First race of 2014 is in the books! With the 10k training team I joined this winter, we got a free entry into two local road races and this Valentine’s Day themed race, the Sweetheart 8k, was one of them.
I am not in the best shape right now but I felt like I was ready-enough to jump in a race. Based on my previous tempo runs, my goal was to average sub 6:30. To add additional pressure on top of the first race jitters, Jeff and I also entered the couples division for fastest couple.
Overall, I felt pretty good. We got to the race late due to a last minute hiccup (Jeff left his flats in his car at a body shop—took a lot of effort to control the nerves) but I was still able to get in a decent warmup. Also, post-collegiate running doesn’t entail stretching so that eliminates a good portion of my old warmup routine.
Based on previous years’ results, I knew the course was on the slow-side and heard it was pretty hilly. I knew the race finished on a pretty tough uphill so I told myself the whole race to be patient and not start pushing too early. Went out in about 6:20, exactly what I wanted. Continued with a 6:27 and a 6:32 for the second and third mile. This is one of the first races where I actually feel I paced myself smart and still felt pretty strong halfway through.
Unfortunately the last two miles were the toughest. Going into the fourth mile, I felt I had a pretty good rhythm going but the course had different plans. At one point we traversed over a rooty (that’s not a word-I know) trail that then spit us out to loop around a lake with some technical hills. The fifth mile was home to the 1/2 mile hill I was dreading the whole race and I just pushed through to maintain my position in the race. 6:50 and 6:55 for the last two miles. Even though they were my two slowest miles, I don’t feel I slowed down. The nature of the course just put you out of your comfort zone and you couldn’t settle back into a rhythm.
I finished the race still feeling like I had a lot left. Mentally, I want to save enough to be able to finish strong up the hill but I could only run so fast up it because of my fitness so I finished the race feeling like I could have kept going. Not necessarily faster but could have held on for longer.
Note to self: Hills are kind of important. Reconnect with them.
Jeff and I both ended up placing third overall and won the couple’s division. My final time ended up being 32:51 (6:36 average, just off my goal). My NBRVA teammates, Sarahbeth and Alicia, ended up finishing first and second so it was really fun to sweep the awards with them.
The race was held at Urban Farmhouse, a local cafe specializing in bringing organic and sustainable products to the city, and so after the awards we hung around and got some breakfast.
All races should end with two hour meals with friends. No excuses.
Last, they had the cutest dog treats and naturally I had to get one for Bean. He worked really hard today, too.
Now, I have the racing itch and I can’t wait to race again! I have a pretty busy 2014 race calendar and can’t wait to share more race experiences!
I want to hear from YOU. What are you currently racing for? Have you raced already this year? How’d it go?