When I put this race on the calendar Jen didn't say anything. She's good that way. She didn't say, for example, Um HELLO, dumb ass! You are training for IM and you will be running on lead legs, my Dear! She also didn't refuse me. She didn't say, for example, NO, dumb ass! You are NOT running a 10K after weeks of big hours! She knows better than to say no... She knows that if I want to run a 10k, I will likely do it, even if she STRONGLY advises against it. She doesn't waste her breath. I love her for this.
Instead, she let me run it. She didn't rest me, she didn't coddle me. You wanna 10K? Okay, sister, you go for it! I believe her final words to me, in my log, where simply--Good Luck.
None of the usual-- You can do it! or , Kill it, Mary!
Just Good Luck. Period.
She didn't even tell me she knew it would be ugly--at least she didn't say that until AFTER I had completed the race. I appreciated that, too. I knew it would be ugly anyway. I did know that.
I knew this race was hilly. I also knew that a big part of it ran along the coast, which even on a day without wind would make it windy. Yesterday, unfortunately, was a day of strong winds, even on the mainland. Off the coast those winds were even stronger. It was kind of a nightmare, actually, despite the bright sun and beautiful views. There were moments I felt that I was running in place.
The first mile the wind was at our backs, and it was more a slight downhill than up. I felt pretty light and hopeful. I ran a 6:32. A little faster than I had planned, but only by 7 seconds. We then took a turn which put us INTO the wind.
I was no longer light or hopeful. I immediately and definitively slowed. I am pretty good with hills, but you know? I really suck in the wind. I think it's because the wind seems like a live thing to me--like a being, trying to hold me back. When it's stronger than me, when it actually pushes me back, I feel like I'm losing to a higher power. A hill is dead--just pavement atop earth. It doesn't vary in its power. The wind, though, can lighten up--and then, with a big laugh, blast you and push you back as if to say, Take that!
That's what it did to me yesterday. It laughed at me and said, Take that!
Andy ran this race too, and he did well, and he didn't even "notice" the wind.
Really? You didn't notice it?
Apparently he did notice that he slowed considerably in the second and third miles, but he didn't notice that it was the wind that was causing it.
Well, anyway. I noticed it!
At mile 3.5 we turned inland, and out of the wind. That's when the hills came. Up. rest for five seconds. Up. rest for five seconds. UP UP UP. rest for five seconds.
Was it my dead legs from the training? Did I just suck? Was this a really, really hard course and it wasn't me at all?
I passed a lot of people on the hills, despite my slow pace. It was pretty clear it wasn't just me. This WAS a tough race. Finally the hills abated a bit, and the final mile was run on rolling, but not HILLY terrain. The wind was at our backs again, and I was able to recover a bit.
But I hurt. Boy, did I hurt. What was funny is that it wasn't that I was sucking wind and it wasn't that my muscles were burning. I just hurt. I just really wanted it to end.Why had I done this? What was I proving?
Don't you hate it when you think like that during a race? Ahhh well. You can't be a spitfire for all of them. Yesterday the pissy Mary--the one who really doesn't want to hurt--had her say.
Andy was at the finish line waiting for me. I sort of collapsed into him.
You were tenth overall! he said.
Whattt????? Was he shitting me? I really thought he could be kidding. Maybe even mocking me? There were 800 women in this race! 10th? With that performance?
Turns out he was wrong. I was 12th. And 5th AG (30-39). BUT STILL. Discovering how I placed was a relief. I clearly, clearly wasn't the only person who had experienced the race as a tough one. To place 5th out of 300 in one's AG with BARELY a sub 44? Not only that, the two women ahead of me in AG were within 10 and 15 seconds respectively... The fastest woman of the day only ran a 41 and change. The fastest man was only a 35, and the number two man was a high 36! Yep. It was a tough day.
Andy, as usual, felt he could've run better. He got a 37+. He was fifth overall out of 1500 runners, and 1st AG.
But he could've done better...
I was a little bitter. But mostly just proud.
Andy won flowers and a few others things. He gave me the flowers to carry so I looked like I had won AG. :) Haha! Not me! Still, I carried them around nonchalantly. Yep. NO big deal. I'm just the AG winner today! Little ol' me!
The funny thing is that I am not sore today. Is it that when you are so thick in training you simply can't get your speed legs to fire, and so you can't get yourself sore? I wonder....
I had a good time yesterday, despite the lead legs and the slow time. It's the first time I haven't PR'd this season, which makes me a tad sad, but not really. I love to get out there and race. The course, though WINDY, was really gorgeous. Too bad I was in too much pain to appreciate it...
And now... I'm off to ride my bike. Gotta love IM. No rest for the weary.
And Thank you, God, for that. I love what I do.