I woke up at 5:45 am on Saturday morning (race day). Lucky me, I was blessed by the higher being that decides that me, and several of my friends (after exchanging texts in the early morning) would be racing during 'that time of the month'. I know, T.M.I but it is important that I disclose that fact in my race report because my race day morning was not ideal. Having said that, I have to admit that GIRLS ROCK and guys have no idea what we go through on a monthly basis. Sure, there are plenty of research studies showing performance enhancements during specific parts of the menstrual cycle but that doesn't mean that it is fun. Blah! Ladies...I'm sure I'm not alone here and guys, thanks for putting up with us :)
So, as far as my normal pre-race breakfast, not-so-much. I didn't want to stomach anything and running fast was the last thing on my mind. If I wasn't racing, I would have chosen an easy long run or bike but a 15K, hoping for a PR.... Ughhh. I managed to start with my normal coffee (thank you Karel for making an awesome pot of coffee) and a piece of toast w/ a little PB and Jelly. I sipped on a bottle of water on the way to the race and 1/2 scoop heed (in a plastic bottle) before race start.
I arrived to the race around 7:20, after sitting in traffic to accommodate the 13,000+ runners and it was COLD. The sun peaked out of the clouds here and there but with the wind, it was a chilly morning.
I went to the bathroom a zillion times and said hi to many familiar faces. This is my 2nd Gate River run but just as exciting as the first time.
The Gate River Run is the largest 15K in the US and is recognized as the USA 15K Championships. I think there were 6 Olympians this year, but maybe there were more.
I was able to receive a seeded number in the BLUE zone based on my time from last year of 1:08.50 (which was a PR). Thank goodness I was seeded this year, compared to last because the crowd of people was endless.
I warmed up for a few minutes by jogging around in an empty parking lot but all I wanted to do was get this race started. I figured a PR was not in my future because I was so worried about my BLAH feeling. Also, with my on-and-off leg problem (Piriformis syndrome) I am never sure how I will perform at my max. I have had several great runs in the past few weeks but I can never be 100% confident that my leg will not suddenly go weak and cause me to stop (typically, I just have to stop, walk for 10-15 sec. and then I am good for another mile or so).
The gun went off at 8:30am and we were off running. Typically, the first mile of a running event is fast but for me, I was surprised I wasn't running faster. I assumed it was just a preview of how I would perform for the day...not as fast as I would have liked. However, within that first mile I was feeling better than I thought. I am not one to not give 100% (there is never a B or C race for me. Every race is an A-important race) so I knew I had to just give it my all and hope for the best.
My garmin went off before the first mile marker but because I was watching my average mile pace on my watch, I paid attention to my Garmin and not the mile markers w/ clocks.
The 2nd mile included a bridge and I always look forward to inclines. I do much better on "rolling" courses compared to flat courses so any opportunity to run with a slight incline is welcomed by my quads.
I saw my good friend Mallory around mile 3 and she was looking strong. My other good friend Katrine and her hubby Ryan, as well as Laura were out on the course, and my friend Libby, so I guess you could say that we all wanted a personal best for the day.
I was feeling really good for the first 3 miles and mile 3 was one of my fastest. I felt like I was able to continue this effort but wasn't sure for how long. Well, my question was answered around mile 6. I was getting really tired and felt like I couldn't keep my pace. I was just exhausted and almost considered walking. I decided to slow down a bit at the end of mile 6 for 30 seconds and take mile 7 a bit easier. After a few minutes of running easier at mile 7 I was ready to pick up the pace again.
My 7 went by fast because I knew the big bridge was coming around mile 8. I wasn't sure if I should hold back during mile 7 in order to save myself for the Hart Bridge or if I should run fast in mile 7 because my pace would drop when I ran up the bridge. Well, I decided to just try to keep my pace before the bridge and just focus on being steady up the bridge.
I felt great (more like 'OK') up the bridge but it was windy. I was passing several people but of course, I was being passed on the way down. I am not a good downhill runner. My breathing was heavy and I was really pushing hard up the bridge. I looked at my watch and with a little over .5 mile to go I knew I had to give it my all to have a PR and possible reach my goal time. Because my Garmin was showing me that the course was long I decided to just pay attention to my Garmin.
The last .4 miles were long. The finish line just didn't come. I was huffing and puffing through the finish line chute and in Marni-fashion, I was smiling the whole time. I was thinking to myself how bad this race hurt and when I crossed the line, boy did it show. Luckily, no leg pain. No stomach issues and no bonking. However, racing 9.4 miles at 100% (110%, if that is possible) for me is not enjoyable. The race hurt, every mile got harder and harder and I was hot from the start. Even with 3 aid stations to cool me with water, I was toasted at the finish.
Running fast is not my style. However, when I want something I will go after it. Before I sign up for a race, I think about my training. After I sign up for a race, I am 100% committed to that race and performing my best. Therefore, I push myself and focus on quality workouts (not 'junk' workouts) in an effort to prepare for the race. Then I set a goal based on my training. I tend to set ambitious goals for myself compared to previous races but I have to trust my training. Since racing nutrition is never a concern for me, I train my body for how I want it to perform. Sure, my philosophy for setting goals doesn't always work but it is sure nice when it does.
As for the 2010 Gate River Run 15K.....I set a PR! A whole 3 minute PR!!!
Here's the stats (according my Garmin):
Mile 1: 6:44
Mile 2: 7:01
Mile 3: 6:30
Mile 4: 6:44
Mile 5: 6:44
Mile 6: 6:52
Mile 7: 7:05
Mile 8: 7:10 (up the bridge)
Mile 9: 7:27
.47: 3:05 (6:34 min/mile pace)
Average pace: 6:54 min/mile
Finish time: 1:05.25
25-29 age group: 23rd out of 1205
Overall Place: 431 out of 13341
(Thanks Kellie for the pic...I sure hope there are better ones of me. I promise, I have better running form than I do during the last 100 meters of the race :)
(thanks Tyler for the great pics!)