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Monday, March 23, 2015

Race Recap: Scioto Miles #1

Photo by Robb McCormick
Race #1 in the Scioto Miles Spring Training Series took place Sunday, March 22 at 8:00am. The series includes two races (next in April) across three distances: 5k, 10k, and 15k. I ran the 10k. [Race Information]

Downtown Columbus at 6:45am. (The only photo we took.)
Pre Race
We didn't feel like getting our packets last week, so we got up at 5:50 and arrived early for packet pickup. After quickly grabbing our bibs and shirts we headed back to the car to escape the cold. It was 30 degrees, which felt much colder after Saturday's sunny, 60 degree weather. Luckily, when the sun came out just before the race began, it was a clear, cloudless day.

I won't lie, we weren't feeling it. I woke up at 3:45am with a thumping migraine. I took pills and willed myself back to sleep. When we woke up to get ready, my stomach felt gross, but that's kind of normal for me when I'm a little nervous (as I generally am for anything "different" than my daily routine). Normally after we're finished running we both feel much better and are happy we signed up. Whatever the reason, Alex and I both felt pretty slow during the run and kind of "meh" about the whole experience. But let me be clear: this was not the fault of the event organizers! The race went off without a hitch.

I tried something new with this race: making A and B goals. I've done this unofficially in the past ("Finish in a respectable time." "Run under a 10 minute pace"), but this time I made a conscious effort to look up the necessary pace to achieve my goals.
A goal: maintain a 9:00-9:05 pace for a 56:00 finish
B goal: maintain a 9:35 pace for an under 1:00:00 finish 
I'm behind the pink lady with the pink thing on my head. 
The Race 
The field included 2,000+ runners over three distances. Everyone starts at the same time, but there are pacers to maintain order. I stood between 56:00 and 1:00:00 10k pacers. We set off and I kept them in my sights. People were dashing past me and it was difficult not to get caught up. I kept reminding myself that most of the people around me were racing the 5k and I needed to keep a steady, sustainable pace.

The course was pretty flat for the first mile. Mile 1.3-2 was in full sun and I got a little warm, but never enough to remove a layer. After mile 2 there were several hills. I won't lie, they weren't huge but they hurt. By mile 2.5 to 3 I was no longer running near the pacers, but they were in my sights. I always forget how far a 5k feels when you're trying to go faster. How on earth did I run 5ks at an 8:30 pace a few months ago?

When we crossed the start/finish to begin our second lap I was ready to be done. I wanted to stop at the 5k and I could not picture myself completing a second lap. At that point I knew I'd have to take it mile by mile or I would give up. (Goodness, I sound like I'm talking about a marathon!) I took off my gloves and saw Alex waiting in the wings. He ran beside me for a few seconds. Long enough for me to pass him my gloves and say, "I feel terrible." He said something supportive (no idea what. Couldn't function.) and I continued on to the first turn.

Lots of small hills along the 5k loop.
I slowed down on mile 4. I needed it! It felt nice to go slower, but as the pacers slid out of view I knew I wasn't going to meet my A goal. I tried to concentrating on what I've realized is my (lame) mantra: "Just keep running." I don't care if I slow down, it's better than walking. I couldn't believe I wanted to walk during a 10k, but I definitely would have if I didn't have goals.

I look like I'm in a good mood. (Lies.)
Photo by Robb McCormick 
I knew we were back to the small, but steep hills after mile 5 so I tried to make myself speed up on the downhills and straightaways. Technically, I did... but it was the slowest form of speedy possible. By this point we started passing walkers. While I dodged and weaved a bit, they weren't all over the path. About .75 mile to go I found myself near two other women. I hung with them and tried to think "Just keep running. Only 7 more minutes." Around this time I looked at my watch and saw we'd passed the 50 minute mark.

I don't remember exactly when I started thinking I shouldn't sign up for more long distance races. I wasn't having a good race and wasn't feeling it. What if Cap City goes the same way? How could I expect to ever run a half marathon in under 2 hours if I couldn't even stay with the 9:00 min pacers on a race that's half the distances? It was kind of a downer. (Let me add: I like running far and if I didn't care about going faster I wouldn't have these thoughts.)

I looked at my watch again after a medium hill before the finish and saw 54 or 55 minutes. Well, there went my A goal. I was starting to worry about the B goal as I huffed and puffed the last part. Man, it was tough. I wanted to walk so badly. What a shame because I've had some really quick training runs over the past week. Maybe too quick before race day?

I stuck with the ladies near me, passed some walkers, and finally saw the finish ahead. I scanned for Alex, but didn't see him. I felt so crappy and wanted to be done and almost didn't wave at the photographer (I really need a new default reaction. How about not waving?) I saw the clock: 58 something. "Well, that's not too bad..." I crossed the line, spotted Alex, and went to get my medal and free snacks (so many!). One of my MIT pace coaches congratulated me and I was so out of it I hope I said thanks! I can't remember the first thing I said after I met up with Alex, but it was probably something like "that was terrible" or "ughhhhh."

Swag included shoes!!! (And a great shirt)
Final Stats and Thoughts
Despite my bad attitude, the race wasn't nearly as terrible as Emerald City. I know I can run the distance and I didn't let myself walk. If I'd run it all at 9:30 or 9:45 pace I wouldn't have been as tired, but I really wanted to run it faster. I'm not sure if I trained too hard in the week leading up, not enough, if I need more speed work, or if I'm just not meant to be fast. (Pity party.)

Mile Splits
Mile 1     9:02
Mile 2     9:03
Mile 3     9:04
Mile 4     9:26
Mile 5     9:16
Mile 6     9:19

Final Time: 58:27
My Garmin says the 10k distance took me 56:57. Garmin Connect and Map My Run say I ran 6.4 miles at a 9:10 pace, but my official results obviously use 6.2 miles to get a 9:25 pace.  I'm a little salty over my GPS vs. official results. Did I swing wide? What a bummer to run a pace apparently good enough for a 57 minute finish, but fall short. (Yes, yes. I know. The pity party continues.) How do I deal with these discrepancies? My saltiness subsides a bit when I see my place in the pack. If I stopped at the 5k –even at my non race pace– I would have had a top 10% finish! A side note: Alex ran a "slow (for him) 5k of 21 minutes. Because most of the fast dudes continued on to the 10k and 15k, he ended up finishing 7th!

Overall (10k finishers): 226/750 (30%)
Gender: 115/521 (22%)
Age Group: 55/226 (24%)

Next up: The Westerville Bunny Hop 5k on April 4 (probably my last 5k until fall/winter). April 12 is race #2 in the Scioto Miles series. I considered bumping up to 15k, but no way. Laps are not my forté. 

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