This year I finally signed myself up for the Papa John's 10 miler and ran it as myself, instead of scrounging for a bib last minute, or not so last minute. It lined up perfectly with my training plan that called for a tempo run of 10 miles at a 7:49mi/mile pace. I've been struggling with the tempo runs this entire training plan (and last year too), so racing one is always good motivation to do better. Its like I need the adrenalin or excitement of a race to be able to fight through these runs. This race is only $30, and you get a Nike drifit shirt and chip timing. Its a total deal! There is no medal, BUT, there is free Papa John's pizza at the end, which for me, is way better!
This winter has been hard on me. Last year, in training, I was nailing every workout (except the tempo runs). This year, so much indoor running seemed to hurt my outdoor running. Or maybe conditions have just been that much tougher. Some of my long runs have been improvements on last year, and my track workouts have been better, but a lot of the outdoor runs have gone poorly, mostly from horrible winds. I had a rough 15 mile run on Thursday prior to the 10miler. I had entertained the idea of helping out Athletes in Tandem, for the race, but felt so worn down that I didn't think I could handle the additional stress of pushing a stroller. I know I would have had a wonderful experience being able to devote this race to someone else, but I also needed to be able to check a box next to a workout marking it a success instead of an "x" that denotes that the splits weren't achieved.
My parents came into town for the weekend. Keira wanted to run the kids race, but Soren had a soccer game, so I needed someone to bring her down to the finish of my race for me so that Ryan could go to Soren's game. Keira reminded me that Nicole Curtis (of HGTV's Rehab Addict) had only missed her son's games for her triathlon. That made me laugh. My dad came with me to packet pick up, which I had never been to before. Someone else has always brought it to me. There was actually more of an expo there than I expected, and Keira got a ton of stuff in her goodie bag for the kids race. No tech tee this year (it was cotton), but she got a lunch bag, cup, crayons, activity book, and chick fil A breakfast sandwich coupon. I also met with Dennis from Athletes in Tandem briefly and explained my internal struggle.
My neighbor Jennifer reminded me that I am training for one of the biggest and prestigious races right now and that it is OK to do a race for myself. Ryan and I were also in the process of selecting a replacement vehicle for my Mazda (I probably ought to do a separate post just for this), and to say the least, I was not enjoying the process. Not only could Ryan and I not agree on what was best for our family (or me), but neither of us could find what we thought we wanted in dealer stock. We thought we had settled (and I mean settled, as neither of us were terribly thrilled about our choice) on Friday night before the race, so to add to the stress, I was detailing the interior of the mazda6 to prepare it for trade in the next day at 11pm the night before the race. Fabulous. This is exactly what you want to do before a race, shop vac the car for an hour. I finally did go to bed and was excited to sport my new Coeur Sports kit the next morning.
Jennifer gave me a ride to the race bright and early so she could meet up with the Athletes in Tandem group. I had told them that I would be an alternate, and thankfully was not needed for this race. I hope to race with them for a shorter less crowded race as my first experience. While I consider myself an experienced stroller pusher, I don't love racing with my stroller unless I have to, and I'd like some experience with my own kids this season before I push a stranger. I took a few prerace pictures with Jen, Erin, and Terri. I had a Coeur teammate out there running too, but with my stressful week, I failed to reach out to her and with the crowds of people, if you didn't have specific plans to meet someone, it was really hit or miss to find someone there. I ran into a few other people I knew waiting to start.
I felt like I started a little slow, trying to stick to my plan. I felt tried and stressed still. Then I got passed by a guy wearing a shirt that said "Believe in the Blerch". That cracked me up and I ran a bit faster to try to get a better picture of it.
I felt like I ran a smart race, I saw a few friends cheering on the hills of Iroquois Park, and got passed by Erin there too. I didn't try to stay with her because I wanted to stay within my training goals and not try to run this too fast, although I felt like I was pushing pretty hard and going faster would have been a struggle anyway. I ran the second half faster than the first, which is always good, and I'm sure helped out by the fact that the way out is slightly uphill with the first uphills of the park in the first half and more of the downhills on the second half coming away from the park. (photos (C) Bob Alvey)
I had a strong finish, with a time 1:17:27. It was only 10 seconds slower total than last year's PR. It actually felt a lot slower! I was surprised my time was only 1 second per mile slower, but it was probably mostly in those first couple miles when I was specifically trying to stay slow. It was great to have my parents are Keira there. As I walked through the finish area, I found Tracy. She had hooked me up last year with a bib from her Chick Fil A team, and I worked the kids race in exchange. It was a blast, but it was nice to just race this time around.
Since I rode with Jen and my parents were meeting me at the finish, I gave them my hoodie to bring to me, but I kept my foil heat sheet that I brought with me. I rolled it up like a burrito and ran with it in my pocket during my race. Tracy shares my affinity for Chipotle, so took this picture for me. I knew she would appreciate it.
We had a decent wait until the kids race. We were all pretty cold. I was so glad I had my heat blanket and my hoodie, but I really could have used a coat! My parents wanted to walk back to the car, but I knew they couldn't be that close based on how many cars were there when I got there. However, we made it to the kids race.
Keira had a blast. It was quite the hassle to have my parents come up and wait for so long in the cold for a short minute long race, but it was worth it.
Stay tuned for the car drama! It really was a lot more complicated this time around.