Ever since I crossed the finish line of a successful-but-not-fulfilling Seattle Half I’ve been looking forward to this race. A good opportunity to redeem my racing self, a fun opportunity to race with a few friends, and delicious team brunch as a post-race reward. Perfect Sunday. I stayed wary after Seattle and didn’t register too far out, but my foot has stayed healthy so I’ve been training to truly try to race this event. And that I did!
I was really grateful for a late race start this morning. The rain was forecasted to lighten and clear 30 minutes prior to the gun firing, and honestly, I’ve just been tired lately! I don’t have a problem racing in the rain (well, at least not for a 12k), but the past couple weeks getting out of bed has been the biggest battle of the day. Last night I was enjoying couch time so much I suddenly realized it was passed my bedtime (10pm!) and I just didn’t feel like rushing. I was also happy to wake up and have a leisurely breakfast with coffee and some household chores before heading out for the day. Yeah, athletes have to empty dishwashers, too. 😦
I suited up and off to Kirkland we went!
As usual we were one hundred years early, just how I like it, so I had plenty of time to warm up in the car, pee more times than necessary, then re-hydrate only to pee more. With 30 minutes left to go I went out into the cold and rain (weather forecast = NOT correct), and circled the area for a warm-up in. All the while knowing that by the time I started I’d be cold again anyway. My warm-up got cut short anyway once I saw how long the line for the bathrooms was! But while I was waiting I spotted my coach and a few friends so I had company while the line inched forward slowly. Well, actually they spotted me thanks to my favorite neon shirt!
And then I peed. And then we waited for the 5k to start. And then we waited more because they had to tow a car that was parked illegally and in the way. And then the 5k started. And all the while I got really really cold, like could feel the individual hairs on the back of my neck cold, and then we finally got to enter the corrals. And then, we ran!
12k // Time: 52:08 // 6:56 min/mi
I’m going to start this part by saying that I am very proud of this race for a few reasons.
First and foremost I followed the plan, which included: Don’t look at your Garmin, go out fast and without fear, and push yourself past where you’ve been. Running fast is a different kind of tired and pain than running long, and it’s something I’m not accustomed to. It’s also something I don’t consider myself good at. When the gun went off I ran and I didn’t let myself or other runners hold me back. I tried to operate on omigod this is hard omigod this is hard omigod this is hard keep going keep going keep going for the whole 12k, and maintained that feeling rather than viewing my pace and measuring performance from that data.
Secondly, sub 7 minute miles? For 12k? I remember not that long ago when running one single mile in less than 8 minutes was VICTORY for me. I can now acknowledge that I’m a better than average runner, but I don’t consider myself to be fast. But I do smile a huge smile at the thought of that progress… I’m getting faster! And I have numbers to back up the progress: Though my pace was significantly faster, my average heart rate was lower than my previous 12k.
And most importantly, I had fun. I donned Christmas socks and lined up with antler-wearing crazies in 42 degree misting rain and I ran uphill. And it was awesome. The misting rain and running uphill is actually not abnormal, but Christmas socks? Who am I? And enjoying antlers and Christmas tututs (question: what do tutus have to do with Christmas?)? Normally out of the question. But I embraced the holiday cheer and went with it, and found myself among one of my favorite types of people: my fellow crazies. And we ran and it was fun.
Today makes me look forward to my next 5 races even more than I already was. They’re another chance to push myself and see what I can do and to soak in the race environment. And, another chance for a race-day video! What race day video, you might ask? Well stay tuned. Because one is coming, and it’s going to be awesome.