I had a running plan for 2015 - I was going to lay off the races this year and just run for fun until fall. I felt like I was putting to much pressure on myself to run a certain number miles or a certain pace, and all the fun was gone. Running had become a chore, and I didn't want it feel to that way. So I was going to take some time and just run for fun - no plans, no goals, just running to run, because I wanted to, not because I felt I had to.
Well, as plans tend to do in my world, it got pushed to the side. After a few months without a plan, running was feeling good again, but I felt like I was drifting. I was having fun running again, but something was missing. There was no challenge. Nothing to work for. So.... I found a race. A race with a challenge. A race I'd have to work for. The CAMC Run For Your Life - a 5 mile run that goes up to the Spring Hill cemetery - hill being the key word.
Shortly after I registered, I started the Runner's World Summer Run Streak (run at least a mile every day from Memorial Day through the 4th of July) - which turned out be an awesome tool for extra training accountability. It's weird - I'll wimp out on a run if it's just up to me; but to miss out on a day of running followed by posting a pic on Instagram with the #RWRunStreak hashtag is just unacceptable for some reason. Weird how my brain works.
Anyway - the running every day has made me feel stronger than I have in a long time. I'm starting to get faster - or more accurately, starting to get back to my fast (fast and slow being individual to each runner - my fast is another runner's slow, my slow is another runner's fast.) I've got a long way to go, but I feel confident that, if I keep working hard, I'll be ready to try for a new half marathon PR in November.
But what does that have to do with today's race? Everything and nothing.
The last few days, I've made a big deal out of the hill, posting this pic to Facebook, with a caption stating my goal was "to not die on the hill":
I was feeling strong but hills intimidate me; no matter how many I run/walk/struggle my way up, they suck the life and the confidence right out of me. So I was afraid of the hill. I knew I'd be ok before and probably after, but I had no idea what I'd do on the climb.
I set the Garmin for 1:1 run:walk intervals, and set off at the start with a start:
- Mile 1 was on the flats of downtown, and I cruised my way with an easy- feeling pace to an 11:25 pace for that mile - faster than I've been training.
- Mile 2 held the dreaded climb to the cemetery. I took the Dean Karnazes quote above to heart - I ran when I could (which was not much), walked when I had to ( which was a lot - all of the uphill). Up and up and up. But, I am happy to report, there was no crawling and no giving up. Pace for mile 2 was 14:05
- For Mile 3, the course wound through the cemetery, with some rolling little hills. The view from up there is spectacular, but alas, I took no pics. I ran some, and walked more, with pace of 13:07.
- Mile 4 was back down the hill. Since I had pretty much been ignoring the interval beeps on my watch, I just kept right on doing so, although this time I kept running. Down and down and down. At the bottom, I started following the intervals again, so was back to 1:1. Pace for mile 4 was a speedy 10:38.
- Mile 5 went back through downtown to the levee and the finish line. My legs were tired from the downhill, so some of the run intervals felt really hard, but I ran them to the lovely beep that told me I could walk. Pace was 12:14.
Knowing how I am with hills, when I set my goal for today, it was highly conservative - a finish between 1:05 and 1:15. And I was honestly expecting to be closer the the 1:15; 1:05 was a dream. Or so I thought. Turns out, I'm stronger and faster than I think. I was faster than 1:15; I was faster than 1:10; I was faster than 1:05. Yep- I was faster than than "dream" goal, with a finish time of 1:03:02 (unofficial)
There may be something to this training thing. I am stronger than I think. And since I'm looking for challenges, 2015 may just be the year I do the 15 mile Distance Run. 15 in '15 has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
CAMC Run For Your Life
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Finish Time: 1:03:02 (Nike +); 1:02:57 (official)
Place: 173 of 196 overall; 82 of 100 women; 19 of 28 age group