I feel like even though a lot of time has passed, and most friends and family who read this blog are already up to date on the outcome of my April races, I wanted to write some recaps for the blog. Before I proceed, just a quick little story from me to you:
I was home last weekend for my brother’s college graduation (woohoo!) The thing I hear most when I go home, other than “When are you having kids?” (answer: none of your business ), is “Ohhhh you run so much you can eat whatever you want, here have some more _____”. Two things about this. Sure, I may run a lot, but it does not give me the freedom to eat WHATEVER I want. I may feel less guilty about things but any athlete knows you can’t throw caution to the wind with your diet and expect amazing results. Which leads me to point two which is the confession that actually, I HAVEN’T been running a lot. Right after Ragnar I got sick and was out for two weeks. Then life in general has been really busy. It’s not that I don’t miss running – I do ! But I’ve been lucky to get two runs in a week. I was beginning to feel really bad about the lack of miles I’ve logged while all these people kept commenting on my running. I had to take a moment late last night to pep talk myself last night. I realized that not only are people just trying to make polite conversation (about the one thing I don’t shut up about anyway), I also had to take it easy on myself. I don’t have a race in the immediate future, and even though I’ve been busy, I’m still getting my non-running workouts in. So yea maybe I’m not devoting all waking hours to running, but that’s OK for now. I’m going to get through these next couple of weeks, build a training plan and then come back full force in June. So if you find yourself in a similar situation – don’t fret. Accept what is, set a goal, make your plan then stick to it!
Anyway, that’s my mini-rant for the day. Let’s not waste anymore time shall we? On the first race recap.
Cap 10K – April 10
Truthfully this was the ONLY race in my mind since February. Training for a marathon is one thing, and I definitely do not take it lightly. There were lots of long, early morning runs. It was hard, everything hurt all the time. However in retrospect, with the exception of maybe 2-3 months in spring 2015, I had spent the better part of the previous year and a half in some kind of long-run training program. So somewhere about the time of my 20 mile training run it wasn’t so much a question of COULD I run a marathon, but what was it going to feel like? Would I make the time I wanted? In my marathon recap I talked about how somewhere in the last 5-10 miles of the race, I made a conscious decision to just finish the race happy and not push my pace. It was a race of me against the distance.
The Cap 10K was different. Cap 10K I was going for speed. I’m betting a lot of people hope to PR during a race – I know I do. Yet it was a little tougher to go for a specific time goal. To be honest I’d never really tried for a timed goal before because I was afraid of failing. For the last two months I worked extra hard during my sprints and other workouts. I didn’t even mind skipping out on other social activities much because I knew it was going to be worth it (and a short training schedule didn’t hurt either). My coach offered to pace me during the race. One week before the race we ran the course with a killer time! I felt so pumped up and ready!
The morning of the 10K was what I had hoped marathon morning to be – I was relaxed, got there early, got to talk to all my friends. It felt great. It was so inspiring (even if a little crowded) to be in that first corral of people.
The first mile went quickly, but early on I got a side stitch. Side stitches. My most evil nemesis. It feels like I get them so often compared to my other runner friends, and I just don’t know why. They’ll show up in several runs for a while, then disappear for months. Maybe it was the anxiety of the day, but I got one early on and it HURT. We kept running though, albeit a little slower and then I was able to shake it off for a while. Then the course would get a little hard again, and ta-da, side stitch was back. Sadly I think I really let it get in my head. I’ve said it one million times before but running is SO much a mental game. The further I got in the race, the more I let it mess with my head. Then I started thinking about the previous week’s run, and why was it so easy then everything felt so HARD on race day, and that just did not help. If I trained my mind a lot during marathon training, it seems I neglected that aspect while 10K training. Still, I was grateful to have my coach by side, talking me through bad spots and distracting me with funny stories. As we neared the end I just just ready for the race to be over.
I never once looked at my watch that morning – which is just about the hardest thing a runner can do. I did look at my 5K and 4 mile times on the course clocks, but really I was so distracted I couldn’t do the proper math to calculate my finish time. Finally when we turned the corner for the last quarter mile I could see the finisher’s clock and I was able to dig deep and run hard. I finished in 54:45 — 15 seconds to spare from my goal time of 55:00 minutes. Although I hoped to smash my goal by a few more seconds, and to just physically feel better when it was done, I am still proud of my showing. In the days following I found some quote (probably on Pinterest) that said Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional. Man isnt’ that true? Running that fast is not typical for me, so it was always going to hurt to some degree, so it was really about learning to embrace the suck. I let myself suffer a little too much, but that’s ok, I’ve taken that as a learned lesson.
I don’t care if I sound like a broken record, but I am so grateful to have such an amazing group of friends to run with. No, we’re weren’t ALL running side by side, but we were all there to pump each other up before the race and congratulate each other at the finish. Little did I know that would be the smaller of my teamwork lessons that week – stay tuned for a Ragnar Recap!