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SLCTC Winter Series 10k

Goal number one, show up on time. After missing last week’s race, I had a nightmare during the week that I missed the Chicago Marathon. Haha! But now that that’s out of the way on my list of race day fails, I was ready for some performance redemption. My 5k race for this series was a mess, as are most of my 5ks, but doubling the distance helps with my nerves. Even if I go too fast or too slow for one mile, I still feel like I have time to fix it.

After my warm up, I felt pretty good. My legs felt rested, fueled, and not too loose. I saw a few new faces that weren’t at the 5k, but the favorite to win wasn’t there. The only competitor I knew was the runner who bested me at the 5k and bumped me to 3rd. I knew her fitness level, but I was banking on her underestimating mine, based on the 5k. She knew I almost always go out too fast on these shorter races, while she’s good at staying steady and passing me a few miles in. But I wasn’t nervous. Again, I wanted my PR more than the podium.

I lined up a row behind her at the starting line and planned to stay close behind. The horn sounded and I relaxed into a pace that felt sustainable. I decided I was going to ignore my split times buzzing on my watch and go by effort. A few minutes in, I was worried my competition was going too slow for my goal time, so I ended up passing her and took the lead early. I didn’t want to, but I felt confident I could keep grinding. I tucked myself into a pack of guys and kept up the pace.

At the turn around point, the pack had disbanded and I was left with just one guy helping me pull. I was also able to see that my competition was only four or five seconds behind me. I tried my best to stay steady, but while my legs felt good, my lungs were holding me back. I heard her breathing behind me and at mile 4 she caught up and passed me. I didn’t know if I could keep up with two whole miles to go. In my head I started accepting defeat. I didn’t feel like I had much left, but I kept her within ten to fifteen feet. At the mile 5 marker I saw her starting to slow and I attacked instinctively even though I didn’t think I could keep it up. I pushed past her in hopes she wouldn’t call my bluff. She fell behind a little bit and I became hopeful, but with half a mile to go I heard her breathing behind me. Was I going to let her catch me? I had started to get side stitches. Who wanted it more? I started to doubt myself and thought that maybe she wanted it more. But I couldn’t bring myself to not give everything. Home stretch, passing the 6 mile marker I surged and she responded. But I was already in front calling the shots so I had the advantage. The finish line was right there, just one more push. I hit the tape winning by a mere two seconds. I stopped my watch and stumbled to the ground. I was so tired and I just needed to sit. I dry heaved and then my competitor helped me up. I got an instant headache that lasted just a few minutes until I cooled down and got my recovery drink.

Close races are my favorite. I’ve both won and lost by less in the past. If she wasn’t there to push me, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my PR. I was happy with my mostly even splits, my first mile still being my fastest, but much closer than usual (6:00, 6:06, 6:09, 6:09, 6:09, 6:10, and 1:10 for the last .2). I’m also pretty happy that my legs felt good and that my lungs got the better workout. Now, for just the track club series, the overall winner will be between myself and her. Runners get points for placing at each race – 1 for 1st, 2 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, etc. The runner with the fewest points after the three races wins and right now we are tied 4 – 4. Since the other contender didn’t show up for the 10k, she’s out. Regardless of who shows up for the 15k, there will be a race within the race between just us two.

Final Stats

Time – 37:52

15th of 350 overall

1st 181 female

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SLCTC Winter Series 10k 2018

It hadn’t even been a week yet since my marathon scramble, and I found myself expecting to still have some sort of speed in me. There wasn’t any. One mile at goal pace, and the rest was all “downhill” from there. I continued to push into labored breathing to at least use the race as a training run. I am not naturally fast, so speed is the first thing to go when I’m unable to train for an extended period of time. It’s similar to someone trying to lose weight – the area you want most to disappear is the last to go and the first to come back. Well for me, fast legs are last to come and first to leave.

The second race of three in the series, I knew what to expect from the course and the competition. The weather was colder than it had been, so I ended up racing in an extra layer I had intended to shed beforehand. I should have stuck to the “less is best” rule because after starting I got too warm. After that first mile, I settled into third and tried my best to hang on to that. A fellow (male) runner pulled me through halfway and then I pulled him through the last few miles and we finished together.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t perform, I’m happy that my foot is still fine and by the end of the week I’ll be back to my regular training schedule. There will be plenty more races this spring/summer/fall that I’ll be able to challenge last year’s personal bests when I’m ready. Onward.

Final Stats

Time – 39:43

29th of 438 overall

3rd of 217 female

1st of 19 in age group

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Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10k 2017

Racing around Lake Miramar was so much fun – a flat, fast course whose windy turns made it impossible to get bored (who gets bored racing anyway?). There were a ton of people for a route on the narrower side, but I didn’t have any issues with being cramped. My goal average pace time was 6:05, but I also wanted to race by feel. Racing these shorter distances really helps me understand where I’m at physiologically and where I need to focus more in training.

Starting right on time, I picked out a few people I wanted to beat. The field was pretty competitive so I knew a podium finish wasn’t in the works. I decided my watch was for the data afterwards, not during this race. Things were feeling pretty smooth until just after halfway – perhaps I started just a little too fast. With no shade, it started to get pretty warm and my breathing labored. I knew I had slowed, but me and a few other guys had some fun leap frogging each other until the last mile. I sped up, but I didn’t have the juice to really go for it. In the end, they both ended up passing me.

I didn’t PR, but I put forth a hard effort and felt like progress was made. My lungs need cross-training and my form needs more work, but more importantly this race made me re-focus on my running goals. Lately, I’d been feeling like I was side-tracked but I couldn’t get why. But now I really feel ready to start training for New York.

My splits ended up being 6:07, 6:07, 6:09, 6:19, 6:22, and 6:07. Clearly, I could have raced a little smarter, but I enjoyed the lesson. I was 45 seconds slower than goal time with a 38:33. Maybe I’m a little “old school,” but I liked that they didn’t give you a medal for finishing. Only the podium finishers got medals. It makes it more meaningful for the winners…and it saves a ton of money…and how many finisher medals do you really need…

Final Stats

53rd of 1218 overall

9th of 555 female

4th of 57 in division

 

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Coronado Valentine’s Day 10k 2017

Going into this race, I didn’t feel quite ready. My four week break from running was good, but I didn’t feel like I was back into a groove yet. I had had a few solid runs in training, but no noticeable progress in times, so I was anxious about whether or not I’d be able to snag a new personal best. My goal was something in the 38 minute mark.

Race morning was beautiful – sunny and a crisp 50 degrees. The chill in the air would disappear by the time the race got started at 8 am, but it still stayed relatively cool. When the race began, I was as prepared as I could have been. Hydrated, fueled, and warmed up, I took off at a pace a little faster than I could sustain to try and get some space. I settled into what I could tell was 4th female and began my hunt. I made it a point to focus on posture and breathing to steady my pace. The course was flat, but it was an out and back so the last mile and a half you had to weave through the 5k-ers who at that point were mostly walkers and strollers. Weaving through, I tried to pick up the pace, but was unable to close the gap. Giving a hard push for the finish, I crossed as fourth female in 38:04. I was happy with that (personal best), and despite my prerace anxiousness, felt like it was a good effort for my first race back. My official placings were:

18th overall of 910

4th female of 550

1st in age group of 87