My race report skills are a little rusty these days, but I figure a PR earns me the right to write one.
If you haven't tuned out my complaining for the past few years, you know
that I haven't been running how I've wanted to run since spring of
2012. Torn labrum, hip impingement, misdiagnoses, endless PT, MRIs,
blah, blah, blah. I'm now 9 months post-op from getting cut open, having cameras inserted into my hip joint, and
extra bone on my femur and hip socket shaved down, plus stitching up my labrum.
Insert something cheesy about a long journey here.
Right now I'm basically a running n00b. I haven't run any good mileage in the past two
years. I've had numerous stretches of months off at a time, including 5
months off this spring/summer to heal from surgery. I'm averaging
11mpw this year and probably averaged close to that last year too. So
how does one PR with no base and no training? I haven't actually tried
in a road race since 2010. At the time I was trying to break 60 minutes
in the 10K and failed by about 37 seconds. After that I started running ultras and didn't look
back. I don't like running short races. I much prefer the hurt of mile
40 opposed to mile 4.
But I can't run ultras right now, so I registered for this 10K on
Thanksgiving morning mostly because it's walkable from my parent's house
and I wanted to eat a lot of pie later in the day. I was not overly
enthused about racing it and contemplated just jogging it up until that
morning in which I realized that I didn't know how to race a 10K and
asked some fellow running folk what it was supposed to feel like. I was at the race
with a non-running friend who was also doing the 10K ("OMG I can't
believe I have to run 6 miles! What do you mean you need warm up? So
you're going to run extra before the race?!") I probably ran an easy
mile or so as a warm up. It was colder than I would have liked at 16
degrees. And windy.
I had duct tape covering all parts of my Garmin except for the mileage.
My plan was to run the race by feel and get out of the I'm-So-Slow
mindset. When we started running, I wasn't quite sure what pace to run
at, so I ran at a pace that felt tempo-ish. I figured that my pace was
probably a little slow for 10K effort, but I could always pick it up
later. So I cruised at comfortably hard for a few miles. We eventually
got dumped onto a bike path, which was icy. The city isn't allowed to
use salt on it for some reason and everyone but me seemed to slow down.
Maybe it's because I'm not a treadmill runner or because I'm used to
running over worse things than ice, but I got annoyed by the slowness
and passed a lot of people once we hit the bike path.
During this time I heard the girl directly behind me go down. It was a
good fall and she screamed upon impact. It took every ounce of my brain
strength to convince myself not to stop. I always stop for anyone that
falls. I've wasted an hour in a trail marathon helping a girl who had
an asthma attack before. It doesn't sit well with me not to help
someone and even now I still feel badly, but I kept running. I adapted
the cold, black heart of a road runner and kept going. I hope she's
okay. Med flight did wind up airlifting someone out from the race, so
if it was her, Karma is really going to mess with me later.
I hit mile 4 and thought of a friend saying that you should feel like you
can't finish at mile 4. I didn't feel like death. I felt pretty tired,
but not like I wanted to die. Crap, I am so not doing this right. But
you know what sucks about being a slow person racing? Everyone around
me is talking like they're out for coffee. I hate them all. I can't
even muster the energy to thank the volunteers. So I'm trying, at
least. At mile 5, I see a decent hill in the distance and audibly
swear. We've been rolling for a while now, but nothing too extreme.
Yes, yes, I am tired now and ready for this to be over. I like to be
zen when I am running. I am very, very far from zen.
I tuck my head down and try to keep my pace up the hill. I am racing
now and it hurts. The last mile sucks. I am playing mind games with
myself and thinking about the music on my iPod, which is the only
indicator of time I have. There was no clock at the 5K split and some
idiot put duct tape over my Garmin. My playlist is an hour and 3
minutes long and I fully intend not to the listen to the last song.
Only my second to last song starts playing. "Oh crap, I must be going
slower than I thought." I thought sub-60 was in the bag and now I'm
worried about it. But no, I was just confused and I'm only on my third
to last song as I click over to my second to last song as I cross over
to mile 6.
The last .2 miles of the 10K course merges with the 5K, which started
approximately 20 minutes after the 10K. There are signs that direct the
5K runners to the right and 10K runners to the left, but no one follows
that and it's a clusterf--k as usual. I'm sprinting now, my big ski
gloves off and wadded up in my right hand. I am passing moms, children,
walkers, the elderly, the overweight. I can't breathe and it's
apparent to others as I sprint by them wheezing and heaving. I am the
only person racing in this freaking clusterf--k. OUT OF MY DAMN WAY. I
finally see the clock and it reads 59:xx. What?? CRAP. Am I really
only just going to squeak in under an hour? Oh wait, minus 3 minutes,
minus 3 minutes, minus 3 minutes. We had started in waves and my wave
left at exactly 9:03 when the clock started at 9am.
Official time of 56:47. A PR by 4 minutes. (Yet it still seems so slow.) I do think I have a faster 10K in me even with this
non-existent training. It was too cold, too hilly, too icy. I don't
know, maybe I'll try another one before 4 years passes again.
As usual, the only thing I am good at is pacing:
Mile 1: 9:11
Mile 2: 9:09
Mile 3: 9:09
Mile 4: 9:01
Mile 5: 9:12
Mile 6: 9:05
Last .2 at 7:11 pace
I am still not yet at 100% after surgery, but I am happy to report that I
didn't think about my hip at all during the race. It was a little
cranky afterward, but worlds better than it has been in the past. I'm
still amazed by being mostly pain free. My runs may be shorter than I'm
used to, but it's still an awesome feeling.