All week, I have know the weather conditions for this run were going to be less than ideal. All week, I had been talking myself out of running this race. So, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when I felt like this race was not one of my best.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually did very well. But, I’m not happy with how I raced. How do I explain this better? I’m happy about the outcome but not about what led up to that point.
Waking up Saturday morning, there was a dusting of snow on the ground. The air temperature was 27-degrees, but felt like it was 20-degrees. For me, that means I’m on the treadmill. So, the fact that I had to race in that weather was less than appealing to me. First of all, because I HATE racing in pants. I even hate RUNNING in pants. But, I call “uncle” when the temps dip below the freezing mark. But, not just the wearing of pants during the race that made running less than appealing. The fact that anytime the temperature is remotely cold for a race, pretty much everything on my body goes numb and gets uncomfortable. Particularly, the bottoms of my feet. If you’ve ever had any part of your body go numb, you know how awful it is when something touches it. Think about try to have to run when you literally cannot feel the bottom of your feet. It’s not pleasant.
So, I suited up in my leggings, compression socks, warmest shirt, hat, and mittens and headed to the race. I sat in my car for a few minutes before heading out to do my warm-up run to the starting line. I probably could’ve waited a little longer, because by the time I got my mile warm-up in, I still had a good 20-minutes until the start of the race, and my car was not close enough to go sit in a little longer. So, I attempted to stay warm at the start by keeping moving.
I ran into a few running friends – Brooke + Vicki – right before the start of the race, and chatted about the weather and how brutal the course is. I never really think about it being hard because I always feel like there is only 2 real hills to worry about. But, I tend to forget that sometimes those lower grade hills are really the killer ones.
I started off really well. The first mile is almost completely downhill, so I settled in next to Brooke and behind some guys who had a good pace that helped me hold back a little bite. One of my goals was to stay with Brooke, so I tried to make it a point to match her speed, especially that first mile.
But, when we got to the first hill, I just couldn’t hang anymore. Brooke started pulling away from me and I just couldn’t keep up with her pace. But, I was OK with that because I was currently sitting in 2nd and would be thrilled with a 2nd place finish, since I’ve always been 4th at this race.
The second mile is always the hardest, with a big uphill, but what goes up must also come down. The worst part about that is – my feet were completely numb. In fact, my entire body was numb at that point and I was being pelted in the eye with snow. Oh, and did I mention, there was a great wind that did not make ANYTHING better.
Mile 2 to mile 3 is mostly flat with a really LONG stretch of road. I tried to keep my head down and just focus on running, but mentally, I was done. The race seemed long and I wanted to be done. I knew I couldn’t win and I was just getting more + more frustrated with every step.
And then, Vicki caught up + passed me. But, because I was mentally checked out – I let her. It was a completely defeated feeling. Rarely do I EVER have another female pass me that close the finish in a short distance race. Usually, I can settle in to my place, especially in the last mile. But, once I had someone pass me, I was done. I gave up. I didn’t even care about my time anymore. I just wanted to be done.
Luckily, I was able to finish the last ¼-mile really strong – mostly because it was downhill – but I could see that it was a 28:xx on the clock, so I gave it my all to try to finish under 29-minutes. My time last year was a 29:14, so I would have LOVED to PR this race.
Thankfully, that was the best outcome of this race. I ended up with a HUGE PR (almost 45-seconds than last year), but I was completely defeated. This was more of a mental battle than a physical one, and I know I’ve really got to focus on how to stay mentally tough during a race that is longer than a 5K. I know I need to set better goals that are achievable, and secondary goals that will help me still feel successful with the outcome. I have some things I know I need to focus on in my training, so I will be starting to think about how to get past those mental barriers in my daily training runs.
Time = 28:38
Average Pace = 6:35/mile
4th Overall Female
1st in Age Group (30-34)
PS – I’ve placed 4th in this race EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I seriously thought I got 3rd this year, only to look at the official results and see someone beat me (and came in 2nd) based on chip time. Pretty sure I’ll be looking at a different race for next year…