Sunday, March 23, 2014

Did I Beat the Train?

Let me set your mind at ease:  No.  I did not beat the train.

Today I ran the 10-mile Spring Training Race, sponsored by Western Reserve Racing.  It was an out-and-back course along the Towpath of the Cuyahoga River in Merriman Valley, Ohio.  The idea was to try to beat the train either to Lock 29, five miles out, and then take the train back or to beat the train both ways.  I chose the full route because I needed to get to the ten mile mark in my recovery-training.  It has been a rough road (with this horrible winter), and I thought this race would give me a little motivation.  Here is the recap:

The Good:  The best part about the race is that the proceeds benefit the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  The venue is great, too.  The Towpath is a beautiful route, fast and flat.  It goes through woods, farmland, and small towns (with good runner-friendly bars--Love you, Winking Lizard!).  It's great to see the river on your side as you run.  Normally, I would say it's great to hear the train whistle at you as it passes, but. . .

The Bad:  The train passed me the first time at the Mile 4 marker.  I didn't feel too badly because I knew that it wouldn't be a good idea in my training at this point to try to beat the train.  In fact, for the first three miles, I was running with the middle of the pack, and I noticed that my pace was 9:39, which I thought was too fast for sustaining ten miles for the first time in eight months, so I slowed down.

The train passed me the second time at the Mile 7 marker.  At that point I was resigned, and I tried to tell myself that it was a relief that I don't have to stress out about beating the train, but I'm not gonna lie.  I was pissed.  I TOLD myself (and everyone I talked to about the race) that there was NO WAY I would beat the train, but I really didn't believe it.

Curse you, Train!
The Ugly:  I am about the ONLY person who didn't beat the train.  There were some hard-core runners in this group, and I was definitely not one of them.  My stats were awful:  last in my age group, 39/52 in female division, 76/94 overall.  It's pretty demoralizing for me to see that the woman in my age group who took first place is my age and she finished at least twenty minutes ahead of me.  I stood shivering in a long, long line to get my 1/4 bagel and hot chocolate (there was no more pizza left by the time I got in), and then I stood in line for my time.  I watched everyone in front of me get a medal ("Congratulations!  You beat the train!"), and when I gave my time, it was, "Awww. . . so close.  Have a nice day!"

The Meh:  I got this coffee mug instead of a shirt.

Buck up, Happy Camper!  This is where I look at the bright side of things, so don't go away angry.

1.  I PR'd the 10-miler because the last time I ran a ten mile race was in 2012, the first year I ran.

2.  My pace was better than the first time I ran a half-marathon.

3.  My foot didn't snap in two.

4.  Getting the crap kicked out of my ego is actually a great thing.  This is an excellent opportunity for me to remember my attitude of gratitude.  Back in September, I thought I'd never run again, and today I ran ten miles.  I am SO LUCKY.  Now that I know that I can run a longer race without hurting myself, I can work on my speed.  And that is what I intend to do.

I am finished being a whiny, spoiled baby.  Thank you, Spring Training Race, for reminding me of what is important.

Next year I'm only running the five miler (so I get a ride on the train going back), and I'm going to beat the tar out of that train!

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