Location: Richmond, VA Date: 11/10/12 Temperature: 38 degrees Official Time: 41:00 Place in Age Group: 23/369 Place in Gender: 128/2264 Overall Place: 480/3587
Fast and flat. Out and back.
This 8K course takes a straight shot up Broad St., which has a gentle grade, for the for the first two miles of the course. Just after mile 2, participants turn left and make their way over one block to Grace St., where they head back towards the finish. Runners are greeted with a the only climb of the course at mile four. It is smooth sailing after that, as the course flattens out and turns right onto 3rd street where the runners are greeted with a steep downhill into the finish.
(Note: This has been and will continue to be my favorite course in Richmond.)
The Course: I love this course. It is PR friendly and easy to navigate. And the downhill finish is KILLER. And since they changed the finish this year to an even steeper downhill, it's better than it's ever been.
My Pace (initially): I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this race. My run volume is down significantly from the last time I ran an 8K (20 miles per week now vs. 50 miles per week in 2010). I knew I could probably finish comfortably with a pace between 8:00 and 8:20, but I would have preferred to run sub-40. Honestly, I wasn't even sure if I was going to attempt to race until I got to the start line and then I wasn't really convinced. I decided to just run hard and see what happened.
Things started out well.
Mile 1: 7:45 Mile 2: 7:53
Two miles in and I was actually two seconds ahead of my pace from my 8K PR. That's when the wheels fell off. I have had a deep cough for about a week and a half. Once I got warmed up, things started moving around and I started hacking. So much so, that I couldn't run and cough at the same time. I am positive that I left part of my lung on the course.
Mile 3: 8:28 Mile 4: 8:54
Once I hit the mile 4 sign, I just told myself I could do anything for a mile and I hauled it in.
Last 0.99: 7:57
I finished at exactly 41 minutes with an average pace of 8:15. Right where I assumed I would be.
Racing with my sister: Can I just mention how much I love that my sister is a runner? It took me years to convince her to join in, but now that she has, it's pretty much the best thing ever.
Pre-race, not really feeling it
With a post-race glow ...
My Music Selection: For the first time in pretty much FOREVER, I changed my race playlist. And then, I set it to random before I ran. Yet, somehow, the PERFECT songs came on at the PERFECT moments. I was pumped throughout the race and there was a song during every mile that reminded me to push myself.
The Weather: It was 38 degrees at the start of my race. And I dressed perfectly for it. By the end of the race, I was warm, but not overheated. In fact, I wouldn't have minded if it was a little colder.
The Race Length: Even with all the coughing, this race reaffirmed to me that the 8K is my favorite race distance. I love it and wish it was offered more often.
Missed Alarm: Since J was traveling and Gina was also running, I had to wake my kids up crazy early to take them to Earth Momma Mer's house. The plan was to get up at 5 a.m., get ready and then wake the girls at the last possible minute. Unfortunately, I failed to wake when my alarm went off. When I sprung out of bed at 5:30, just 10 minutes before we needed to be out the door, I found out that Gina wasn't up either. Obviously, we weren't really stressing about this race ...
My Mental Game: Despite the fact that this my favorite race, I really wasn't feeling it going in. I considered taking a DNS on multiple occasions prior to and including race morning. I knew I could run five miles, but I didn't feel like I could race five miles as hard as I would have liked to. And racing without giving it your all doesn't really sit well with me.
Considering that I already didn't feel strongly about this race, I also didn't really care if I had to stop to cough up a lung. Had I felt really prepared heading in, I may have tried harder to run through the cough. Basically, I was just disappointed in where my head was at. However, I did leave feeling like I wanted to up my mileage and get back on track.
My Cough: I can not stress how bad must have looked along the course. My cough was (and kind of still is) deep and loud. And I was spitting out gunk left and right. I feel bad for anyone who happened to run near me. I am sure they are convinced that they were going to catch some sort of deadly infectious disease.