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Monday, March 2, 2009

A Tale of Two Races

There is rain. And there is cold. And then... there is cold rain.

When I woke up Saturday morning it was raining. I immediately dreaded the morning races I had signed up for. Particularly the 10k... but not just because of the cold and the rain.

Backstory: For those of you new to my running... the 10k is my least favorite race distance. And by least favorite... i mean, it's 6.2 miles of hell. Pure hell. I ran 3 10ks back in the summer of 2007 and after coming close to death in at least 2 of those races, I swore the distance off. It's like the most mentally challenging distance for me and everytime I try to break it into submission, my plans would backfire and I'd wind up an exhausted, heaving, swearing mess at the finish line.

It was bad. Very Bad.

So, almost 2 years later, here I am... returning to the distance. And the odds were stacked against me. Not only was I racing my nemesis distance... I was racing a freaking 5k immediately beforehand! Idiotic? Indeed.

It was pouring the rain during the check-in procedure and bless the volunteers hearts, but their fingers were frozen solid and so flipping through sheets of wet paper on a clipboard proved to take a little longer than I would have liked, so we stood in the rain for a good 10 minutes trying to get through the whole process. Not ideal.

By the time the 5k started... the rain had pretty much subsided and I prepared myself for an easy-ish run. I knew I wouldn't PR, I just wanted to get nice and warmed up.

Me at the start of the 5k (Blue jacket on the right)

This course takes place in the hilliest park in Nashville... Percy Warner Park. So, it was really important that I didn't go crazy in the 5k, I knew there would be hills in the 10k that were just waiting to remind me why I swore 10ks off.

One race down... one to go.

I finished the 5k with a decent 25:46 time. Ehhhh... Doesn't look good on paper, but for the course, conditions, and the fact that I was trying to take it fairly easy... I can't really complain. I was 5th out of 24 in my age group.

With just enough time between races to head back to the truck for some much needed heat blasts and changing of numbers and chips... it was back at the start line for race #2.

I kept track of my splits during the 10k and I also employed the trick that I learned from the half marathon a few weeks... (when I slow down because I'm feeling fatigued, it just makes me more fatigued, so whenever I get that feeling, I FORCE myself to speed up and BAM... I'm back to racing form). It worked in this race, too. I kicked it up a little bit the last couple of miles and finished that hilly bitch of a 10k course in 54:14. I kinda wanted to finish under 54:00, but whatev.... it was still a 10k PR for me by like almost 7 minutes.

And now for the 10k finish...

The original plan had been to run a little more in the park after our races were through... and Vandy-Montana and I made good on that and ran the 5k course, plus a little extra to wind up with a daily total of 13 miles.

All-in-all it was a fun race. I mean... sure it was miserable to start and I wound up with every square inch of my body wet (including my shoes... oh my poor feet). But, it was good to get out and brave the elements with the other 200+ crazies. And while I didn't fall in love with the 10k... I don't hate it nearly as much.

This picture just doesn't do the puddles and the mud on my shoes and leggings justice.

(yes, those are green socks. What? you got a problem with green socks?)


Spike said...

Racing a 5K before racing at 10K sounds crazy. Add cold rain. Crazy for sure. And yet, you did it, and you did great on your 10K race. Congrats. Oh, and I have no problem with green socks.

StangLuvr said...

Well, Craig had me sold on racing both and I was heading down, until I woke up at 5:15am and it was pouring down rain. I wussed out and went back to bed.

GOOD JOB ON RUNNING BOTH AND DOING WELL!!!!!! It made being wet and cold alittle better.

RunnerMom said...

Wow, you PR'd a 10K AFTER running a 5K. Your running is on fire!

I was so glad I skipped this one after seeing the weather that morning.

I'm hoping for good weather at Tom King in two weeks. I'm going to try your technique of speeding up when I feel fatigued.

Beth said...

Wow, two great races and a PR! Sounds like a good weekend. I'm just jealous that you had rain and not snow.

Amanda said...

Nice times. That's cool, and kinda crazy, to do the 5k right before a 10k. Way to go, and in that nasty weather!

johnking said...

way to knock out good races, im really impressed with the 10K PR...i give you a year before you are getting a BQ under your belt.

Vandy-Montana said...

johnking is right. I say Grizzly marathon if you can handle 5000 feet above sea level. That would be pretty long as you don't get eaten by a bear!