Well hello friends. It’s been a minute but I’ve been busy prepping for Ragnar as well as training for this years Cap10K – the latter of which brings me here today.
Maaaaybe you might remember I ran this race last year. I had set a pretty lofty goal at the time of running a 9:00 minute pace, and then immediately fell off my training plan pretty bad last year. I even blogged about it here. (Gosh it pained me to even read that old post – I’m such a stronger, dedicated person now — anyway that’s a blog for another day). So in addition to last year’s botched training schedule, I made some very poor life decisions in the days leading up to the Sunday race. Before I continue I just want to be really clear that the behaviors and thoughts below are not a good reflection of my true self. Again — see: POOR LIFE DECISIONS.
The Friday night prior to the race, I went to a birthday celebration with the intent of having 2 drinks and no more. Not only did I not stick to my self imposed drink limit, I went way overboard. I woke up the next day with the gnarliest of hangovers and even got sick in front of my friend’s mother no less. (Oh did I mention it was the first time I met her? Yea – that happened.) I nursed my hangover with tacos, and then that evening, when a group of friends wanted to grab sushi for dinner, I didn’t object, even though I knew I needed a more substantial meal. My thought process was — “I haven’t trained all that well anyway, and I still feel horrible, so what if I don’t meet my goal pace? I can still run six miles, that’s not big deal.” I know – incredibly cocky and awful.
Sunday morning runners walked to their start line locations. The Cap10K has runners corralled by pace, and I was in the 2nd group. I still felt kind of awful (because when you’re 30, two day hangovers are a real thing) I considered hanging back with my brother and friend. Instead, in the one GOOD decision I made that weekend, I stepped out of my comfort zone and up to my corral. The race seemed to be going well – although I felt I was spending a lot of time dodging runners. At the 5K mark I checked the official clock and much to my shock – I was somewhere in the 28 minute mark.
This was faster than my usual pace, and I had to check my phone to confirm. All of a sudden a spark lit inside me. I knew the rest of the course was downhill, and I figured if I could at least maintain my pace I might have a fighting chance at my goal yet. Feeling refreshed for the first time all weekend, I picked up the pace a bit. I fought with a side stitch at mile 5 and pushed the last 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile. The finish line clock came into focus, ticking closer and closer to the 1 hour mark. I pushed harder than I ever have and came in right under 60 minutes with a 9:34 pace, and feeling quite sure I was going to be sick again.
Once I determined I would NOT be sick after all, I had mini celebration for myself, then went to watch the other finishers (which is a really fun thing by the way, and I highly recommend it)! I guessed that since I ran with a pace group of sorts, I was able to pull off a faster time than if I had set out on my own. I However my joy was short lived as I began to realize what I missed out on. A series of what-ifs ran through my head, ranging from all the missed training runs down to the last glass of champagne I drank. Soon all I could feel was frustration and anger at myself. Angry that I had come so close to my goal and missed, and frustrated because I couldn’t stick with a plan.
Fast forward to 2016. As we tapered for the marathon, I started to set my sights again on my 9:00 min goal and thinking of how I would achieve it. I eventually told my coaches about it and reached out for advice on how to train. I’ve been doing speed-work so much lately that I even dreamt about sprints last night (and I didn’t hate it)! Maybe it’s because the marathon is behind me, but I almost feel like training to go fast is harder than training to go far. My speed workouts leave me feeling tired, but also happy and more confident. More than that, I am determined. I hate the feeling of knowing I could have done something more last year, and there was no one to blame but myself. This year, I will approach the start line knowing that I did everything that I could to prepare, and I will leave it all on the course. Stay tuned.