Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Racing Season Initiation

Well the 2011 Racing Season has started out for me as somewhat of a mixed bag.  Yesterday, thanks to a  change in schedule, I was able to race the Tom King Classic Half-maration.  This was my first year running it, and thanks to a fortunate alignment of the stars and planets, we had pretty decent weather this year.  In years prior, it has been cold and/or rainy.  Yesterday it was a sunny, but windy, 58 degrees with the temps climbing up into the 70's by midday.  I was pumped to be racing again but also tense and unsure as I was going into this race fairly undertrained.  I was cocky enough to believe that my prior training and overall fitness might land me a PR, but in my heart, I knew that I just didn't have the mileage or endurance yet to roll out an awesome race.  It was this nervous anticipation that sent me to the "little runner's room" several times before the race and which I assume led to my undoing.  My plan was to start off with 8:00/mi pace for the first couple miles and then work down from there to 7:50's for 4 miles, then 7:45's for 4 miles and 7:40's for the last 3.1 miles.  This actually was a decent plan, and I was able to pull it off for the most part.  At mile 6 I noticed that my pace had picked up steadily to 7:40 for that mile, and thinking that was too fast to maintain, I tried backing off.  Miles 7-9 were definitely more reasonable with a 7:43, 7:46 and 7:45.  It was at mile 10 that things fell apart.  I was starting to feel the cramps set into my calves, and by the time I transitioned into mile 11, I had a nasty side stitch that was threatening to tear the whole thing apart.  I sucked it up, called myself every conceivable bad word in the dictionary, and tried to regain my pace.  By that time, the damage was done, I was dehydrated and I eked out a miserable 8:17 for mile 11.  I pulled it together to get a 7:55, 7:37 and 1:27 for the last 2.1 miles but I was moving on sheer hate for my weakness and stubbornness to finish.  In hindsight, I was still too slow in the middle miles for mile 11 to have made much difference, but in my race clouded brain, mile 11 was the one that did me in.  I ended up finishing with a 1:43:07, 7:53/mi pace.  No PR but I was darn close (1:42:00 last year).  So considering that I could have used more mileage training, I can't really complain about my results.  The day was a bit hotter than expected, I pee'd way too much before the race, and I needed more training, but I only missed my PR by 1:08 minutes.  Not too shabby for my first race of the season.

On a final note, the really cool thing about running in my hometown is that I get to race/run with fellow local bloggers/celebrities (Most of the people I follow seem like blogging celebs to me), some of which I consider good friends.  For instance, I saw Donna, whose blog is (Mis)adventures in Running.  She has had an amazing running career transforming herself from a couch potato to a running coach/fitness guru/motivator/inspiration in just under 4 years.  I used to work with her husband in Clarksville, and not only has she inspired me with her progress, but she's impressed me by how many converts she's managed to pull into running.  She had a fair contingent of her running pupils taking a shot at the race.  I saw Melanie, who writes Life is a Marathon.  While I don't know her personally, I've followed her blog for a couple of years.  She seems amazingly friendly and in January, she did the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World (something I'm hoping to do in 2012).  I saw her prior to the race and at mile 2, I managed the nerve to tell her that I enjoyed her blog as I passed by.  Finally, I saw my friend Jim, who writes Run for Dori.   He helped coach my son's basketball team last year, and he is a good guy for someone who is so tall and imposing.  His wife, Dori, is fighting leukemia, and he has used running to raise money and draw awareness to causes to fight and cure cancers.  Whenever I think about how much I've accomplished, I think about what Jim has done to use running to really help others and build a community of support.  So to my friends and fellow bloggers, let me say that it was really cool to share my experience with y'all yesterday.  Thanks!

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