Today I took part in the Buffalo Stampede here in Sacramento. This race is not only part of the Buzz Oates year-long race series I’m doing but it’s also one of the races that many, many local runners use as a tune-up for CIM. I was a little apprehensive going into today’s race. I haven’t run at Marathon Pace for an extended period of time since the 1/2 I did in March and was very, very curious how my legs are holding up with the increased mileage. Luckily this came at the end of a lower mileage week, but I felt weird all day yesterday. I had a huge knot in my right glute that was pulling on my IT band and causing me a fair amount of pain. I rolled, rolled, rolled, took some Aleve and hoped for the best. And yes, I know about the NY Times article and the NSAIDs and yes I know they’re questionable, but I couldn’t sleep.
Annnnnnyway. I woke this morning feeling pretty good. I did the usual: oatmeal, soymilk and coffee and got ready to go. I was all about the fast shorts, racing flats and tank top for this race. By some glorious fate the weather was perfect– in the 50s, breezy and even a little overcast! I did this race last year and was sweating before I even started running so this was awesome!
I got to the race and met up with Aron and Tara (thanks for the Pfitz book! more on this later!) and did a warm up. Plus about a zillion porta potty visits because I’m totally paranoid. I felt fantastic during my warm up. Normally I’m super stiff and tired when I warm up and have a hard time feeling good but I was running between marathon and threshold pace with almost no effort. I thought to myself, “this is my day.”
So… we lined up, heard some fuzzy announcements (gatorade or something? unclear) and were off! This course is pancake flat and has very few turns– perfect. As I ran I had Aron in my sights but homegirl was booking! So I decided to run my own race and back off a bit. It was a little windy, but since it was keeping me cool, I was down with it. I settled into an 8:10ish pace and felt great. Particularly in comparison to last year when I entertained thoughts of cheating on every out and back 🙂
I came through the 5th mile almost without realizing it and took a gu at mile 6. I don’t think I really needed it, but I wanted practice taking it while running. Success! No spillage or pukeage! My original plan was to descend by 5 secs/mile after mile 6 but uh, did not happen. I just kept it steady. FYI that’s much easier said than done! Around mile 8 I got annoyed when I realized my shoe was untied and I had to stop. But I picked it right back up and kept going back and forth with the people in front of, and behind me.
And then… mile 9. Ugh, I hated you mile 9. I started to feel like crap and to feel sorry for myself. And then, I saw a lady with 1 leg and prosthesis with Isaiah 40:31 written on the back of her shirt. It reads, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” I was so impressed with this woman’s courage that I told myself to shut up and keep running. If she can run with 1 leg and have a great attitude then I have no reason to be pissy. I picked it up and ran the last 1/2 mile in 7:30 pace for around a 1:22 finishing time.
My time wasn’t quite as quick as I’d hoped, but with 12 weeks to go, I’ll take 10 miles at marathon pace. I felt a little nauseated at the end but not crazy. Just like I’d done a long, tough tempo workout. Do you think that’s maybe because that’s what I did? haha. I shook the hand of the guy I’d been back and forth with and he gave me a nice compliment about being a “tough tiger.” Apparently he was listening to my breathing and I operate at a very high heart rate… oops. I was totally that annoying heavy breather. Sorry!!
I’m happy with how I did mentally too– I was able to stay focused the entire time and actually have some fun. I never have fun in races that I’m racing. They’re always hard. But this time I enjoyed myself in the middle 4-5 miles. They flew by! That’s encouraging too. There are some things I can work on, but overall I’m pretty happy with today. Plus it was so fun to meet Aron and Tara! They’re so fun and encouraging and I can’t wait to race with them some more!
70 miles this week. Ugggh. This includes a 2.5 hour run some day before work. I asked 2 different coaches if today could count as a long run and they both told me no, you need to do a real long run at easy pace. Apparently they stress 2 different systems in your body and you need both. Basically I was told, “if you want to run with the big girls, you have to train like them.” So that’s what I do. But today was a perfect start and confidence booster to my week.