I ran my first race of 2016 this past weekend and, I’ll save the suspense – I ran another PR! I was mentally floundering in the long, dry spell without races for the 10 weeks between Dallas Marathon and Cowtown Half Marathon. So I looked at my schedule and found a couple of races to “fill in” that void and break up the monotony of training…the first, of which, was the Hotcake Hustle 10k .
The last 10k I ran was during Thanksgiving break, when we had received record amounts of rain (and flooding) along with temps in the 30s. (Northern people STOP rolling your eyes – that was COLD weather for Texans!) I tell you this because the forecast was almost exactly the same for my 10k on Saturday. I was beginning to think the gods of running were trying to tell me that 10k wasn’t a distance I should consider racing! In the end, the weather was perfect – temps around 40, not a lot of wind and NO RAIN! Actually, perfect racing conditions as far as I’m concerned.
Before the race
Many people know of my dear friend, Jane, who lives in Ottawa, Canada. We have been fortunate enough to meet in person twice: once when she came to San Antonio to run Rock ‘n’ Roll and this past October when we met in St. Louis for yet another Rock ‘n’ Roll race! Well…..she blogs, and during football season, frequently references her trips to the Ottawa RedBlacks games. (Her dad has season tickets.) Imagine my surprise, when this caught my eye while waiting for the race to start!
I HAD to ask him to take a picture! I explained that my friend lives in Ottawa and attends the games and that she would DIE when I sent this to her! He was Canadian, by the way, grew up there and I assume he is living now in God’s Country, I mean Texas. Of course, I immediately sent the pic to Jane!
I’m glad I didn’t check the route before the race. The thought of it would have driven me mad. The course was out and back and the 10k’ers ran the “loop” twice. Generally speaking, anytime there are runners running on both sides of the road I get mental, always wondering where the turn around point will be. Luckily, this time I was too preoccupied with running over a bridge while trying to keep my heart rate under control – I might have momentarily obsessed over having to run that TWICE. As it turned out, the bridge was WORSE on the way back….if you assume it would be the same, you would be WRONG (I have the elevation on my Garmin to prove it).
I was to keep my heart rate around 160 for the first couple of miles then open it up. At the 2-mile point, however, I still had the back side of the bridge to tackle. I knew the front side had been tough, so I decided to wait until I was over the back side before pushing the pace going forward. That turned out to be a really good idea (yes, Jen actually does make smart decisions at times). When I opened up, my goal was keeping my heart rate on the high side of the 170s. I was too cautious to push it over 180 at this point in the race because 1) I had that damn bridge AGAIN and 2) it was highly unlikely I could maintain that for the next 3 miles.
The second loop was fun and fast (for me anyway), except the back side of the bridge really slowed me down AGAIN. I know I have previously professed my love of hills, but I’m beginning to only like hills during training. LOL
My nature is to hold back and stay in my familiar, comfortable place. I DO NOT want to fail, and in a race situation like this, failure (to me) would be tanking at the end. I tried to push myself out of that comfortable, familiar place during the race and I feel that I did a fairly good job. I probably could have pushed it a tad bit more, but who knows…..I might have been right on the edge of doing too much. Again, #myoneword for the year, uncomfortable, came into play. I reminded myself that I was well-trained and prepared and all I needed to do was get out of my comfy spot and let great things happen. I guess I would have to call it a success! My legs were definitely dead by the end and I beat my previous 5k time by about 1:00, as well as new PR for my 10k by 1:00.
After the race, I had two different women come up to me to compliment me. How AWESOME is that?!? One of them mentioned that she noticed me at other races and was always impressed. First, what a great feeling it is to have a complete stranger compliment you! And second, YAY for women coming together to support each other! Honestly, I think THAT was the BEST part of the race!
I ended up with an official time of 55:20. I came in 119/462 overall, 43/287 out of all female runners, and 7/51 in my age group. Not too shabby 🙂
Now I’m twiddling my thumbs until my next race!
Happy MLK Day ~ keep moving forward!