First and foremost, WOW Runner's Roost had an awesome showing at this race! It was great to see so many people out this early in the year! We had a nice warm morning and, despite a little (read: pretty solid)headwind in the first half, pretty perfect racing conditions.
Now. Down to the nitty gritty. I had a small pr - about 10 seconds for a 63:11 - and was pretty suprised about that because I was just not feeling super strong today. And that's making me a little nervous... While I'm glad I pr'd, the race didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped and I felt kind of awful. And when that happens, my first reaction is "What's going on?" I ran the start of this race way smarter than the last one and kept my pace around 6:15 which was right where I wanted it. The first half went by pretty uneventfully. I took the lead around mile 2 and even felt good after the turn-around just past mile 5 (this is where things started to fall apart last time). I picked up my pace just a smidge and started feeling some significant fatigue but was still okay... until mile 7. I don't know what my deal was, but everything started feeling weak. Physically, my quads felt like Jell-O and my hips were aching. Mentally, I had no fight in me and started having one of those races where you stop caring about your time and just try to finish in one piece. Around mile 8, Katie Blacket passed me (which I'm not suprised about, I was actually more suprised I was in front of her at all), and around mile 9 my teammate Kim Dobson passed me. I am so happy for both Katie and Kim, but when each of them passed my mentality weakened.
So, like I said, I was trying to figure out what went wrong for me and why I felt so craptastic. Here's what my thoughts are:
1. The course. All the rollers under the bridges, uphill the entire second half, and all on cement isn't exactly a leg-friendly combination. Except for Rudolph's Revenge, every race I've run on the Platte trail has left me with the same feeling. I've run tougher races with longer hills and felt significantly stronger.
2. There's a chance my iron is low. I take an iron supplement but I know sometimes that's not quite enough...
3. I have a cold. I've had quite the chest rattling cough this week making running a bit rough. I took some Theraflu? caplets this morning to keep me from hacking up a lung during the race. In that respect, success, very little couging. But. Have you ever taken Theraflu? It can make you a little light headed, to say the least. I didn't think about this until I got to work after the race and was feeling a little, um, not with it.
4. Maybe I'm just not in shape yet. This is the most likely situation. I took a lot of time to really slack off after the Denver Marathon and I guess I shouldn't expect to be in tip top shape just a few weeks into training. It all takes a lot of work and I think I need to remember that.
All that being said, I am happy with the end result of the race. I'm disappointed in how I felt and that I gave in to the fatigue in the last few miles (AND that I didn't get to wear my new ViziPro arm warmers!! Come on! Nikki JUST gave those to me and I wanted to show them off!!), but I'm glad to see an improvement in my time. And I suppose I should look at it like this: I'm NOT in peak shape right now, it is early in the season, and I still pulled off a pr. That's not too shabby. Yeah, I wanted to win, but 3rd place is still really good and it keeps me within my goal to place in the top 3 at every race!
On to the fun stuff! The overall winner was Tyler McCandless. Shocking!! I think pretty much everyone could've predicted that one... He and the nexr 5 or six men were far ahead of everyone else and they all looked really strong coming back on the second half. I was happy to see one of our newest teammates, Marc Leblanc, looking fierce in 4th place! Paul Sovik-Seimens, John Gaudette, Tristan Mitchell (although not on our team, such a cool guy and a very strong competitor), Lonnie Cruz, and Mike Fibiger were in hot pursuit and making it look easy (which I kind of hate - I want to know everyone's hurting as much as I am!). Also impressive? Kyle Ewing pr'd just a month after finishing the Dubai Marathon and Kyle Broughton (again, not on the Roost team but still a cool guy and this is definitely worth a mention) ran his first ever 10 mile race in 1:15 and some change which is pretty awesome - a good morning for the Kyles! (PS "Doctor" Ewing, thanks for sharing your pound cake!).
The ladies were out crushing it as well. Kim Dobson snagged second place! She's been on the team for like a month and she is just killing races left and right! Get it girl! I was about 20 seconds behind her, and then right behind me was another new teammate, Nichole Chyr, grabbing 4th place! Then came in Sara Whatmore, Stella Heffron, Bridget Tchsappat, and Yaicha Schuneman (that's in no particular order, fyi, as I was a bit discombobulated at the finish).
I had to get to work right after the race (eeeeww, right?) and when I got there, my very wise co-woker, Jeni, asked how the race went. "Oh, it was okay... I was hoping to do better but I just didn't feel too hot" was my whiney response to which she said "Well, what did you learn? What can you take away from your experience?" And this is what I think: I really do need to start looking at races, no matter how I end up doing, as learning experiences. Each time I have the opportunity to learn how to improve. This time I think what I took away from the race is that I need to be more mentally tough. I know I have a hard time keeping my head in the game when things are going the way I planned or hoped. I give in to the pain and fatigue and can't always keep going the way I'd like. This is something I've had happen before but never actually dealt with since it kind of goes away as I start racing more and getting into better shape. So what to do about this? I'm not really sure. I think maybe coming up with a good mantra like Sara suggested (see previous post) would help. But beyond that? Maybe that's something I can work on during harder runs... And probably don't take Theraflu right before a race.
I know it sounds like maybe I didn't have a good time, but the race was still really fun and it was so nice to be surrounded by so many teammates. I also got a lot of "GO HEATHER!!" shouts from people I didn't quite recognize... I may or may not have stared back blankly since a lot of that was on the back half where I was starting to lose it a bit. But regardless, that's so encouraging to hear! Derek Griffiths knows how to put on a race and this series has grown to such a huge success and brings out some great competition. As much as it hurt, I can't wait until next year! Results for both the 5 miler and 10 miler are at http://onlineraceresults.com/event/view_event.php.