Some races come into your life to make you love racing, and others are there to teach you some lessons. Levee Run was one of those lesson teachers, and since I've never learned anything the easy way, I'm not gonna lie... it sucked. And I PRd. But it still sucked.
I was SO jacked for this race. I'd been doing my speed class and getting stronger. I'd been continuing to get work done to fix my janky body, reducing pain and increasing efficiency. There was an Athena division, so I actually had bling to race for. I was feeling GOOD.
And then, from the starting gun, I fucked it all up. Ran a SUB-9:00 mile for mile 1 (with an uphill start, too boot). Way WAY too fast! I knew I was doing it while I did it, but I thought, "You've worked hard! You can handle this for six miles!"
Uh, no you can't, princess. I was struggling hard, even with a walk through the first water stop at (inexplicably) mile 1, I resumed that pace and finished mile 2 right around 18:00. Another 9 minute mile. This time, without a noisy water stop, I could hear my pace and said, "Whoa nelly!" and took my foot off the gas. But it was too late. I'd burned so much fuel on that start, I ended up having to take walk breaks to recover enough to keep going.
I probably took 3-4 walk breaks, including water stops, and I honestly felt like I was crawling at times. Which is actually the good part, because when I finally worked up the nerve to look at my splits, they were really quite respectable for feeling like a crawl.
You can see where mile 3, I struggled a bit more as I tried to recover. And then again for mile 5.
BUT, for a "struggling" pace, with walk breaks, 10:30ish isn't terrible for me. It makes me realize that if I can pace myself better (and I can, I just got excited and overconfident... normally I'm a consistent pacer), I can "comfortably uncomfortably" run 9:30-9:45 for a 10k distance. And I also know that I can run around 9 for a 5k. I definitely could have kept that pace up for another mile, but I would have been completely spent at the end.
It was very surreal to be in the throes of "OMG I fucked up that race so badly, I'm so disappointed in myself, that was awful, how many times did I think, 'I'm never running again after this!'" and then to have Runkeeper show this:
Um. Yay? I knew I could have done better and this PR was just an eyelash over my last PR, and it was SUCH an unpleasant run, it was just like, "Yuck. PR, shmee are."
I spent the rest of the day just exhausted to the bone. We went to a Stars game and thankfully that woke/cheered me up a bit. But it's still a blur the rest of that day. It's amazing how hard 10ks are. I think that's why I like them so much. You can really just wring yourself out in that hour (or less, hopefully, next time) and feel like you've accomplished something.
As for the race itself, I cannot recommend it. Other than going over the bridge, there is nothing to look at. It goes mostly through the warehouse part of the design district. *yawn* The big white bridge is the highlight, and it was so foggy you couldn't see it. Plus they bussed in all these people to cheer on the bridge since it was near the start and finish, but I was struggling so badly, it was mostly just an annoyance to have cowbells and screaming when I just wanted to finish and crawl in a hole.
It's well organized with some good booths and apparently beer after, but the route just can't make up for it. Maybe it would be better as a 5k.
Despite my exhaustion, I came out the other end fairly unscathed. My calves both hurt after, and still do today, but I've been dynamically stretching them to get those muscles to loosen up and they don't feel any worse this morning after a hard tempo (ladder drill) speed class last night.
This weekend, I have a crazy running schedule. Since my half marathon is well before it's supposed to be in our training schedule, but I don't want to overtrain, I'm stealing from ultra marathoners and doing a longer "tired leg" run of 6 miles on Sunday after 9 miles (including 4 at HM pace) on Saturday. At least, that's the plan.
But the next weekend I'll taper with just the Greenville Dash 5k with my coworkers, which I don't think I'll be able to race that due to the crowds and craziness (which, if I'd known, I don't think I'd have bothered to sign up... too early out of bed for a 5k that I can't PR). And then the weekend after that is Rock and Roll! And then a couple of trail runs before Possum Kingdom! Amazing how my dance card fills up with training!
Fortunately, only one more week of speed class. It's been fantastic, but starting that AND a very busy new job (working 11 hour days lately), has been a lot. I feel like I have zero free time. In fact,even this is stolen time, as I woke up at 2:30 (not on purpose) and decided to try to get some trim painting done that I've been working on since last Friday, but decided to update the blog instead. I think I'll go grab a few more winks before I have to go back to the office. :)