Bad news first: no sub 42. Not really a surprise though.
Good news? PR and age group first place. And the rain cleared up. So while the ground was wet at least it was not raining, windy or too cold. It was cloudy and a nice 50 degrees --about as close to perfect weather that I am ever gonna get.
Oh yeah, and I unplugged.
I got up at 5 am and did my pre race ritual and got dressed. Decided on black skirt (though the silver would have been more apropos) and blue singlet. Didn't have safety pins, of course. The rain started falling right before I got on I75. Rain became torrential downpour while on 75. I couldn't see the white lines on the highway to know where the lanes were the rain was so heavy. I didn't freak out or curse the heavens but just felt resigned to my fate. When I signed up the other day at the Big Peach I warned all present in the store that me doing so meant it was going to rain. I have that kind of power. But by I285 it was easing up and the rain had stopped completely by the time I got to the parking area.
I ran into my pal Joe from Big Peach Running Co in the parking lot and we walked to the start together. He is the shoe savant. He has not only helped me with shoes but is an indispensable fount of running knowledge. He also lets me bore him while I run on at the mouth about anything and everything. Even better, he thinks it is funny when Beau does stuff like pulls his pants down in the store and say he has to go pee pee. I know he does all this because it is his job to be nice to customers and a customer, albeit an annoying one, I definitely am. He just sold me my ninth pair of Adrenaline's in the past 11 months. He also found some pins for my number and was gracious enough to chat with me pre race today. Oh yeah, and Joe? He won. The whole race. He called this a "tune-up" run. See me rolling my eyes at his modesty.
Pre race I also ran into my friend Karen--yet another employee from Big Peach (See, I'm not kidding. I totally annoy all of them at Big Peach and yet they still talk to me. They are so nice. So go buy your running gear from them.) She ran the OBX marathon last year too. She decided not run today as she already had her Peachtree qualifier and sent me on to line up for the race. She said I needed to be at the front of the line with all the boys and show them how a girl really runs. So that is where I went. I was smack in the middle, one person back. This positioning stressed me a little as I generally like to be to the side and worried briefly that I might get trampled.
Maybe a gun went, maybe not. I don't know. I can't remember. I think I heard: "Runners. Take your mark!" and then "GO!" So go I did.
That first mile was hell. At first I couldn't figure out what was so wrong. I realized that hearing myself-- and everyone else around me--breathe instead of hearing Coldplay's "Clocks" was what was wrong.
I pretty much begin every race and most runs to this song. It is my mental que to start running and to get ready to go long and hard. Not hearing it made me feel weird and off kilter. And then hearing all that heavy breathing and the pounding of feet? Well, I seriously thought everyone was going to drop dead right then--myself included.
And then there was that I was going out way too fast but, like I said, I didn't want to get trampled so I kinda had to run a little faster than I was comfortable with. The first split was 6:23. I didn't know I could run a 6:23 mile. Garmin had my fastest pace as 4:30 mile. I am guessing that pace happened in those first few minutes of running. Once I heard that first split called though I began to pull back. Second mile came in at 14 minutes. 3rd mile came in at 21 minutes. And even though I began to feel more comfortable with the pace I knew then that I wasn't going to get my sub 42. I stopped somewhere in that first 5k for water but I can't remember which mile.
I kept pushing though and maintained pretty close to a 7 minute pace for the rest of the race. I got a lot of great jobs, nice pace, and way to go from the other runners who passed me or I passed. Mile 4 was 28 minutes. That is the fastest I have ever run 4 miles so I was pretty impressed by that. Mile 5 was 35 minutes and then I stopped at an aid station for a drink of water. I just can't run and drink. Yes, I've tried squeezing the cup. I have no problem getting the water in my mouth. It is swallowing it once it is in my mouth that I have trouble with. So I lost a little time. I came up on mile six at a hair over 42 minutes. I knew sub 42 wasn't happening so I slowed a little knowing that a PR was in the bank already.
I looked up at the clock as I ran under the finish: 43:41 and I stopped Garmin at 43:45--so official time is somewhere in between there/around there. Last I checked they hadn't posted the results so I don't know for sure but I am guessing pace was somewhere around 7:02. PR was 2 minutes off William's run that I did in November 06, 4 minutes off my 06 Chattahoochee Challenge time. So really, I can't complain. I am getting that much closer to my goal.
A guy afterwards came up and said he was using me to pace. I remember when he passed me. It was when I stopped in the 5th mile for water and then I couldn't catch him. I asked him what my pace got him and it was just over 43 minutes-- so maybe next time no water stops. I also think that next time I will wear my ipod because I don't like hearing myself, or all those other people who sound like they are dying, breathe. Seriously, it freaks me out.
I also think I need to practice running faster. I have been suspecting for awhile now that I am not pushing myself hard enough in my speed workouts. I was not comfortable sustaining the sub 7 minute pace. And by not comfortable I am referring to breathing. I had no problem with my legs--they felt fantastic--no lactic acid burn, no heavy feeling, no cramping. My breathing though felt a little out of control--especially that first mile.I know I was running harder than usual but since my body seemed fine with it I think part of it was mental. I really am just not accustom to hearing myself breathe. It was quite strange and I was way too conscious of it. Once I stopped running I felt totally fine and could have probably run another 10k--albeit at a slower pace. I can definitely push myself with the distance but the speed is something else entirely. Guess it is time to reevaluate my speed workouts.
Thanks again all for your support and well wishes.