Hey there! Hope you all had a great weekend. I’m checking in from my “office” (aka Tatte) after a morning spent playing rolling around in the sand at Carson Beach with November Project. Normally I wouldn’t run 10 miles the day after a race, but I can’t turn down a chance to get in the water so I took it slow with the two 5 mile segments there and back. We met at this beach in South Boston for a circuit with wheelbarrow races, crab walks, lunges, skips and a good old game of sharks & minnows.
Unfortunately, the tide was so low and water so muddy that no one could rationalize swimming after the workout. I’ll still count any day that has me covered in sand as a good one.
Ok, now let’s rewind to the weekend. I had a pretty low key Friday and Saturday catching up with friends at Meadhall, a romantic friend date walking around the Esplanade, and a Mission Bars tasting at lululemon. I crashed early on Saturday night with a nagging headache, but I slept like a rock and woke up feeling great Sunday morning. I quickly ate a Mission Bar and banana and picked up Brian for the hour drive to Rockport, Mass. We didn’t hit any traffic and parked a stone’s throw away from the start line at the Rockport High School. It could not have been an easier race logistically. Free parking, no crowds, and bib pick-up done in less than a minute.
About 45 minutes before the 5K start I ran 15 minutes easy and didn’t exactly feel fresh. The heat was already pretty strong thanks to a 9:20 a.m. race start, but I tried to stay positive reminding myself that I had about 20 minutes of hard work ahead and that was it. I ate a chocolate Huma gel and headed to the track behind the school for some strides, dynamic stretches, and drills. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to go to the start line until a few minutes before the race began, and I crossed the line probably one second after the very official “Ready, set, go.”
Brian told me the week leading up to the race that people generally didn’t run the 5K all that fast because many people do a “triple threat” running the 1 mile, 5K, and half back to back. Well, I got passed by probably 30 people within the first quarter mile and never got the vibe that people were taking it easy. My plan was to go out between 6:50 – 7 and negative split, but I mostly ran by feel and tried not to obsess over my watch.
I clocked my first mile at 6:50 and knew it was going to be a long two miles judging by my breath alone. I definitely thought about quitting a few times which seems super dramatic in hindsight but it’s that survival mode that kicks in when you’re running hard. The first mile went by fairly quickly through residential streets and then we hit a beautiful view of Rockport at about the half way mark.
After making the turn by the water, we started a series of rolling hills without much of a flat stretch. My legs actually felt really good and I was able to pass a few people on the hills. I knew there were two women ahead of me and I could hear one more just a few strides behind which helped me keep pushing. I kept reminding myself that these hills were nothing compared to Summit and there was no excuse to slow down. My pace was closer to 7:05 the second mile and I think about 7:15 the third with a big hill right before the last half mile. Right after we flattened out after the hill the woman on my heels passed me which was pretty demoralizing. I’m a long distance runner so I don’t really have the “kick” in my back pocket and that’s something I want to work on developing.
It was really tough not slowing down significantly after that last climb, but I thought about people I admire and what they’d do in that moment. I thought of Kelsey, my running role model, who has been inching past the guys every week at Fenspeed and has this wonderful competitive yet laid back attitude about running. Call me sappy but then I thought about Chris who thrives during competition and redefines his limits every single day. I knew that he’d be the first person I called after the race and I wanted to make him proud so I kept pushing through the finish.
After grabbing a water quickly I found Ricki and her family who told me that I was the 4th woman to cross. About an hour later the race organizers emailed the results and it turns out I won my age group!
I was probably a little too proud of myself for a local race but considering this was my first 5K in 5 years and it was a hot day with a tough course, I let myself get excited. Brian also had a great race coming in second overall, and Ricki and her dad finished their half marathon in some serious heat so it was a solid day all around.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed racing that distance and it got me thinking about what I want my fall to look like. I’ve been talking to my coach about a training program to BQ at the Philadelphia Marathon late November, and I would need to start that within a few weeks. If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve been thinking about that the start of that program as a looming deadline that signified a loss in freedom. I know what it’s like to feel excited about training and I’m not there yet. I’m still enjoying lower mileage, more speed work, more stadiums, and generally whatever I feel like doing. So, my coach and I decided that I won’t be running a fall marathon anytime soon. I think I’ll train for a fast fall half and see what I feel like doing after that. I’m already relieved so I know it’s the right call.
Now it’s time to get some work done before I head home to Maryland tomorrow night! Have a great rest of your day.