Don’t let the name of this race fool you. It was not spring-like weather out there. In fact, I think the distance I ran just about equaled the temperature. Thank goodness there was no wind and the sun was brightly shining the entire time! In fact, about a mile in, I realized I probably wore too many layers. You would think with the amount of outdoor winter runs I have done, I’d get this part right. Nope. Not even close to getting it right.
I started my day by showing up to the race site around 8am. The race didn’t start until 10am, but when I went to pick up my packet, they mentioned they could use some help with registration, so I figured I would help for a few hours before the race. I got to score a prime parking spot and it was fun to talk to the other runners. In fact, I got to meet Sally, Jennifer & Amanda for the first time! I love meeting twitter friends in real life! Steff ended up taking Kelsey’s bib for the race as she didn’t want to spend the time outside in the cold running, which I totally understood! I think as soon as Steff arrived, she was regretting bailing on the treadmill to run outside.
Around 9:45am I switched all my layers to race gear, got my bib on with my new RaceDots (more on those & a giveaway this week!), snugged on two pairs of socks and off I went to the start line. I dropped my bag in my car and the last thing I did was throw my neck gaiter in the car with my bag. For the first few miles I regretted this, but I think overall, it was OK that I didn’t have this. Elite Runners & Walkers puts on good races. Right at 10am the race was underway and off we went!
My plan was to “race” this as much as possible, but to also be smart about these miles as well. I had been having some pain in my right foot/ankle area and didn’t want to push it too much. With two months until the big day, it’s about being smart at this time and listening to my body. However, morning of, I was feeling okay and decided to give it a go. I did tell myself that if I felt too much pain, I would drop out and call it a day.
Lap 1, 0-5 miles
Since this race also offered a 15 mile and 20 mile option, they had pacers lined up at the start line. Since I wanted to try to race this, I lined up just behind the 10:30 pacer and just in front of the 11:00 pacer. I told myself to keep the 10:30 guy in my sights, but don’t let the 11:00 pacer pass me. I started out a little fast, but the legs were feeling good and within the first mile, I felt that I was settling into a good pace.
I was going to follow the plan I went with during last week’s long run and to take a short walk break every 2 miles. I am sure I could have run through without these stops, but I wanted to continue “training” on this to see how I felt. I am liking this idea of walk breaks every 22 minutes or so and at this point will keep with that plan. At the first walk break, I grabbed some water & sports beans and let others just roll by me. I was completely OK with letting people run by and probably judge me since I was walking so soon, but I wanted to stick to my plan.
During this race I did figure out there is about a 0.3 mile stretch (if that!) on the back side of the lake that I JUST HATE! The road is so slanted that you can’t avoid it. I felt like I was just kicking my feet out like a flailing animal during this area. Since Ingomar Road is closed for construction right now, they had us run in the right hand lane for some of that part. It was actually nice to run in the middle of the road where it wasn’t so slanted for a chance. I am sure it added on a few feet and obviously didn’t allow for tight turns, but what can one do when the road is technically closed at that point.
Again at mile 4 I took another walk break and was feeling good. A friend who I hadn’t seen ran by me and was like “Hey, pick it up” and I quickly responded that I was on the my scheduled walk break and felt good. With 4 miles in, I was still feeling strong and not having any major pain in my foot. Yay! As I turned on Pierce Mill Rd, I wanted to get up that hill with some force, so I tried to give it all I had. I actually passed people! This was a first for me I think. I never pass people, let alone pass people going uphill!! I finally am starting to feel strong with hills and am trying to embrace them more and more.
Luckily though, this 10 mile race did avoid the big boathouse hill, so instead we cut through the boathouse parking lot at the 5 mile mark and headed out again for the second loop. This was also about the time I was starting to get lapped by the REALLY fast people. Oops. I ended up finishing the first loop in 53:28 at a 10:42/mile pace.
Lap 2, 5-10 miles
Coming out of the boathouse parking lot, I had this sudden burst of energy and started going too fast. I am not sure if it was the fact that there were a lot of volunteers out, the race leaders were passing me or what. I finally was able to reel myself in and slowed back down.
When I got to mile 6, I took my short walk break, grabbed some water and more sports beans. I was starting to feel a littler sluggish at this point, but I just kept telling myself I was over half way done and to just get to mile 8, enjoy another little walk break and then I just had 2 miles to get done. I would call the backside of the lake gently rolling and after that walk break I started to dread that idea of the gentle rolling hills that lie ahead. They aren’t big by any means, but enough to where you do feel them.
As I started going up the second gently rolling hill, I saw this speedy woman go past and realized it was Jen B! She is quite an amazing athlete and if I could ever be a quarter of the runner she is, I would be oh, so happy! I yelled over at her to say hello and great job and she happily turned around and yelled the same. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to give a push up and over the last little hill and on to mile 7. I love the push you can get from other runners when they don’t even know it!
Right after mile 7 was again that dreaded part of the road I hate. I definitely slowed down, but again just felt like a flailing animal. At this point, the legs were feeling heavy and I was started to doubt how I would finish strong. I also was questioning why could I feel so tired in just 7 miles, when just last weekend I ran 14 miles and felt great during the whole run.
Finally I saw the flag for mile 8. I took what I thought would be a short walk break, but it ended up being longer than I wanted. I went to grab water and my bottle had frozen, so I had to open the whole lid to drink. Of course my hands started getting wet and cold when this happened. I took 3 more sports beans and figured if I felt I needed an extra boost, a water stop with gatorade was less than a mile away. Well, once I got my gloves back on, zipped up my belt, I went to start running again and the legs just said no. There didn’t want to go anywhere, so I listed and kept walking for a bit longer. This walk break ended up being just over 2 mins and up the entire hill part of Ingomar Rd. Yikes!
Finally I got the legs moving again and told myself I was over 80% done and to just buck up and get it done. I often have that internal struggle with mind vs body and this was one of them. I give up on myself so easily and it’s something I continue to always work on. As I was getting to mile 9, the conflict started again and I wanted to take a quick walk break, but I was able to get a mental win on this one and kept going!
This is also when I thought I was going fast enough to negative split on this loop. This got me pretty excited and gave me a nice boost turning onto Pierce Mill Rd. Then I hit that darn hill. Yuck. I didn’t walk, but I knew I as slowing down. I just kept telling myself that I was almost done and if I kept going I could possibly negative split.
As I got to the boathouse area for the finish, I was able to kick it in for the last bit and pick up some speed. At the same time, there were so many others going through the other side of the finish line area for the third or even fourth lap. Oh my! Nope! Not yet!! As I came across the finish line, I was given my finisher’s medal, which was the first year they had one for this race, and saw Steff and Amanda sitting over toward the side. I joined them and then a few minutes later we saw Jennifer coming through to the finish.
Overall, I was happy with my finish time of 1:47. It was a little faster than I thought I might do, but when I saw the results and realized I did not negative split my second lap, I was a little disappointed. I blame it on that extra long walk break at mile 8. Nothing I can do about it now, but I really thought I had it. Oh well. At least I can say that I feel like I had some speed! This really was a fantastic race and lined up perfectly with marathon training. Maybe next year it will feel like more of an actual spring thaw and maybe I’ll go for the 15 mile option!
Official finish time:
44/65, 30-34 Females