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injury debacle! Also, it was my first 10K race--love that automatic PR. :) I registered for this race ages ago with an early registration discount through my gym...at that time, I thought a 10K would be no problem! I had just run my first half marathon and already had my eyes set on a second one (or two). Well, after the injury nonsense, things kind of changed. :) As the race got closer I realized that 6.2 miles was going to be a little more challenging for me than I'd anticipated months ago! I have been increasing my distance and building up a solid running base, but had been stuck in a rut of 3 and 4 mile runs. During the week of the race, to make things more interesting, my hip flexors became the most tight, painful muscles ever thanks to a couple particularly grueling strength training and yoga classes. Then, the temperature dropped and the winds picked up. Yikes! I was determined to run this race though, mostly because I have already wasted over $100 this year in race registrations, and damnit I am not wasting another dollar!!! The night before when everyone I knew was out at Halloween parties, I curled up in bed with True Blood (my latest TV addiction) and pasta...
To be followed by dairy-free chocolate ice cream with bananas. The ultimate pre-run dessert. :)
Unable to convince anyone (icluding my parents) to wake up early on a nasty cold morning post-Halloween parties to come to the race with me, I drove myself to Big City and caught this glorious sunrise over the lake. I decided to take it as a good omen for the rest of the morning! Since it was chilly and windy out, after I picked up my packet I killed time sitting in my car watching The Office on my phone (thank YOU netflix instant!), having decided that staying warm was more important than stretching out my legs...I stand by my choice.
Unfortunately, that sunrise was the only beautiful part of the race! The sky was gray and cloudy the whole time. I've run several 5Ks on this lakefront course, and normally it is gorgeous running along and seeing the waves and boats on the lake (the closest thing we in the Midwest get to an ocean view!). Today the lakefront path just meant extra winds! Yikes! I tried to start the race conservatively, knowing my legs weren't at their best still and that it would be a challenge to get through. My legs just didn't want to go slow, though, so I set off quicker than planned. The first 3.5 miles or so felt great!
Turns out most of the runners were running the 5K course, so after 3 miles the runners were really spaced out. There were a few times I couldn't even see anyone else, which felt weird because this wasn't a small town race. I kept plugging along though, slow and steady, until I felt that familiar pain on the outside of my knees around mile 4...yep, my pesky IT bands were awake and unhappy. I normally run just three days a week, Tuesday, Thursday, and once on the weekend. Because of those tight hips after yoga, I skipped my Thursday run this week, and anytime I take even a couple days of hiatus, my IT bands tighten right up--I should have known. Oh well! I stopped to stretch the ITs a few times during those last 2 miles, walked a little extra, but just kept moving forward trying to ignore the knees and how incredibly badly I had to pee. (No woods to dive off into at a city race...)
At mile 6 I found some energy left to sprint to the finish, and finished strong. Somehow despite the IT band pain at the end and the extra walking, I managed to finish the race with negative splits. Don't know how, but I'll take it! I think I must have programmed my legs to, no matter what, speed up as I run. I'm not sure how else to explain the accidental pacing! I finished in 1:09:27, an average page of 11:03/mi. (<--This is fast for me as slow as it might sound for most of you!) I'm happy with how this race turned out, despite the pain--it just felt good to race a distance longer than a 5K again! I really loved the 10K distance, and will definitely be looking for more 10Ks next season!
From the race website: This isn't a gimmicky, glamorous, trendy run through the woods with a couple man- made mud pits. The Challenge is an authentic, european-style, 4.9 mile cross country race featuring natural bogs, streams, open fields and rolling hills.
Mrs. Mentor Teacher ran it last year and told me that many runners duct tape their shoes on so they don't come off on the muddy trails! Yikes! Can't wait. :)
Any more races on the calendar for you this fall/winter?