|One of my prizes for 3rd place!|
The stats: 3rd place female, 18th overall with a time of 1:25:29.
I did not go into this race thinking it would be a stinker. I had two very bad, short, training runs leading up to the race, but that is pretty much par for the course. In fact, sometimes it seems as though the worse I feel in the couple of days leading up to a race, the better I preform on race day. Bottom line: I did not let the heavy-legged feeling I had the last two days bring me down.
We stayed in Sonoma last night and that was great. No crazy early morning wake up call, just the usual 5 a.m. I will report one thing that was out of whack, though I have been enduring this for a couple of months. I have been retaining water like a mofo. For those of you who have suffered from this, you know it can lead to some really awful feelings during workouts and races. I have been retaining between 3-5 pounds of water weight and generally experiencing miserable GI issues for the past few months. More on that later, but just know that I woke feeling like I had a camelbak installed around my middle. Since this has been how I have felt for the past two months, I didn't feel like it was particularly strange, so I am hesitant to use it as an excuse.
The race start was not ideal. The busses were packed and we arrived later than we wanted to the start area. The portable toilets had 30-40 minute lines with only 20 minutes to the start, so I went in search of farm worker portables with success. The line was much shorter for these!
I jogged back to the start and after a few minutes we were off. The course starts with a brutal uphill right away. Supposedly, then it runs downhill for a couple of miles before flattening out. However, those next few miles were definitely rolling pretty nicely. It was in those first few miles that I realized my breathing was labored far more than it should be for the paces I was doing. I was patient and just tried to run by effort. I ordered myself not to look at my Garmin until mile 6. At mile 6, I was running somewhere around 6:25 pace. And, I was breathing hard!
I then did something I've never done in a race before: I shut off my watch. I didn't want to know the details any more. I didn't want my expectations interfering with my experience. I wanted to enjoy this long run through a beautiful countryside on my birthday. I slowed to an effort I knew I could hold, and I just crossed my fingers that the 4th place woman wouldn't catch up to me. Several men caught me and passed me, but no women did.
I feel really ambivalent about how I ran this race. I know that I couldn't have pushed myself harder without risking dropping out. Mentally, I held my shit together, I think. I could have broken down at mile 6, but I made the decision that enjoying the race and finishing were higher priorities. The story I was concocting while in the race wasn't nearly as positive as the one I'm telling now. I guess I've run enough races to know that perspective changes after a race is over.
What I thought about the last 7 miles of this race was what I should do next week. Should I start marathon training for my first attempt at an OTQ in Chicago? Should I go with Plan B and run CIM? I feel like I am leaning pretty hard towards punting to CIM and right now is the time to make that decision. There are a lot of benefits to going that direction: I am currently leading the Pacific Association Masters Long Race Series and CIM is on the list of focus races. So are two other races that I couldn't do if I ran Chicago. I know several runners shooting for the OTQ at CIM. It's in my backyard, literally. Chicago requires financing to get there though the payoff for placing well in the masters' race is very lucrative. I also have this history with Chicago and therefore a certain magical feeling about the place.
Tough decisions ahead for me. Coach Hadley and I are in discussions about this currently, but no decisions have been made.
So, here I sit. Typing away at my keyboard with some seriously droopy eyelids. All in all, it's been a great day. The Genius has treated me well and I got to hang out with some of my Impala Racing Team peeps today in a beautiful place.
|Just look at that handsome couple!|
|The birthday girls: Michelle and Jaymee. We both turned 21 today! Just in time to enjoy some yummy champaign cocktails!|