The week leading up to the Springettsbury 10k certainly proved interesting. On Sunday I wore shorts while I ran 9.5 miles in very spring-like weather.
On Tuesday I went to the high school before track practice to run. I was going to run 3-4 miles, but during the first mile some random desire to run a speed workout came over me. I can only assume it was due to a combo of gorgeous weather yet again, and the fact that I would be making the track kids run a hard workout as well. After a mile warmup I ran four 400s on the track. I didn’t time my recovery in between each, but I ran 1:30, 1:34, 1:33, 1:33 splits then ran a mile cool down. I was quite pleased with my consistency in the 400s given I never do speed work. My legs felt like I could run forever, but the heavy, gasping breathing at the end of each loop reminded me of why I should do more of those workouts.
On Wednesday I fell in the living room on our ceramic tile floor. I can only figure that my pants caught under my moccasin and I slipped on them. My right buttock took the brunt of the fall but my right ankle also turned. My first thought was “Oh no I race on Saturday!” followed by “This really hurts”. I stayed down for about a minute before getting to my feet. I had to ice my butt twice just to be able to sit remotely normal while working. It remained very tender the rest of the week, so I chose to complete yoga and upper body workouts instead of trying for another run before the race.
Saturday morning’s weather was a stark contrast from the beginning of the week. Sustained winds of 10-15 mph with gusts up to 30 mph with feel like temps of teens were not my ideal racing conditions. I immediately ruled out my reach goal of a sub 50 and went with my regular goal of a 52. During my warmup the fierce head wind caused me to put on a second pair of gloves, something I never did in a race. I also added my light windbreaker jacket to my Under Armour cold gear long sleeved top and half zip.
Although I knew the course from the previous year, my running group had pre-ran the course two weeks earlier. This really helped prepare me mentally for the first two miles of hills. My splits were 8:17 and 8:34 respectively. The wind was a crosswind for most of it, and by the third mile I had already removed my extra pair of gloves. The third mile split was a 7:59 thanks in part to a long downhill.
I felt twinges in my right buttock at times, but it was never actual pain. I was proud of my ability to free fall down the short, steep downhill leading into a turn to the dirt road. I took water at the water stop feeling like it would help later in the race. A girl I had began watching through the third mile and dubbed “Purple girl” pulled farther ahead of me because of this, but I didn’t want to try to close the gap on her too early in the race. I hit 8 mins flat for the fourth mile split which surprised me given I was running into a head wind at times.
I felt really wore out during the fifth mile. My quads ached in a way that they don’t normally during a race, and I could only figure it was due to battling the wind. Mentally I was just over running at that point and wanted to be finished. I was glad to have ran in the wind a few weeks ago that inspired my tips post as that did help me mentally in some regards as well as physically by putting petroleum jelly on my face that morning. Despite my less than stellar mindset and somewhat tired quads I only slowed to a 8:08 at the five mile mark.
At this point the course transitioned into a development and the winds were mostly blocked by houses offering a much needed reprieve. I’m not sure if I was that happy to be out of a headwind or if I got my own second wind, but I really started to pick up my pace. I passed a girl who had passed me in the previous mile and started working on reeling in “Purple girl”. I didn’t think she was in my age group, but I treated her as if she was just in case. I was gaining ground on her when I turned into an apartment complex and was inconvenienced by a car that prevented me from crossing over sooner. It was driving nearly my same pace for several feet before I finally got ahead of it. This messed with me mentally, making me feel as if I had expended extra energy and I worried I wouldn’t catch “Purple girl”.
I reached the parking lot and 6 mile mark in a 7:28, proof of how much I had picked up during the sixth mile. I rounded the final corner but didn’t want to “go” until I could see the finish line. As soon as I saw it I went and passed “Purple girl” and another woman, partially afraid they would give chase and make me work even harder. The entire final stretch felt so long and I kept repeating in my head “This is why you ran the 400s, this is why you ran the 400s”. I crossed the finish line in a 49:03.
Looking back on the race I still can’t wrap my head around how I could run that fast (7:54/mile avg pace) in those conditions. It certainly took its toll on me as I required an hour nap later in the day. I’m really proud of how I ran and ended up being the 8th overall female. I finished 3rd in my age group and am now tied for second in my age group for the entire series. I am hoping to secure second place for good at the final race in March.