June 6, 2010

My First Night Race

I had no intention of actually "racing" this race. Honestly, I was doing it b/c it looked really fun, and my friends were doing it. Plus, there's no better way to get in a speed workout than running a little fun run. Because of my non-racing attitude, I really hit it hard with my training Thursday-Saturday. I did 14 on Thursday, 20 on Friday, and then ran 5 easy on Saturday morning (race day). The race did not start until 10:30, so that gave me plenty of time to regroup.

On my way to the race, it was absolutely POURING down rain. I had looked at the weather and knew it would be fine by the time I got to the coast, but I also knew it would leave that Gulf Coast humidity behind. Thanks to the storms, I got to the race later than I would've liked and you all know the same song and dance that happens to me near every time. Couldn't find the race right away, scrambled to get bib number, and scrambled to do warm up. Anyway, I was standing around waiting for the race to start and I saw this youngish guy keep looking at me. He looked SOOOOO familiar. I do have a familiar face and people always think they have met me before, so maybe that's what was happening.

Right before the gun was about to go off, I had this Ah-ha moment where I realized who that boy was. I actually coached him at my old school back in Birmingham! It was when he was in the 8th-9th grade! I tried to shout his name, but at this point they were doing the National Anthem and were about to start the race. And we were off!

So, I raced with no Garmin. My Garmin button broke off and the betzel was frozen. Plus, I couldn't see it anyway, so I just used good ol' wristwatch. I immediately stepped in behind a gal that appeared to be in college, and she looked really strong. I pretty much stayed within 10 seconds of her the whole race and this would not change, all the way to the finish line, her first, me 2nd.

Mile 1: Exactly 6:00
Mile 2-3: Um, no stinking clue. I missed Mile 2 clock, and forgot what mile 3 clock said. Ha! The finish was pretty neat, on a HS track!

The course was marked really well, and there was enough light that no one busted their booties. I think I also liked this race because it was sort of freeing to me. I had no expectations on time, no watch, just me out there running for FUN!

Oh yeah, my final time?
19:10, only 5 seconds off PR! I'll take it! A friend of mine said that this race was actually a better performance for me than my PR b/c of the 20 miler and non-tapering of my week. So, hopefully that is true.

Afterwards, I talked to the youngish guy that I used to coach. He is now running in college and ran a smoking time last night! It was so exciting to catch up with him and see how well he is running now.

After the race, we had a blast, too! There was a little confusion when they called me out as 3rd, instead of 2nd. Apparently, a woman had registered, then a man had run in her bib. They tried to change it before the race, but no luck. So, they first gave me the 3rd place plaque. I wasn't going to say anything at all. I have 100 bazillion racing items, and it is totally not a big deal. I really don't like it when people get all bent out of shape over race results and stuff. I mean, it's hard work putting on a race! Have some respect! Anyway, someone else spoke up and the ended up switching out the plaques.

My question now is this- what do I do about Seattle? McMillan predicts 3:03 for just about all my PRs, but I do feel like my training has been less than stellar. I guess I'm just used to doing sooo many miles and following the plan exactly. This time has been very different. My last marathon was San Antonio and since then, it feels like one obstacle after another. I also know from experience that me and emotional stress don't jive when it leads to marathoning. Remember St. Louis 2009?

Since I've been really good at sharing my feelings lately, I'll just say that I'm really afraid of this marathon. I know, I know, I've done 20. But, there's always a "but" with me...
1. I didn't have any LRs over 20 miles. I am used to getting in a at least one 22-24 miler.
2. My mileage has not been where I would've liked.
3. Right now I doubt my own mental toughness to PR.

So, where does that leave me with goal setting? I've thrown around a lot of ideas.
1. Just go for Sub 3 and say who cares.
2. Try for PR, maybe attempt 7:00 pace the whole way?
3. Play it safe and go with 3:10 or 3:15 pace group. I feel like that's in the bag, unless something disastrous happens (which in a marathon, there's always the chance).

Thanks for so many well-wishes about my dad. He is doing okay. According to my mom, his rehab center is really nice, and they are working really hard with him. He's already made progress- can remember his birthday, phone number, and address now! Baby steps, baby steps. I am heading up there Thursday through Sunday, so it will be a big relief to see him again, and see for myself that he is doing better. I have been talking to him on the phone. He mostly just listens, but after telling him I was going to a race that evening, he asked where the race was! Mom wasn't even in the background prompting him like she usually does.

Run strong, everyone!


  1. wow, becca. way to race in a "i'm not racing" race. excellent time. yes, we were in FL but i can't say that it was a good trip. kert was out of town and then cj got sick with rosalia something...high fever then a rash. so we had one good afternoon adn the rest was lots of fussing in the condo. so probably not the best time to visit. we're thinking about going around the fourth depending on the oil situation. what are you plans around that time?

  2. Here are my thoughts, feel free to ignore:

    People always say you can't base a marathon goal off a 5K. True for most people, people who don't do as many miles or train as hard as you. I think it's hard to get a great 5K PR when you're marathon training since the runs are longer and slower, not meant for having zippy legs.

    So if you can pull out these low 19s when you're in the midst of marathon training, that makes me think you really have some 18s waiting to come out and that basing your marathon off these last couple 5Ks wouldn't be a stretch at all. Go for 7:00s or if you're feeling great that day, Sub3.

  3. good luck in Seattle!! I'm running it and it is my first!! excited about it.

  4. so glad to hear that your dad is doing better!

    awesome job in that 5k. want to send me some of your speed? a 19:10 after a 20 miler is insane! and amazing! i don't feel worthy to be called your mini-you ;)

  5. Awesome race. You may want to consider the Twilight Retro 5K in late July if you can get to B'ham. It's an evening race with a good course and it's my comeback PR (19:27).
    I wish there were more night races here in the Deep South. Even an 8:00 AM start is too late sometimes.

  6. It's amazing what can happen when we let go of our preconceived notions, emotional baggage and pre-race anxiety. All the "negatives" you listed could just as easily be positives. At your level of experience, you don't need 24-milers anymore. You just need to get to the starting line healthy, draw a good weather day and settle into a rhythm within the first couple of miles. The rest will take care of itself.

    Congrats on your recent short distance efforts. Here's to a stellar marathon performance ahead.


  7. Hey, great race and good luck in Seattle! I don't have any goal setting advice- just run and if you're feeling good, seize the moment. I was actually just really curious as to how you pick which marathons you run (and whether there are any you will go back and "repeat"), so if you ever want to do a post on that, I'm all ears :)

  8. Well you have gotten great guidence on here from runners much more skilled then I.

    I wanted to say congrats on the 5k success and it's such great news to hear you father is doing better.

  9. Great race! I am so impressed with the time; I'm dying to break 20 mins. A night race would be a big challenge for me (I'm an AM runner usually)

  10. You kicked some butt, woman! I'm glad to hear your Dad is improving as well. We'll continue to keep him in our thoughts.

  11. Depends on race day weather. But paced on your recent training, I say you should try for sub-3. Good luck

  12. I am mad impressed with your near-PR the day after a twenty miler! I like to take off the day after my long run and I definitely can't imagine having the gears to gut out a quick 5k! I'm glad to hear that things are getting better with your dad :)
    As far as Seattle goes, I fall into the "trust your gut" crowd. I tend to know when I wake up on race morning when it's going to be my day, which helps me be flexible with my goal setting and not to freak out too much. And when I wake up and feel like it's not my day? Then I play mental cheerleader, and I have a decent success rate with that as well ;)