Friday, July 4, 2014

Race Recap: Bay Days 5 Miler

Happy Independence Day!

"You're a grand, old flag; you're a high-flyin' flag, and forever in peace may you wave!"
Today I celebrated my freedom to run in the Bay Days Five-Miler in Bay Village, Ohio.  The call went out to area running clubs to submit teams of five or more to compete against each other.  The Ohio Runner's Network (TORN) stepped up to the challenge.

Mandy, Michael, me, Joy, Tracy, and Brad

I was nervous about this race for several reasons:

1.  As I wrote in my previous post (I Am Jinxed), I have been afraid that my LEFT foot is broken.  I worried that this might be the end of running for a while, so I've been working out on a recumbent bike and weightlifting for the past week.

2.  I ran with some really fast people today.  My team members are beasts, and it was evident when we arrived that this small race was full of badasses.  Specifically, most of the badasses had the last name of Zangmeister.  It's the only name in Bay Village, apparently.  Anyway, I didn't want to embarrass my team.

3.  Not knowing the race, I was worried about the availability of bathrooms (after an hour drive) and parking.  Both weren't an issue, thank goodness.

4.  I am a neurotic freak, and I just worry a lot.

Before I tell you about the race, I want to tell you about what happened at the track two days ago.  It was my first day of seasonal speed and hill training with OneLife Fitness Coaching, and the first day always means assessments.  I hadn't eaten since breakfast, but I knew I wanted to avoid bonking so I ate a snack fifteen minutes before the workout.  When it came time to run two timed miles around the track, I was ready.  Too ready.  I took off like a shot, and I ran the first lap at a 7:42/mile pace.  The second lap I slowed it to an 8:00/mile pace, and the third I was at 8:15/mile.  After the fourth lap,  I just. . .stopped.  I couldn't go on.

"What are you doing?" Sheila (my coach) asked me.

"Can't. Do. It," I panted, leaning against the fence, "Can't. Go. On."

Sheila shook her head and said, "The clock is still running.  You can do it.  Go."  So I did.

It was really stupid of me to run out so fast when I knew I couldn't sustain it.  I know what a good pace for me is, and I know how far to push myself.  Clearly I needed a smack in the head to remind me to stop being an idiot.

It was was with this experience in mind that I set off in the five-miler.  The gun went off, and so did I.  I took off after Joy, who is a speed demon, and then I heard Sheila's voice in my head saying,"Run smart.  You know what your pace should be.  Don't mess around," so I let Joy go.  It took me the first mile to dial it back to a sustainable pace.  Then I started thinking about how and when I should push myself.  I experimented with surges where I ran faster in the first half of each mile, and then I slowed it down in the second half.  I liked this because it felt like I was giving myself a little reward in each mile.

One thing I am really proud of is that my last mile was my fastest by about twenty seconds.  Negative splits, anyone?

The course was really flat and pretty, running through the neighborhoods of Bay Village.  The weather was PERFECT, in the sixties and not too much hot sun.  I ran through three sprinklers, waved to some little kids, and high-fived a member of the military in uniform, thanking him for his service.  I finished my race with watermelon, a popsicle, and my TORN friends.

We are happy it's over!
This race helped me to gain some information about myself.  I finished very strong, and I suspect that I could have pushed myself a wee bit more, maybe a few more seconds per mile.  This is good to know because I was starting to lose some confidence in my running abilities.

I also enjoyed this race because my team mates are awesome people.  I look forward to running more races with TORN in the future, specifically races that involve lots of chocolate.  I'm looking at you, Hot Chocolate 15k.