Monday, June 1, 2015

Rock Run 8k Race Recap

It is that time of year. It is hot and humid and most of us aren’t acclimated to it yet. Not that anyone really ever gets used to it but you do cope better after you’ve had some time to adjust. Every year there is one Grand Prix race that is the first really unpleasant race of the seasn. The Rock Run gets that distinction this year. Brian does a lot of the work for this race so he got up early and went out to do things like mark the course and set up water stops. I stayed home with the boys until the sitter arrived at 6am. The race started at 730 and it was about a 30 minute drive to the course. Thanks to early packet pick up, I didn’t need to do anything except show up, warm up and run. It was raining when I arrived but it wasn’t a downpour. As I warmed up, I realized that it wasn’t that warm and the wind was blowing in my face cooling me down. It was almost pleasant. This did not last long. Before I even turned around for the second mile of my warm up, I was already starting to feel pretty hot and gross and the soupy air was not exactly conducive to breathing. As the sun tried to peek through the clouds and the temps went up, it soon started to feel a little like a sauna.

I haven’t felt great since Boston so I was a little worried about this race. I figured I should be prepared though and my recent speedwork was respectable. I put my Capital City 10k time in the McMillan calculator and it predicted I could do 6:30s for an 8k. Capital City was perfect weather and was pre-marathon but it also was done on a lot of miles. I didn’t taper at all and ran a 15 miler the Wednesday before the race. With the weather and the questionable legs, I figured I would go out at 6:30 and just play it by ear. I did manage to do the first mile in 6:30. It wasn’t horrible but I could tell that there was no way I would be able to keep that up. I backed off and did the second mile in 6:45. At that point, I knew I was in trouble.  I felt awful but I figured it was the horrible weather and I told myself to just keep going and that everyone probably felt as bad or even worse than I did. There was a girl a few feet in front of me so I just locked on to her and tried to focus on bringing her in. I also started to watch for the leaders. It is an out and back course and I felt like I should at least be able to see the first few people soon. For some reason, it really bothered me that I couldn’t see them yet. Finally they came into view. Brian was in second place. He looked to be running well but didn’t seem to be enjoying himself much. As I met more runners, I could see that most people weren’t feeling too good. The turnaround came just before mile 3. Ughhh… I still had nearly 2 miles to go. I was really feeling terrible. Mile 3 was 6:46 pace so at least I wasn’t continuing to slow down. I caught and passed the girl in front of me but she hung on and came back up beside me. I was in no mood to go back and forth with someone for another mile and a half but I didn’t have the energy to drop her either. Sometimes, running beside someone is helpful but sometimes it really bothers me. Today, running beside someone felt like extra weight or maybe a too warm shirt that I wanted to strip off. I just tried to hang on to my pace and, lucky for me, she fell back. At the 4 mile mark, there was a little bit of a decline so I tried to tell myself that it was all downhill and less than a mile to go. Unfortunately, the split was 6:58 so I was getting slower. There was nothing I could do though. At that point, I was just hanging on and had no fight left in me. If someone would have passed me, I wouldn’t have had the speed or the motivation to try to stay with them. I knew there was at least one girl at the turn around that was close enough to catch me and there was the girl I had passed that could also come back up. As I got closer, I really started to feel bad. All I could think about was finishing. I started to worry that I might pass out. I did every trick I could think of to get me to the finish line. I would pick short goals like telephone poles and other landmarks and just focus on getting that far. Once I got pretty close, I somehow found the strength to speed up and the last split ended up being 6:40 pace. Brian was near the finish and told me that I was probably fine but not to “put the brakes on”. I finished and really was a little woozy. My vision swam but I could tell I would be fine. After I got my chip clipped, I saw the two girls behind me finish up. They were 14 and 22 seconds behind me. The looks on everyone’s faces said it all. People were pale and drained and just looked spent. Like I said, there is one of these races every year.
Just before the turn around.

While I didn’t do great, I did good enough. I ran a 33:36 which is 6:46 pace. The only other 8k I’ve ever run was in 2002. I was actually able to find the results online and it was a 36:52 so this was a big PR even though it didn’t feel like it. I was 4th overall and the 3 ladies that beat me are typically quite a bit faster than I am so I beat everyone that I should have. It sucked hard though. I was not very happy out there so I’m hoping this will motivate me to work harder. From here until October, it is all short stuff thankfully.  The next race is the Arkansas 2 miler on 6/13 and the very next weekend is the Go! Mile.


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