I can spend hours professing my love for trails but that doesn’t mean I’ve entirely given up on road races. Especially the shorter road races. There is a certain level of accomplishment in getting out on the pavement, pushing the pace and managing misery that I am yet to find on the trails.
Last Saturday I ran the Home Sweet Home 10K on a bit of a whim. I have a really hard time turning down a bib when it’s handed to me and the Boulder Running Company had one just waiting for a runner to pin it on! A few days prior to the race I ran two miles with Chris at an 8:06 pace. It wasn’t excessively hard but it required enough effort to get me worried about pulling off a PR on the 10K. I’d need to hold at least an 8:13 for 6.2 miles to PR.
I decided to run with my Garmin to reign myself in for the first few miles and hopefully have motivation to move my butt toward the end. I told myself it was okay to start out in the mid 8’s and pick up the pace as the race went on. That didn’t exactly happen.
My first mile was destined to be way too fast…I cannot figure out how to calm myself down enough to take it easy in the first mile, not when the people around me are booking it. The 5K and 10K started together so I had no idea where I was lining up in terms of place, and quite frankly I didn’t care. I was running to PR, not place.
The actual Garmin stats are lost in the abyss of “my Garmin hates me” but I know I spent the first two miles hovering around 7:30. Far faster than I was planning on running but I was still feeling pretty comfortable as I headed into the 5K finish/second loop of the 10K so I decided to stop freaking out about the pace and run for feel.
I wasn’t feeling miserable, my legs were holding up and my pesky side cramp that brought tears to my eyes during the Hearth & Sole 10K was no where to be found. I crossed the 5K mark at 23:53…technically a PR if you skip over the Underwearness 5K which clocked in at 2.9, not 3.1 miles! I was impressed with my body, it definitely didn’t feel like I was running 7:40’s!
As I headed into the second loop I immediately realized one thing – I should have paid more attention to the course on my first loop, there was no one to follow. Well, except a woman wearing black about a quarter mile ahead of me. At least I’d know if I was going the right direction on the looping out and backs!
When I was approaching mile 3.5 I met Sean, another BRC runner, coming into mile 5 as the lead racer. This is not the first race I’ve watched him chase down the lead biker…he is kind of a speed demon. As we zigged and zagged through the park I met a few men on the out and back but the only woman I saw with the chick in black ahead of me. She seemed so far away and I figured I’d just missed all the other women ahead of me so I focused on myself, not my place in the race.
The second loop was rather boring and I got to spend some quality time dodging the 5K walkers but it was an absolutely gorgeous November day, my body was loving the run and my pace was dropping. The gap between me and the woman ahead of me closed slowly…oh, so slowly. When I hit mile 6 she was about 200 feet ahead of me. I decided to kick it in, just to see how close I could get. I got close…so close that at 6.1 (where the Mile 3 marker was) I passed her! Yay! I chased this woman for the last 3 miles and I finally caught her just a few feet from the finisher’s chute! Go me! Go legs!
Of the entire 6.2 miles the last few hundred feet were the most miserable and I stopped dead as soon as I crossed the finish line. I finally knew what it felt like to want to vomit all over the poor camera man. I think this means I finally truly pushed my pace for a reasonable distance! I didn’t hate the feeling quite as much as I expected to…
Shortly after the race this woman came up to me and congratulated my finish. I thanked her for being my rabbit then chatted about the course as another man stopped by and thanked both of us for giving him targets to chase down in the last mile. I love runners and the overall sport of running! Everyone is so happy and supportive!
Since Sean and the other BRC runner, Lenny, had placed in his age group we decided to hang around for awards. Besides, I was fairly certain I had pulled off an age group award of some sort. To my surprise they announced me as the overall female winner of the 10K! Yea, you read that right, first female. I really do want to brag about it, but it was a small race…and a few hours later they fixed their mistake – another woman beat me across the finish line by multiple minutes but got mixed up with the 5K results. But as proof that I was thought to be the winner at one point I present you with this…
That’s me…#1 for female overall! There were just over 50 women running but I’ll take first…or second…and be excited about it! Also, I’m never doing speed work Sean – he set the course record! He is crazy fast, but he does appreciate a slow cool down so every once in a while I do get to run with him and feel good about myself and my speed!
After the race Chris and I headed downtown for brunch then I dropped him off at work while I drove west to meet Paula for a trail run. I finished off my day with about 11 miles total, then spent the next two days whining about how sore my legs were. Apparently your hamstrings get a good workout when you push the pace and it was quite obvious that my hamstrings need a little more TLC! It has been a long time since my legs felt the true agony of DOMS. It wasn’t fun but it felt good to really feel a run with more than just “tired legs”. So good, in fact, that I’m racing again tomorrow!
This time around I use the term “racing” very lightly. The Pumpkin Pie 5K and 10K is going down at City Park (probably the exact same course as the Home Sweet Home 10K) on Saturday and the turnout is going to be MUCH bigger than this past weekend with all the super fast kids showing up. I’ll be there to run the 5K and 10K…with my eye on a 5K PR. They offer a double option and for some ridiculous reason it sounded like a good idea. Anyone want to hang out on Sunday and listen to me whine?