The Warm Up
Workouts have been going fairly well and my easy run pace has slowly been getting a bit faster. This I think is due in large part to my slow build back AND cross training with the Peloton. So when I broached the idea of a 10k with coach he was agreeable. It would be a good way to see where I was fitness wise AND remind me what it was like to participate in a race.
This was by no means to be an time trial as my quality sessions (IMO) did not put me in a position for that.
I should also point out that last week I started feeling “niggles” in my right hamstring. You know, the one I had surgery on last September. Since I have been more consistent with strength, a quick check of my shoes revealed the root cause of the niggles. As a heel striker I have to be more vigilant checking on the wear and tear of my shoes. Unfortunately I did not check them soon enough and was running on some pretty worn down shoes.
Running Wearhouse to the rescue! Their 2 day shipping is a god send!
On top of that, I have been running my quality session in my “everyday” running shoes. I just had not gotten around to buying a pair. So I did what you ARE NOT supposed to do – buy a pair of “racing” shoes the day before a race AND use them.
So with new shoes and a plan – I headed to Andover Saturday morning.
The Work Out
So here was the plan for the Hop River 10k- 2 mile warm up; 1.5m (8:15 speed limit); finish the race based on how I was feeling; 2 mile cool down. Seems simple enough – right?
First off I left the house for the race AND…forgot my watch and headphones. Rookie mistake. That put me in a panic but I made it to the race with time to spare. I picked up my bib and headed to the trail for my warm up. The route was shaded, which was great as the start time was 9am and the temp was in the mid 70s. For someone who gets up at the ass crack of dawn – this was not ideal.
The Hope River 10k route was also on a trail and although looked flat was what I call a “false flat”. Meaning it had an ever so slight incline for half of the route (which did I mention was out and back 2x).
Warm up complete I headed to the port o potty but realizing that the line was NOT moving – decided to head to the start.
Here’s where things went a bit (ok a lot) side ways. The “gun” went off and I headed out with the 10kers – we headed to the trail and then my GPS went wonky – I could not get an even pace. Per the watch – one minute I was running 9:00 and then it was between 8-8:30. It really messed with my head. In hindsight I really WAS running too fast and came through a blazing 7:57. Definitely NOT an 8:15 mile. 2nd mile was about 8:15 and 3rd mile was an 8:13 – so better.
BUT that’s when the heat and my mind started to get to me – to the point (I’m ashamed to admit) I walked for a bit to catch my breath and feel less panicked. Let’s just say that the back half of the race – was not my finest hour.
I ended up finishing (YEAH) and headed back out for a cool down ( I know who am I). I ended up doing a mile (instead of the 2 prescribed) because I was so done at that point. Luckily I did randomly see my friend Jessica W. on the path doing a “leisurely” 30 mile bike ride. She was definitely a boost of motivation!
The Cool Down
So – it was definitely not the outcome I was hoping for but as with any race there are always pros/cons/lessons learned.
- I ran my first race in 20 months! That is a win. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to where I would even get to a start line (even as a workout) so I know I can improve from here.
- The “new” racers actually did not cause me any problems. I know there is supposed to be “nothing new on race day” but as this was a workout – it felt good to wear something lighter and more responsive.
- My stomach/GI cooperated! There is a future blog post coming on how the COVID Vaccine and my IBD have not been playing nice with each other, so to not have to find a tree on the course was a welcome treat.
- I have to realize that I do not really perform well in hot weather regardless of how “shaded” it is and have to adapt a bit better. Again – I have been out of the Summer running game for a bit so this will take some practice.
- I need to continue to work on my mental game – in the spring it was to stop “trotting” in between intervals. Now I need to work on quieting those voices that got very loud yesterday.
- I need to keep calm when my GPS gets a bit wonky on me. To be honest I did feel that my effort was much faster than what my watch was showing me in the moment. By going out too fast – I think I dug myself a hole I could not get out of.
So What’s Next?
I’m not giving up by any stretch of the imagination.
I did make an effort out there yesterday but I also let my mind take over. It’s not an excuse of what happened. Maybe I am being too hard on myself BUT it’s something I need to continue to work on and realize that I’m not going to die and that being uncomfortable is not the end of the world.
Today’s a rest day BUT I will be back on the roads tomorrow.
I mean the Hartford Half Marathon in October isn’t going to run itself.