Although my main focus for the year is on triathlons, I still use running to measure my progress. My background is in running and I still like to see if I can pick up a few more PR's (that's "Personal Record" for you non-runners) each year.
I chose to do the Get Lucky 7K as a stepping stone to measure my progress in my attempt for a 10K PR. I ran a 5K last month and I will run a 10K next month. I figured a 7K would be the perfect test of my progress between those two races.
Pre-RaceFriday was The Captain's annual March Madness party. The usual Ragbrai team was there with a few other friends and spouses mixed in. Very little basketball was watched but a shit load of Coors Light was consumed. Friday night's party was bitter sweet as it was the final party at the River Residence. The Captain and his family are moving out of their current house on River Road and heading to the 'burbs in a couple of days. I think we are all a little bummed that the Captain won't be a part of the neighborhood crew any more.
I never sleep well the night before a race. Even a half dozen beers couldn't help me there. I woke up at 3:45 and the ceiling was spinning. Not good. Thank God I wasn't taking Saturday's race seriously because I was going to be seriously hung over.
Race DayI woke up at 8am for my usual pre-race oatmeal and coffee. My husband and I agreed we would leave the house at 9am since the race started at 10am. At 8:56, I was still trying to get my husband's ass out of bed. He had had an equal amount of fun the night before and was equally as hung over. I thought about Maria's recent blog post about her great sherpa and decided that my husband needs to be demoted from sherpa duties. He sucks.
I was quite surprised when my husband finally did get up. Based on the fact that he was trying to play dead when I was shaking him and telling him to get up, I would have bet money that he was going to try to whine his way out of going.
I was a little annoyed that we were running 25 minutes late, but it turned out to be OK. This was a Team Ortho-sponsored event. I can't help but rave about Team Ortho. These are people who know how to run an event! As I approached the starting corral, a guy on a load speaker announced there were 20 minutes left until the gun went off and port-o-potties were located at the end of the starting corral. Perfect! That's exactly what I needed to know! I headed off to the bathrooms and found a sea of port-o-potties with NO LINES! You know the race is set up well when there are 3,000 people and enough bathrooms that even 20 minutes before gun-time there are no lines!
I did a quick 10 minute warm-up run and a few striders to get my heart rate up. My legs felt awesome. My stomach did not. This could be interesting. For some reason, I tend to race really well when I'm hung over. I hoped today would be another of those races.
After my warm-up, I concentrated on trying to not puke in the starting corral. I considered lining up with 8 minute mile group and just running the race slow, but figured I should probably put a little more effort into it. I lined up a little behind the 7 minute mile group.
The gun went off and so did we. The race course followed the river and was pretty much entirely flat. I was actually feeling pretty good. I crossed the 1st mile mark in 7:02. I was pleased with that but my first mile always tends to be a little fast. I decided the next couple of miles would really determine how I was going to do.
The course was marked at each 1K as well as each mile. It made the race seem to go by a lot faster since I was keeping both splits. We climbed a hill across a bridge and then raced down the other side to the 2 mile marker. I crossed at 7:05. Still on pace.
The next mile felt like it was slightly uphill, the kind of uphill that you can't really see but can feel in your legs. I kind of got lost in the scenery at that point but crossed the 3 mile mark in 7:05 again. At this point, I started laughing. I was running really well. My 5K split was actually 5 seconds faster than the 5K race I ran last month!
We turned onto a cobble-stone street. I hate cobble-stone. Sure, it's pretty, but I spent the next 7 minutes watching my every step so as not to trip or roll an ankle. I started day-dreaming for awhile and then remembered that I was supposed to be racing. I picked up the pace since I usually slow down when I'm not concentrating. I crossed the 4 mile mark in 6:56! I guess I didn't slow down as much as I thought!
We were now on the Stone Arch Bridge and I could see the finish line 400 meters ahead. I took off and found the finish line did not seem to be getting any closer. I was starting to hurt. I wasn't sure if I could hold onto my kick the entire way. There really wasn't anyone around me to try to catch or avoid getting caught by, so I just tried to hold my speed.
I crossed the finish line in 30:33 with a 7:02 per mile average pace. That's a faster pace than my last race and right on par for a 10K PR! I finished 8th of 435 in the 25-29 age group and 16th of 1722 females.
ConclusionAt one point of my life, I decided I was going to take athletics seriously and see what my body could do if I fueled it properly and trained it properly. I gave up drinking any alcohol, ate perfectly, and trained well. I did that for 9 months and then ran the worst marathon of my life.... by over an hour!!!
My current Olympic-distance triathlon PR was set when I was hung over. I ran my fastest pace at this race and I was extremely hung over. It could be that alcohol has secret powers beyond making ugly people seem attractive, or it could be that I have no expectations when I'm hung over.
Whatever the reason, I think I need to drink before every race!