So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report

I signed up for this back in August.  It seemed like a fabulous idea at the time - I mean, it promises you CHOCOLATE at the finish line.  Could there be a better incentive?  Apparently most women agreed with me - there were twice as many women in this race as men.

But months passed and I smoothly transitioned into my off-season.  I completely forgot about this race.

Then on Thanksgiving I attempted a turkey trot.
I never spoke of it because it wasn't worth speaking about.
I had to DNF.

The race was a 10K.  I had no speedwork to back up anything amazing so I went just to run for "fun."  But from the minute I started running, it wasn't fun at all.  My stomach hurt.  My chest hurt.  At Mile 3.6, I saw a gas station on the other side of the street. When the rest of the runners turned right, I went straight.  And straight into the gas station's bathroom.  It confirmed there was something really wrong with me and so I did not rejoin the race.  

It was not a race I anticipated or trained for, so I was not distraught over the lack of finisher's medal.  But it was the first non-trail race I attempted this entire year that was longer than a 5K.  It did make me doubt my ability to be more than a one-trick pony.

In the midst of that 10K, I remembered my looming 15K.

There was not enough chocolate in the world that could make me excited for this run.  I found myself dreading it.  And to dread a run - of ANY distance - is simply inappropriate when running is your favorite thing to do.

There was not enough time to improve my running, but there was enough time to improve my attitude.  By the time I stepped onto the start line, I was excited to be there.  A lot of my friends were there - including the super fast girls from my running club.  It made me glad I wasn't planning on racing because I stood no chance of winning.

Just because the goal is not to win, does not mean there are not other goals, though.   My first goal was to do negative splits.  My second goal was to smile the entire race.

As always, the race started fast.  I checked my Garmin obsessively for the first mile, attempting to keep it over 6:30.  By Mile 2, I found a groove and I was passing poor people who started too fast.  Often, they would competitively pick up the pace.  I knew it was too early, so I would remind myself of my two goals: Negative splits and smile.

When I saw the marker for Mile 4, I let loose and started to run.  Even though I checked my Garmin 100 times during the first 4 miles, didn't look at it a single time for the remainder of the race.

By Mile 6, I was in 5th place.
By Mile 8, I was right behind the 4th place girl.  And that is where I stayed the race of the rest.

But I was ecstatic with 5th place - there were 1,839 women behind me.
Plus, it was my largest age group win (1/294).

But even more importantly, I accomplished my goals.

Mile 1:  6:39
Mile 2:  6:46
Mile 3:  6:48
----------------5K = 21:03
Mile 4:  6:32
Mile 5:  6:19
Mile 6:  6:15
----------------10K = 41:09
Mile 7:  6:24
Mile 8:  6:27
Mile 9:  6:34
.4 :     :  6:27
----------------15K = 1:01:17
Avg Pace = 6:31
Avg Race Pace (since I went .1 over) = 6:35

I would have preferred Mile 9 to be under 6:30, I would have preferred to have a better kick, and I would have preferred to do a better job running the inside of the course so not to accrue that additional tenth of a mile - but that is needless nitpicking because it was still negative splits.

And as (chocolate) icing on a cake, David showed up with my kids.

And just like me and all the other 2,000 women, Brenna was all about the chocolate.

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