On Tuesday morning I found out there were team bibs available for the Liberty Run at Washington Park, a four mile race on July 4th. By Tuesday night I successfully talked myself into the race.
Come Thursday morning I was regretting my decision. Ninety percent of the population had the day off and were sleeping in. I was getting up to an alarm and heading out into Colorado “humidity” to run a 4 mile race. I was a little jealous of everyone still sleeping – including Chris and Fred who had taken over the entire bed before I even left the house.
Walking down the stairs to get from the apartment to the car made me regret my decision even more – my legs were exhausted! I’ve been trying to incorporate my strength training into my life and DOMS has been kicking my butt lately, this time I was blaming thanking Blonde Ponytail’s Body Weight Countdown workout. This was going to be a really long 4 miles!
At Wash Park I grabbed my bib and t-shirt then headed out for a short “warm up” run. Good news – it hurt less to run than it did to walk! Maybe the race wouldn’t be so bad? One can hope…
Before we started I contemplated ignoring my watch completely. I already decided to leave the Garmin in the car and the idea of not starting at my sports watch sounded appealing. Just seconds before my feet hit the start mat I changed my mind. What if the chip didn’t work and I never knew the finish time of my first 4 mile race?! I hit start…then spent the next mile trying really hard to not look at it.
The first mile took forever. As did the second, third and fourth. My legs were not happy with me. They were tired, sore and heavy. Luckily my body hadn’t kicked over to clumsy yet but I would no have been surprised if I did trip over myself. I was a long race, to say the least.
As I searched the course for the “Mile 1” marker I made some new workout plans for the following week…plans that involved very little running. I was fighting to keep at sub-9 pace on a 4 mile race – how the heck was I going to pull off a sub-9 for 13.1 miles in 9 days?! Or a low-8 pace for 6.2 miles if I transferred from the Sand Creek half to the 10K!?
The race itself was rough on me. I had sweat my way through my sports bra and shorty shorts before I hit mile 2, I nearly choked on my gum at a water stop and there was a “hill” up to the finish line. On top of all that, I run this park about twice a week so it definitely wasn’t mentally stimulating.
Without the Garmin I didn’t know my exact pace but my first mile came in around 8:20 and I crossed the finish line at 34:02, a pace of 8:30. Honestly, that is better than I expected! My first 4 mile race was just 31 seconds slower than my first 5K race!
As soon as I crossed the finish line the miserable part of the day was over. I had an instant PR for the distance and the post-race festivities included a band of preteens playing legit rock music. Color me impressed – they were awesome! I can’t figure out how to use the Instagram video but if I was smarter I would be sharing a little footage of their version of Sweet Dreams by Marilyn Manson.
The race benefited Make a Wish Foundation and throughout the day the emcee did a great job of redirecting our attention to the cause. We all got Make a Wish pint glasses rather than medals and they had a booth set up selling the cutest hand painted turtles to raise money. A child who had benefited from Make a Wish was the ambassador and was hilarious and so optimistic when speaking to the group. It felt very “local” and almost “small town” – kind of like the 4th of July I grew up with, but without the beer garden!
The post-race made up for every mile of “gah, why am I doing this” on the course. I loved the event and if I’m in town next year I’ll do my best to be back! Plus, the t-shirts are cute and the women specific sizes actually fit!
This race was a great eye opener! My poor legs have been used and abused. Apparently this affects my ability to run race! Don’t get me wrong, I’m rather impressed with my legs’ ability to keep it together on Thursday, but I am a little worried about running Sand Creek next Saturday. I’m not sure what I’m going to do and quite honestly, I probably won’t know until that morning. What I do know is that I’m taking it easy with running this week!