I am pumped! I smashed my 13k PB by over 6 minutes! And Garmin tells me that I beat my best 10k effort by 3 minutes. The race results indicate that I finished 7th in my Age Group. I am not a competitive runner so it is always a Bonus to finish in the Top Ten. And all this was accomplished on a hilly route in incredibly windy conditions. And it felt good.
This is the second time that I have participated in this event and I think it will become an annual event for me. Five other people in my running group also took part in this race. It is great to be a part of such a supportive and encouraging group. (that’s me, in the green jacket, wearing glasses. )
Things I did right –
- Pre-race fuel. Healthy Carbs in the days leading up to the event
- Sleep , I was rested and ready
- Tapering. Easy short runs this week ( if you don’t count the Hills Reps on Wednesday)
- Warm Up ( brisk walk) prior to race
- Recovery Walk immediately the race
- Stretches immediately after the race
- Layering, damn near froze to death before race, but perfect for running
Things I did wrong-
- Hydration- in the days prior to the event
- Hydration – during the race
- Hydration – after the event
- Epsom Salt Bath – no time for this when I got home as I had a social engagement . The social engagement included lots of food, so that was a good compromise. And then I was too tired.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to play this one… my running group does 10:1’s and I adhere to that schedule when I am with them. When I run solo I run continuous, stopping only when my body says Stop. This is a hilly route and I expected my body to say ” stop” a few times. The wind was strong ( and cold) and I didn’t know how that would impact the run. I decided to just see how I felt when I got out there. I had no expectations, though I was hoping to finish faster than last year.
The first 4 or 5 km is mostly uphill and I made it to the top without stopping. When we got to the King William Highway I felt like I could continue this pace forever. even with that strong headwind… so I kept going. Strava tells me that this is mostly flat or downhill but my legs insisted that it is a long gradual incline. And there was someone on my heels the whole way. She was so close that I couldn’t see her when I turned my head but her shadow was running right beside me, and I could hear her breathe. I slowed so she would pass, and she slowed too. I sped up to get ahead but she sped up too. Then I forgot about her and just ran my race. I was pleased to see how effortlessly I was maintaining this pace and decided to just keep going. At the 10k mark I realized that I had beaten my previous 10k effort by at least 3 minutes. Go, me!
At the 12k mark there is an Uphill stretch where I decided to take my first Walk Break. I tried to run, but felt like puking halfway up. So I walked. And the lady who was drafting me passed me like I was standing still. And why not? She had conserved her energy by running in my wind shadow for most of the race. After a couple of minutes of walking I picked up my running pace and managed to run that last stretch. There is a huge Downhill stretch followed by one final Uphill just before the Finish Line. This time I was ready for the hill and killed it, finishing the course 6 minutes faster than my previous PB. Sweet!
It was even sweeter to see one of my running buddies complete her longest Race ever! She is training for her first HM in a few weeks and this hilly route was part of her training plan. Another lady in our group also PB’d on this course by a couple of minutes. When the results came in, we realized that I was 7th in my Age Group. And we also had a Birthday Girl with us so we certainly had lots to applaud. To that end we enjoyed a celebratory dinner at JJ’s Diner in Sussex.
Sometimes the best part of running is sharing the good times with friends. I can’t wait to do this one again.