Ahh, the feeling of a bounce back. My last couple of races have been pretty craptastic. I went from running 21:xx to 22-23 minute races. I know the heat is playing a factor in this but so was my inability to hydrate. I’m not expecting to PR anytime soon but I am expecting to feel good at my races. This race came with much more preparation in two forms.
- I drank more water than I ever thought possible starting 48 hours prior to the race
- I didn’t eat anything prior to the race
Normally for an evening race I find myself having to adjust my eating schedule. I’ll eat a big breakfast, light lunch at 12, snack at 2, and a light snack at 5pm with race time of 7pm. I’m used to the whole idea of eating 150-200 calorie carb/protein snack two hours before race time. Lately with all my tummy troubles and hydration issues I decided to test out something new. I decided to not eat anything after a 1pm lunch. I figured it may help me if the food in my stomach has longer to digest. The hope was that my tummy issues are a result of just eating too close to race time. Another summer races means another chance at trying new techniques.
I was sad that I didn’t have my training partner for this race. She’s the rock that keeps me pushing and makes racing more enjoyable. We signed up to do this whole series together but family commitments kept her away this week. I knew going into this one alone I was going to have to really push myself and focus on making her proud! Miles 1 and 2 are never my issue, it’s always mile 3.
I got to the race with ample time to go warm up. It was warm but felt a little better than last week. I was praying that all the hydrating and food changes would keep me from getting the side stitch I did the week prior. I did a mile and half warm up and then headed to watch the kids race. Nothing beats watching children run. Seriously, go watch a kids race and tell me it doesn’t give you a smile ear to ear. The look of pure joy on those children’s faces is something we could all take a note from. These kids don’t have a time goal or disappointment. To them, crossing that finish line is the most rewarding factor. They love the thrill of just being out there and running. I’m all about goals and pushing ones self to reach what you personally set out for yourself but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that the simplicity of the wind in your air and the exhilaration from finishing a run is all that matters.
After the kids finished, I headed to the starting line. It was time to put the music on and get my game face on. I was ready to feel good about a race again.
Mile 1: 6:59 Last week I started out pretty conservatively and I was feeling like crap. This week I gave myself the first half a mile to figure out how my stomach was feeling. Stomach felt good, legs felt great, and breathing was in check so I decided to go ahead and give it what I had. This is a little faster than what I have been running mile 1 in lately and I was hoping that it wouldn’t backfire on me and kill me in the end. At the end of Mile 1 I felt strong and was ready to keep pushing myself.
Mile 2: 7:03 I was still holding strong to a good pace. I was pretty proud of myself up to this point. My stomach and legs felt amazing. I haven’t felt that good in mile two in a long time. Lately I’ve been losing 15 seconds per mile on my pace, so to see only a 4 second drop in the heat and humidity, I was pretty excited.
Mile 3: 7:27 Yes I did lose some ground here but mile 3 for this course is one of the most curvy/turn filled miles. It’s pretty hard to maintain pace throughout this last mile. I was hoping not to fall this far in my pace but my overall average pace was still where I was hoping it would be. My legs still felt really strong and I was cruising along, soaking wet from sweating.
The final .1 I kicked off at a 5:53 pace. I had juice left, that’s good. I felt good when I finished. My legs felt great, my stomach didn’t hurt at all. I never got any cramps during the race and my finish time was 22:09. I am closer to where I was before the heat set in. My first race on this course was 21:31. I know I’m not going to hit that again or in the final race but being closer to that number means I’m getting strong and getting more accustomed to this heat. Last week I saw 23:39 on this course. 1 minute and 30 seconds is a huge amount to shave off in one week. It really does show me how important outside factors such as hydration, fuel, etc play a part in how we do on race day. A bad race does not signify a loss in your running abilities.
Afterward I met up with some of my running pals and we headed inside for beer and food. I normally love the race the landing food but this week was kind of a miss for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pork chop but the sides were good. I always love fresh watermelon. The beer was cold, the music was loud, and friends were around. I was the 4th overall female, 1st in my AG this week.
I can’t believe there is only one race left in this series. It’s one of my favorites. Truthfully, it ranks pretty high for me because Brian of Brian Fancher Photography is out there taking kick ass pictures of me. It’s no secret that I love pictures of me racing and he has by far always captured some amazing ones.