The third race of the Winter Series was on Sunday, February 5. It's taken me forever to write this report, because I didn't want to write about a bad run. But life is not always wonderful and rosy and happy. And runs and races aren't always easy, pretty, or fun. So in the spirit of keeping it real, here's the race report for the 10k.
That Sunday, the weather was kind of chilly and grey and it was slightly damp. I wasn’t all that pumped up to run – I was tired and not feeling the best. I had rushed out of the house and forgot several things, my SPI belt, my extra, easy to carry car key. I got to the race later than I wanted and didn’t find an ideal parking space. I went to sign in and picked up my sweatshirt, and the thought of “I’ve got the shirt, I don’t need to run, I can just go home” went through my head. It was totally unlike me to think that way, and even more unlike me to be seriously considering doing it.
As I got back to the car, someone else was pulling out, so I was able to move my car into a better parking space (an end space :o) ); so that made me feel a little better. But then while waiting in the car for the race start, I noticed my ponytail was loose. I took it down and was trying to get the band to go around one more time so it would be tighter, and SNAP! The ponytail holder broke. I searched through the car and my purse and couldn’t find another one. I don’t like running with my hair down because it gets in the way, so I starting looking for anything that would work to hold it back. Found an elastic headband in my purse and used that. I think the ponytail was sticking out 3 inches from the back of my head because the headband had to be twisted around so many times, but my hair was up, and it didn’t feel like it was going to slip out, and that was all that mattered.
The time for the race got close, so I went to the start line. It was cold, I was still tired, and I was still not excited to run. The thrill of being in the crowd wasn’t working this time. It was bad. I took off with the crowd, settled into a decent pace and thought “just put one foot in front of the other” and “relentless forward progress” that’s all I need to do. Mile 1 came and a lady I was running near, stated “1 mile done, only 5 to go” At that point, the “only 5 to go” seemed like a long way and next to impossible. But oddly, at the same time, the mile point didn’t seem as far out and as tiring as it had in past races. I guess that even though I wasn’t feeling the race, I did notice how much stronger I’ve gotten over time.
Sometime in Mile 2 I started to see the front runners heading back towards me. Here I was not even halfway done, and they were almost to the finish... Very demotivating and made me feel even more like giving up. I remember thinking “hmm… I’ll just sneak in with them and run back.” But I’m not and never will be a cheater, so I didn’t ever seriously consider doing that. Before I would cut the course short and cheat, I would drop out and get a DNF; and that I did seriously consider doing. I didn't; I kept on with the one foot in front of the other.
Then I got to the 5k, halfway point. The race volunteer at the turn around point was helpful enough to announce our times as we went around the cone. I don’t remember exactly what mine was, but I do remember that it was well within my goal time. Turns out I wasn’t having as bad a race as I thought I was. So for the second half, I decided I was going to suck it up and run. Changed my mental attitude, got rid of the negative thinking, and starting working toward finishing the race stronger than the start. Decided I was going to meet my goal (62 minutes). I was tired, it was tough, but I did it.
My mental block/bad attitude during the first half didn’t have as bad an effect on the overall race as I thought it might. My pacing throughout the race was pretty spot on - almost had consistent negative splits (just one wasn’t). I finished in just under 62 minutes and felt a lot stronger than I thought I would. I ended up happy that I was able to push through the bad parts and turn the race around and end up with decent finish.
Mile 1 - 10:13
Mile 2 - 10:11
Mile 3 - 9:56
Mile 4 - 9:59
Mile 5 - 9:52
Mile 6 - 9:47
Mile .21 - 8:39
Total - 6.21 miles, 61:48, 9:57 avg. pace (Garmin time) (official finish time was 61:58)