Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 Miler Training: The Final Week + The Race!

Week 16:

Well, it's finally the week of the race! This should be an easy week of running, with the hardest day being Tuesday (and obviously, the race itself). I had to alter the plan slightly, since the plan assumed a race day of Sunday, instead of Saturday. I also didn't want to do too much right before the race, and tire out my legs or feet.

Tuesday, March 25th:
This was the speediest portion of my training, but since the mileage was low, it felt like a break. I wasn't sure that I would be able to maintain my "5k pace" for a whole mile, and then repeat it, but I managed to do it. After that, the 400m at 3k pace felt really easy. 

Thursday, March 27th:
I went out on a nice, easy run. The weather was pretty good, so I took advantage of that and did the run outside. I planned on doing a 4 mile run, but miscalculated where I would have to go for it to equal 4 miles. It ended up being 3.67 miles, which was close enough for me. I was proud of my negative splits throughout, with the exception of that last 0.17 miles.

Friday, March 28th:
I met Joey at the AFC to do some stretching and light jogging. I jogged 1/2 mile on the indoor track, and then walked another 1/2 mile. Then I did a good 30 minutes of stretching, on a mat and using the foam roller. Once Joey was finished with his workout, we went to JPJ to pick up our race packets. I was a bit surprised once we got there - I was expecting to get a bag with goodies, including an actual race packet. We were just handed our bibs, and then the t-shirt. Also, the shirt was not a tech tee this year, but was a regular cotton shirt. It's really soft, which is nice, I was just surprised by that. There was no race packet - they had some printed out maps you could take, but nothing with information about the race, last year's winners, coupons, etc. I specifically remember last year that Joey got a packet. I think that the packet also helped build excitement for the race - you could look through at all of last year's winners, and read their mile by mile description of the course. There were also coupons for stores like Ragged Mountain Running, which wasn't the case this year. It would be one thing if they were trying to save paper, and emailed it out this year instead of printing for everyone, but that wasn't the case. I also was hoping they would be selling last year's shirts - usually they have them available for only $5. Oh well.

I spent a bunch of time that night prepping for the race, setting out everything that I needed, and trying to mentally prepare myself. I was really unhappy about the weather forecast - basically 100% rain from late Friday night through Sunday. The last race I ran (Richmond 8k) had rain, and I was not prepared for it at all. This time, I wasn't going to be happy about it, but I wanted to make sure I had a plan to protect my phone from getting soaked. Joey used a quart-sized ziploc bag, and cut small holes where my armband would go. I made him make two of them, so I would have a backup. For clothes, I was planning on wearing long running pants, a short sleeve shirt (the one I got from the Women's 4 Miler), and a lightweight longsleeve pullover (it has a zippered pocket in the bag that's perfect for stashing tissues, gum and gu chomps).

Saturday, March 29th: RACE DAY!!

I woke up at 6, and my nerves sunk in immediately. I looked out the window and was surprised to see that there was no rain, but figured it would be starting soon. I kept telling Joey over and over again that I just felt sick - my stomach was in knots, and I felt so anxious. I was so afraid that the leg pain that had been plaguing me would prevent me from finishing in a time I was proud of, or even finishing at all. I ended up bursting into tears during the drive over, and asked Joey if he wanted to switch places with me and run the race for me. Yes I know, that was extremely inconsiderate to ask the person who was dying to run the race, if he could, to run it for me.

I choked down most of a granola bar, as pre-race fuel, and then went on a short jog around the start. It worked out that going up and down the road in front of the arena was exactly 1/2 mile. The jogging helped ease some of the tension in my stomach, and did help loosen my legs. I still had about 15 minutes before the race started, so I had my GU with water, and walked over to the start. Since Joey had a bib, he was able to stay with me all the way until the gun went off.

I had all of my electronics set up - I had my audiobook paused so I could just press play on my headphones, I had Joey's garmin watch synced to satellites, and I had runkeeper going on my phone just in case. We had switched one of the settings on the watch - instead of giving me my current pace on the screen, and then pace for the last 1/2 mile, I wanted my overall pace. I didn't have a chance to test it out, so I had runkeeper going in case it didn't work the way I wanted. As soon as I started running and started up my audiobook, I realized that I was many chapters behind where I actually was. It was a bit annoying to re-listen to about 30 minutes of the book, but that gave me time to zone out and figure out what felt best with running.

The watch worked perfectly - the pace on the home screen was my average pace, and it still gave me my lap pace every 1/2 mile. I realized pretty quickly that runkeeper was ahead of the garmin in terms of distance, and the garmin seemed to be true to the actual mile markers setup. There weren't digital displays of the time since the gun at each mile, but they had someone with a stopwatch reading out times. They must have had to sync all of their watches, since some of the mile markers were way too far away to hear the start. I figured out that I was ~45 seconds behind the gun, based on the times they were reading.

I knew I had to start out incredibly slow in miles 1 and 2, and did manage to do this. I did mile 1 11:02.4, and mile 2 in 10:51.9. I started to feel better once I had passed a lot of hills, and picked up the pace to finish mile 3 in 10:21.5. I knew I would be seeing Joey soon after the 3 mile mark, and was so happy to see him at 3.25 miles. At this point, I was approaching the downhill portion of the race. I definitely picked up the pace, to complete mile 4 in 9:49.4 and mile 5 in 9:58.9. The course started to go uphill again at around 4.5 miles, once it hit the downtown mall. I knew the coming part would be difficult, once I got to the end of the mall, since it was both hilly and unfamiliar to me. I managed to keep it together, completing mile 6 in 10:02.9 and mile 7 in 10:15.3. Just before the 7 mile mark, I had two more GU chomps, and washed them down with some gatorade at a water stop. It took me about 10-15 seconds to do this, which shows that mile 7 was probably even a little faster than my time shows. They must have given me a lot of energy, since I completed mile 8 in 9:43.2. However, once I hit that mile marker, I ran into a block. I lost the energy that I gained in the previous mile, and just felt mentally drained. I stopped at the next water stop for some water, and then I saw Joey standing there! He gave me the push to quickly gulp down my water and keep moving. Even with that water stop, I finished mile 9 in 10:14.1. For the last mile, I really kicked up the pace, and finished that in just 9:11.7. I was surprised to see Joey again, right around 9.75 miles, to cheer for me to finish!

I will point out here that although the garmin watch was pretty reliable, I hit the mile 9 marker just slightly past when the watch told me that I had done 9 miles, and I finished the race with my watch reading 10.08 miles. I think that the total race distance was slightly more than 10 miles, since it's unlikely I did something in the last mile to add that much distance. All of the paces I have mentioned above are for the garmin miles, and I finished that last 0.08 in 0:38. This leaves me with two numbers for my "overall pace," the one that uses the garmin distance, and the one that assumes the race was an even 10 miles. My garmin pace was 10:08 min/mile, and my race pace was 10:12 min/mile. Starting out my training plan, my initial goals were 10:30 pace, then 10:00 pace, then 9:30 pace, in order of easy goal, moderate goal, difficult goal. Once I started having a lot of calf pain in the last month of my training, I decided I had to adjust my goals to: finish the race, under 10:30, under 10:00. I am happy to say that I accomplished the first two goals! I also achieved a negative split when comparing my second half of the race to my first half. According to the timing system, I did the first 5 miles in 52:02, and the second 5 miles in 50:01. I think that's something to be proud of.

For my final results, I finished 131/207 in my division (females 25-29), 671/1142 for women, and 1322/1952 overall.

Oh and lastly, IT NEVER RAINED!!! I was so thrilled that throughout the whole race, it was nice and cool, albeit incredibly humid. Once I had finished, picked up race food, and got into the car, it started raining. It rained the entire rest of the day. I can't ask for better timing than that.

Also, pictures are supposed to be posted tomorrow - I will definitely try to put some of them here! I tried to make some kind of triumphant pose while going through the finish line - we'll see how that worked out.

100% humidity - yikes!