothering me, but then some other things pains made appearances. Most of them were brief, but noticeable. It made me think of that idea of intentionally inflicting some smaller pain to take your mind off of a bigger pain. Thankfully though, the second half of he run was pain-free.
When we got to Trinity University, we ran around the track. That felt great underfoot and was a welcome relief from the concrete. This was the halfway point and I didn’t even realize it. I had a gel with me that I had intended to use at the halfway point, but I didn’t want to stop or futz around with it. Plus I’d eaten a ton of quinoa two days in a row, so my glycogen was still good.
I looked at my watch and tried to math in my mind where I should be to hit my time goal. I had forgotten to write down my goal on my arm. Was it 1:35? 1:37? 1:39? I thought it was 1:35, which meant I should be at about 47 minutes, and I was at 49. So I freaked out and started running harder.
Even if I had written down my overall goal finish time, that information is basically useless. If I’m falling behind my pace, I need to correct that during the race, as early as possible, not near the end when it may be too late. They have rub on tattoos – “pace tats” – which have your time splits.
I’ve never used them before, but I now understand how they would be useful. With the pace tat, the info is right there. You just look at what mile point you’re at and your time, and you’ll know where you stand. Because the last thing you want to try to do during a race is math.
I may have to give those pace tats a try because I thought I had set up my Garmin for a virtual pacer, but didn’t get that to work. Honestly, I think I’m not really cut out to wear a Garmin. Or maybe I just need to find a Garmin for Dummies book. But back to the race.
I’m pushing hard now, and coming down a hill, I see a huge mass of runners coming up the hill. For some reason, that makes run even harder. I hate to think I was showing off, but maybe I was. A little bit. And so I showed off the last 4 miles, averaging about 6:35. I felt good!
The finish finally showed up and sprinted the last bit. I remembered to stop my watch. After I’d caught my breath, I looked and saw that I was under 1:35! (And actually, my goal was 1:37.) My Garmin had me at 1:29:32, for a 6:52 pace (and only 13.01 miles.) The race ticket had me at about the same thing. I was super happy that I’d made my goal and wouldn’t have to fret about it for the next few months. Although I will admit I was a little bummed because if I’d run five minutes faster, I could have gotten into the A Corral…
But for now, the races are over. Time to get healed up and ready to start building up the base.