“Running is in my blood — the adrenaline flows before the races, the love/hate of butterflies in your stomach.” – Marcus O’Sullivan
I had nightmares about this race. Well – nightmare might be a bit of an exaggeration, but i had a dream whereby course officials/volunteers misdirected us and added a few extra km to the race. I was not impressed. All this to say – that I was nervous. All this for a 10km. I don’t even recall being this nervous before racing Boston.
Expectations. I ran a really solid race last year, and realistically felt that I would be hard hard pressed to match last year’s time. And my plan for this year’s race, had been vague – see how I feel, and enjoy the race. But a friend of mine called me on it – said that there was no reason I shouldn’t go out and race the race, whatever the result may be, instead of half – assing it. No reason I shouldn’t lay it all on the line. He was indignant – you’re just going to go out and jog it and bottle it up aren’t you? It would seem that my friends had more confidence in my running abilities than I did.
I was uncertain. I’ve done zero track work this year – and haven’t run a road long run since oh – April. But I figured, I have been running long on the trails. And I owed it to myself to see what I could do regardless if I thought I would run a pb. And if I had any doubts about how to race, when I toed the start line, the competitor in me kicked in. No jogging allowed.
No fanfare, a gun went off, and suddenly we were moving
I’d started a bit too far back and almost tripped over a runner right after the start line. I did some weaving and found open space. I ran the first km in 4:05km. Whoops. I reminded myself that there were 9km to go.
The course was run in reverse this year (thank you construction) which meant the nice downhill at the start of the race was followed by a NASTY uphill for the end of each 5km loop. I kept telling myself to run a smart race – and not to kill myself in the first km. I found some people to draft off of, but was mindful of the pace I needed to maintain. As I slogged up a nice long incline towards the end of the first 5km loop, 5km runners/walkers were still on course – walking three abreast. Not impressed. I squeezed past two of them unapologetic, and continued the climb. Round one was nearly done. I hit the half way mark in 21:18 – a minute faster than I hit it last year. Oops.
As if on my cue, my legs started to protest – I let my self slow the pace for a few steps and then eased into race pace again. I reminded myself that 10km was supposed to hurt – and if I didn’t I wasn’t doing it right. I tried to count the people ahead of me – directly in my line of sight. I caught up with a girl running a solid pace. I ran behind her for a bit – but pulled ahead and didn’t look back.
I was afraid to look back. I caught up to a gangly guy, with earphones jammed in and swearing as we rounded the last stretch into east mall. Passed him too.
I took a cup of water from a little boy at a water station, and promptly dropped it. The boy looked dismayed. With a quick “sorry!” over my shoulder I ran on, cursing myself for wasting a perfectly good cup of water on a very warm summer evening.
I counted off markers – and people I passed (and more importantly, people who didn’t pass me). I could hear screams as we neared the final turn into the finish area. My legs were tired (d’oh) but I sprinted and the sight of green grass has never been welcoming. I could hear my run club members screaming as I ran the final stretch to cross the finish line.
Clock time 43:00. chip time 42:54. I was very happy (not a pb, but a lot closer than I thought I would be – 30 seconds off). Good enough for 7/206 in my division, and 8/334 women overall. It appears that improving my 10km time at this point is going to take some work. Time to hit the track…