Another weekend another race……
2015 has been race-packed so far – three down and it’s only April (not counting the one that I had to sit out back in February) – way more than I’d normally consider this early in the racing season. Saturday was the final race of the RUNSLC series. This year is the inaugural event and designed to get you half marathon ready (the SLC half is on April 18th) by building up to 5, 10 and 15K. I didn’t run the 5K on doctor’s orders but decided to volunteer instead and still managed to come away with some swag. The 10K was my first race
post mid-injury, and was my first taste of a return to fitness. Since then I’ve run a 10.5 mile long run, the Canyonlands half marathon and a 15 miler last weekend. Plus, my calf was feeling a million times better. So, in this race I was planning to avoid the sufferfest of the previous two.
Packet pickup was Friday at the running store (which is also where the races start and finish). It was quick and easy. The only bad thing was the chance of getting sidetracked by all the essential things that I absolutely need to buy in the store. New shoes! New clothes! Yes please! Luckily, I managed to survive with my credit cards intact.
So following on from my “Tell me it’s OK for me to run a marathon in 6 weeks time” post last week I decided I would do a Salt. In my case run to the start, do the race, and then run home. The race was scheduled to start at 8 AM, so I set my alarm for 6.40 AM, got dressed – including my new vest which I wore for the first time and loved – and had some water. I left the house at 7.10 AM and headed for a nice and easy 3 mile run to the start line. I forced myself to go as slow as I could but surprised myself by averaging a 9.13 min/mile pace. I arrived 20 minutes early so had time to eat my Gu (chocolate outrage, do some stretching and soak up some pre-race excitement.
I checked my gloves (which I regretted for the first two miles), North Face running jacket (right decision) and vest at the bag check – which is great option to have at such a small race. The courses for all of these races follows the same basic route – running along a quiet residential street to one of our local parks and then some loops or out and backs to add up to the distance. Not the most scenic route but flat and encompassing some of the actual route of the salt lake half marathon. I decided to go out comfortably and try to remember that I would have to run home afterwards so finish with something left in the tank.
One thing that I have been working on for the last year or so is getting better at pacing myself. I usually run by feel and only really look at my Garmin at the end of a mile to see what that equates to in minutes. My last two road races (my full in October and my last half in May) were both pretty evenly paced with negative splits. Trail races are still a sh*t show. My first mile ticked over at exactly eight minutes. I think that after all of the long runs I did as part of marathon training that I’m finally getting a better idea of how I should be feeling during the first mile of a race.
The race actually felt pretty comfortable for the whole way around – which was both a huge surprise and confidence boost. I was running side by side with an older lady who kept me on my toes for most of the race. We never actually spoke (hello weird social anxiety) but I felt that we had an unspoken acknowledgement that we were pushing each other to the finish. My splits were pretty even (8.00/8.09/8.08/8.02/7.54/7.52/7.55/8.15/7.59) and I finished in 1.13.20 (average 8.00 min/mile) which would be a new 15K PR if the race measured 15K. According to my Garmin it was only 9.15 miles which was a bit of a bummer, but I couldn’t be too mad given how well the race had gone for me.
As soon as I finished I was given another mug – yay something else to carry on my run home – and took some water and a donut hole for refueling. I stretched a little before going for a cool-down jog to bring that distance up to 10.00. They posted the results pretty speedily and amazingly I managed to come 9th woman overall and 3rd in my age group! So, I decided to stick around for the awards.
Then it was time to head home. And I’m not going to lie – getting started again was pretty hard. My body was a little tired – although my calf was quiet for the entire race – just a tight hip flexor that I’m keeping a close eye on. Three miles in the sunshine carrying my bag-o-tricks with a little hill right at the end. My mind was ready to be done but I made it to an even 16.0 miles for the day – those last three at 9.23 min/mile pace and with the entire distance at 8.44 min/mile. A good start to the weekend. And a good way to prepare for non-stop Easter eating and drinking!
How is your running going? Anyone race this weekend?