Going into the race I was thinking that I'd really like to break 20:00, but I quickly realized that a sub-20 at my current fitness level was probably a little ambitious, especially considering the big hill in the first mile followed by two more not so flat miles. On second thought I decided that I'd be happy with anything faster than the 20:38 I ran at Volkslaufe on July 4th.
I did mention there is a big hill in the first mile, right? And the other hills? Yes, two sentences ago. Well, that's about how long it took me to forget that fact once the race started and I went blasting out at 5:58. That whole first mile I was watching my friends Tammy and Sue, both super fit right now, up ahead of me thinking that I was waaaay too close to them. I hit the first mile marker just past the top of the hill, did a mental face palm, and dialed it back. The surprising part of it all was that I didn't feel completely spent from my first sub-6 mile post-baby. I did pay for that (still astoundingly stupid) first mile with a side stitch the rest of the race, but I actually felt strong coming off the hill (apparently all those hills I've been running in my parents' neighborhood when my mom can watch the little scamp for me are paying off. And by the way, he sat up in bed this morning for the first time! I watched it happen on the monitor and when I went into his room, there he was, sitting up in his crib, smiling, all "what took you so long, mommy.")
One thing I've always noticed about coming back from a long break is that it takes me a long time and a lot of training and racing to get back any sense of what pace I'm running. That 5:58 mile? I was prepared to see a fast first mile time due to the alarming lack of distance between myself and Tammy and Sue, but without those two to gage off of, I could have been running a 6:30 for all I knew. I have no innate feel for pace right now. Which is why when I dialed it back for the second mile, I unintentionally dialed it back a little too much and hit the second mile in 6:38. Felt a lot faster than that to me. Oops. On the plus side, an inadvertently sandbagged mile allowed me to pick it back up for a fast finish. I hit the third mile mark in 6:08 to round out some seriously all over the place splits (and this time I can't blame it on messed up mile markers). Add in the change and my final time was 19:28. Really? REALLY! I was second in my Age Group, good for an awesome Mizuno running hat (Erin always has the best AG awards), and 9th overall female. It was a very fast field, including a 13 year old phenom who ran 18:22 for 4th place (I swear they're growing girls faster these days).
|My new favorite post-race pose|
Up next is the Crim 10 Mile on August 22. This, on the other hand, is maybe a little absurd. Maybe not. My long run is up to 10 miles, which I've done the past three Sundays, including today. I'll do 12 milers the next two weekends (complicated post-baby running schedule permitting) and hopefully I'll be ready for a reasonably strong race on the 22nd. It's a tough course, though, and more often than not it falls on a really hot day. I have to remember that I did have a baby seven months ago, I've only been running for four of those, and a 10 mile is a whole other ball of wax than a 5K. If I go out too fast in a 5K there's generally not all that much race left to suck it up and finish. Go out too fast in a 10 mile, especially one that doesn't get hilly until halfway through, and I could be seriously screwed.