I was pretty excited about this race because it was my redemption race. I was disappointed with my previous performance. Not disappointed with my legs, but disappointed with my head.
Even before the race, I had compiled a list of reasons why the race was going to suck. We are not machines and we all have bad runs. We cannot control that fact but we can control the thoughts in our head - and make it less of a bad run.
I've been working on these thoughts during my training. A friend once told me that "every workout has a goal." That goal is not always related to pace.
My goal for this race was not to win or to run to super fast.
My goal for this race was to ensure that not a single negative thought entered my head. I wasn't going to think, "it hurts" or "I'm tired" and I certainly was not going to think, "I can't." When these negative thoughts result in negative performances, it can also trigger negative thoughts, such as "I suck." What a horrible thing to think in general - nonetheless during a race!
The morning of the race I wore my brand new running skirt. This skirt is too cute to run in, however it's also a bit short to wear out-and-about. So, it has been decorating my dresser for a few weeks. I also wore brand new running shoes. I figured the first step to a positive self-thinking was looking the part.
I knew from previous years that the first two miles of the course were at a downhill, and that the last two miles were uphill. I also knew that Mcmillan's dandy running calculator suggested a 6:20 pace. I decided I would run 6:10 for the first two miles and then try to stay under 6:30 for the last two.
On the start line, I saw some fast looking women and I knew I was not going to win the race. I was okay with that - because it wasn't my goal.
The first two miles were fun. It was a little challenging fighting the urge to run faster and staying in my pace range (6:08-6:10) yet I managed to pass all but one of the women who started in front of me (the start was organized based on your projected pace).
I knew the single woman still ahead of me was a good runner. I always know a good runner by their fancy sunglasses. I slowly caught up to her and passed her at the beginning of Mile 4.
I didn't really want to pass her - it is much more fun to chase rather be chased. But, it was a race.
(By the way, she IS a good runner. Just a runner who started off with a 5:40 first mile....sounds a little too familiar for me!)
Mile 4 had some significant upgrade so it was an unpleasant mile. But I kept reminding myself, No negative thoughts, No negative thoughts, No negative thoughts......... and that my running skirt was too cute for a wussy girl.
Mile 3 was 6:20 and Mile 4 was 6:30 - bringing me passed the finish (4.02 miles) in 25:18. That is 80 seconds faster than last year - and I did win the race after all.
Even if it's not the goal, it is always more fun to win than not win.
As usual, I brought my medal home for Brenna. She did wear it for a few hours and to the grocery store. However, the grocery store had Barbie dolls on clearance for $2.50. I let Brenna pick one out. She became instantly enamored, and my medal became instantly forgotten.
Hayden was not jealous of her new toy since, you know, he has his yellow cars.