A sandwich you ask? Yep, it's how I roll- a good event sandwiched b/w two bad ones. Haha. Here's the deal from this past weekend. I drove home from KY on Friday. The Training Partner (TP) and I headed down to Orange Beach early Saturday morning. The entire race was on a paved bike/running trail, starting at the Municipal Sports Complex. This place is special to me b/c it's where Speedy Anna and I have done numerous long runs. We've had many good talks on those trails, and I knew exactly where it was located. Or so I thought. Yeah, we couldn't find the start by CAR! Had I started at the beach and run there, I would've been on spot, but time ticked by and we barely made the start of the race! Ridiculousness.
Before the race, Coach and I had discussed me running conservatively, but still running hard enough to place overall. The plan was to run the first 10 and goal marathon pace (and slower) and then let it loose on the last 5K. What I DID NOT anticipate was the speediness of the competition. And we were off.
The Top 3 ladies and I began together and the pace felt really easy and good. The trail was kind of narrow and it was a bit crowded with other men running near us, too. Being who I am, I started talking to the girls, asking them questions about themselves, but being mindful of any cues that they wanted me to shut up. One young gal was a 5th year college runner that had just finished her last college XC season. The other gal was from NC and vacationing with her hubby. NC gal said right off that she had a cold and was struggling, so to excuse her if she didn't talk much. There's my clue that she wants to be left alone. (I'm not saying that in a rude way. I completely understand and respect that some runners are different and like to be quiet during races.)
Mile 1. 6:40
Mile 2. 6:43
Mile 3. 6:30
Mile 4. 6:33
Mile 5. 6:44
NC gal drifts back and it is now just College Girl and me. We talk a little more and she tells me about her major and her recent marriage. She also talks a bit about her running goals and her family. It was really nice to meet someone so young with such a bright future. I can tell she's running well below her ability, so I'm anticipating her taking off soon.
Mile 6. 6:38
Mile 7. 6:38
Mile 8. 6:35
Mile 9. 6:37
Miles 7.5-8.5 are a little out and back portion. She takes off dramatically then. I consider going with her, and I think I could've, BUT... I am always thinking of the marathon. I was also thinking of Coach, hoping he wouldn't be upset with this race. (Since I was supposed to be running much slower than this.) So... I decide to stay put with my pace and save my all-out effort for another day. I have a huge training cycle in front of me with a goal much bigger than a Half PR. Sub 3. Sub 3. Sub 3. Sub 3.
Mile 10. 6:43 All that thinking and deliberating...I always sort of lose focus when I get into No Man's Land (alone). Now I'm wondering if I should still try to nail the last 5K. I mean, this whole race was faster than our original plan. I COULD pick it up a little bit, but there would be a definite price to pay in my recovery. I decide to try to hold steady.
Mile 11. 6:37
Mile 12. 6:35
Mile 13. 6:37
Mile 13.16. 1:04 (6:49 pace) Weird stuff here. The finish was a sharp right turn into a gravel/dirt slight uphill. When I turned right there were some people SCREAMING at me to watch my footing. Come to find out, TP completely wiped out there when finishing the 5K. He was battling someone out for 3rd place and BAM, he slid home, like in baseball. He ripped his knee to shreds, and his gloves, and his elbow, and his belly...
Final time 1:27:15 2nd Overall Female. PR by 33 seconds.
Then on the way home I had to stop by Walmart. I was sitting in the left turning lane and the light was red. All of a sudden I got rear-ended!!!!!! Ugh. I will kind of abandon that story b/c I don't want to distract from my race. Hahah. Everyone was fine. It was a poor high school girl, too. My car is dented, but nothing too major.
I still plan on blogging about my reasoning for hiring a coach. I also plan to go back and look at my 2010 goals. I know this year has been a major... (geez, there are so many words to put in right here.) In all, I am feeling more like myself every day. I am blessed in so many ways. Most importantly, I feel very thankful to have taken steps to make my life better. These steps will hopefully continue into 2011, too!