This weekend I took part in a local Valentines Race for the 3rd year. It’s a really fun race– it’s the unofficial kickoff to the racing season here, has a really, really fun and pretty course and is generally a good time. I had little to no expectations for myself for this race since I’ve been hurt and only training hard for a few weeks but was looking forward to seeing all my running friends and getting a hard effort out. Plus, I had new shoes to run in (LungarGlides, review soon…)
I got there nice and early and the weather was perfect– 55 degrees, sunny and beautiful. February in California is such a tease– we always get 2 weeks of gorgeous weather making me think it’s spring and then it goes right back to raining. But, the break is nice and I’m not going to complain when it was 70 yesterday! I warmed up with friends and lined up at the start. The gun went off and so did we!
I’m doing a new thing this year– no ipod for races or long runs. It’s nice being alone with my thoughts on long runs (although I’m usually with people) and I just think it’s not the best thing for racing– I’m starting to enjoy soaking up the race environment and focusing on what’s going on in my body. It’s a little different and is definitely taking some getting used to, but I think it’s a positive change.
I tried really hard not to go out too last but looked down and saw 6:15 pace. Yeah, bad Amy! So I pulled back and tried to keep my effort pushing it, but not yet anaerobic. I went through the first mile in 7:30 which was about perfect– I was aiming for 7:30 pace. After about a mile and a half my legs got really heavy. I could tell I was slowing down and I started to mentally collapse.
Mile 2 is kind of a blur– I just remember that some lady was running with her dog and the dog and the lady were panting really loud which was annoying the heck out of me. After Mile 2 I started to get really hot– I was sweating like crazy and starting to hurt. And, I’m not proud of this but around Mile 2.1 I think I gave up mentally.
I can tell that I’m rusty at short distances after all the marathon training and I’ve lost my ability to suffer and push. I kept telling myself I could recover a little bit and then speed back up, but the fact of the matter is that in slow races you do not have time to slow down! Miles 3-4 go by some really beautiful houses which I enjoyed but I did not enjoy all the suffering in my lungs and legs!
Finally, I rounded a corner and ran as hard as I could to the finish. I finished with a 7:50 pace and about 50 seconds slower than last year. Sad! I was not happy with my time, but I had such a good time before and after the race and even during that I don’t think I really mind. I always want to do my best and I always want to PR, but that is not always going to happen– especially not when you’re recovering from an injury.
There is a time and a place to be really hard on yourself for doing poorly in a race. This isn’t it. Sure, I’d like to be faster and yes, I’m bummed that I’ve regressed a little bit but when I consider that I’ve really only been running hard for 3 weeks and was on the sidelines before that, I don’t mind as much. Being inured and forced to do other things made me grateful that I could even get out there and run at all. Even if it was slow and painful.
Overall, fun day, fun race and I enjoyed myself.
This morning I woke up and met some friends for an easy-ish 13 miles along the river. It was a little weird– some spots were really foggy and cold and others were sunny and warm but I felt surprisingly decent and enjoyed being out there once again.
Hopefully everything will start clicking again soon. I’m doing what I need to do and I know with a little patience and a lot of hard work, I’ll be back!