After a season of hot, humid and uncomfortable race conditions I think the curse is now broken. I was so excited to wake up on Saturday to find it cool and not even 50F yet, but I had forgotten how to dress for this weather. After a season of bad races, I was happy to finally enter a small races, less than 400 runners without pacers, and best yet I had gotten a free entry. We made the 1 hour drive to the start of the small town race and I debated what to wear, deciding to line up with arm warmers and a jacket which I soon regretted but luckily got rid of by 2 miles.
|Cold enough for arm warmers!|
I could bore you with my mile splits, but all that would show is that in typical race fashion I went out too fast, couldn’t keep up the pace and finished less then I hoped. Instead I will keep it short and sweet and ask for a little advice. The course was rolling hills, nothing huge but nonstop and on top of that many sections with slanted road, ugh!
The race abruptly began, National Anthem and then “go” without warning. I started running telling myself not to go out too fast but hoping to run a good race. Mile 1: 6:57 & Mile 2: 701 uh oh, once again too fast. This is about where I see the “You’re almost done sign”, what, I don’t consider 11 miles left almost done! I decided since it had been 3 hours since breakfast to start early with a gel and soon learned how tough it is to drink out of a Styrofoam cup while running, really who thought that made sense at a race?! I finally got into a more realistic pace and then the hills began and I pushed, let’s make this hill training pay off…as I kept between a 7:10-7:25 pace but kept trying to get away from annoying runner near me. I named this man pilates runner, you know the noisy exhaling that is done in pilates well imagine that with every breath as you run. And even worse he could not run in a straight line, every time I tried passing he swerved, finally 6 miles in I lost him behind me for good.
Things were going okay, I had settled into a decent 7:15-:7:30 pace, although I would have liked a little faster but I knew my sore glute couldn’t push more. I decided to finish my gel about Mile 8 as I was informed I was the 3rd woman, just keep this up and you will be fine although I knew there was another woman not too far back. About ½ mile later I found out how close she really was as she passed, looking strong I knew she was running smarter then I had (she ended up in 2nd). I kept her in my sight and soon saw another woman in front of me, both within ¼ mile. I tell myself just run your own race and don’t focus on them. This is one of my toughest parts, since I have starting placing in these races I have a tough time just running and not aiming to compete with others and making it about winning and not my race. After a couple hilly, tougher miles and 7:40 pace I am finally picking it back up by Mile 10 and still hoping for under 1:37, knowing a PR is out of reach. Cue GI issues, without fail within a few miles of finishing a gel my belly starts a rebellion.
I am soon reminded of the small town farm world as I turn the corner and see a cow grazing at Mile 11. After a short uphill run I turn and see the school knowing the finish is near, I soon hear someone telling me to push to the finish as I hit the top of a hill and see it ahead of me. Go, I am saying…And done 1:37:35 Good for 4th woman and 2nd place Age Group and a medal.
Now my needed advice: How do you convince yourself to start slow? Yes, even after 20 marathons and countless other races I fail at this every time, I think in hopes of starting fast and staying at that pace. I need fueling suggestions for rebellious GI systems. Through the years I have tried, sports drink, gels, chews and “real food”. I have issues digesting refined sugars and the drinks and most gels are bad. Pretzels and dried fruit have seemed okay but I lack the electrolytes without also adding Nuun which is fine for training but I hate racing with a fuel belt since it irritates my back. Help me figure out a better answer in the next 6 weeks before TCM.