On race morning I woke up early and had oatmeal. This is a big deal because I’ve been struggling to eat before long runs and races so I figured I’d give the oatmeal a go and see how my stomach felt. Fortunately the race is only about 15 minutes from where I live so I got good parking and immediately headed to the porta potties. As a shout out to the race organizers, they did a fantastic job of having TONS of porta potties. (After my first “evacuation” I was good to go. Oatmeal is my new pre-race breakfast.)
At around 6:45 I headed over to the start line with my Tribal Multisport teammate Kelly. As we stood there talking, without warning, it seemed the race had started and I said, “Well that was fast.” Only to realize that it was a false start. It seems the front of the pack tried to take off with a charity group. We all chuckled and backed up. Then, right at 7 AM we heard the horn and were off.
Kelly took off like lightning and I told myself to relax and take it easy. I’m not really racing this, I told myself. Before the first mile was over my friend Lee ran up next to me and she and I ran our second mile over the first bridge at 8:38. I immediately told her I was going to slow down and it was hot. So off she went and I slowed it down. I was passed several times at this point.
I ran along and tried to keep it just under a 9:00/mile. I didn’t want the 2:00 pace group to catch me because I felt like coming under 2:00 was a good enough goal for the day. I allowed myself to pick up the pace around six when I took a gel. Part of the course runs through a “park” called Sand Key. It sort of sucks in there because there isn’t much of a breeze but it was good to see the runners in front and behind of me for the first time. I saw the 1:50 pace group up ahead and the 2:00 behind so I felt fine with where I was positioned.
At mile eight I felt really good. It must have been the gel. I cheered for others and smiled and commented to spectators about their signs. There were plenty of aid stations and I drank water at every single one. I was having fun and started passing a few women here and there. Then I hit the 3rd bridge and passed a few more ladies. I always have the goal of running up the bridges. Even if I’m not sure what I was could be classified as a run.
I started getting hot right after I got over this bridge. Fortunately this is my home turf so I knew every crack in the sidewalk and every landmark and exactly how far I had to go to get to that final bridge. I continued to play pass that person to motivate myself along.
It started getting tough around mile 10. I think the “goal of running up the bridges” (Yes, I did just quote myself.) was starting to sink in. My quads were quite grumbly and on the way up bridge number four I slowed significantly. As I Three Little Pig Wolfed (huffed and puffed) my way up the bridge I spotted a familiar figure at the top. The S.O. was out on his recovery run and was running the race backward to catch me. I was really happy to see him.
It was all downhill after that and the S.O. tried to give me coaching tips as we ran but I told him to hold those until after the race. Heh.
I saw the finish line and picked up the pace. I came in at 1:55 and some change. I do love the sparkly iron girl medals, even if I did wear black in a sea of pink.
|I’m saying “Why is it so hot?” Bridge behind me can suck it.|
After the race I grabbed a banana and talked with some friends. I had a major hankering for pancakes so the S.O. and I headed off to a local diner.
|Post race “ussie”|
So here’s the thing about this race…
I quit before I even started. In texting with Coach Jon after the race I told him I didn’t race it and he asked why. I explained it was hot and there were bridges. When he told me “we treat every race as a race and give our best effort” I got offended. I responded with my reasoning that I thought starting a race at “good race conditions” pace would have been a mistake. And like a good coach he saw right through me. His response was spot on. He agreed on adjusting efforts based on weather conditions but not giving up all together before I even started. So yeah, I did let those factors get to me and those lingering thoughts of Gate River made me wimp out and use the bridges and heat (which wasn’t exactly un-race-able weather) as an excuse.
So after thinking about it last night I gave in this morning and told him the truth. (Even though I’d venture a guess he knew that already. Dammit.) I’m still working on run confidence and I think I may have left it somewhere in Chattanooga.
I supposed admitting your problem is the first step. I’ve got a couple months to find and regain this run confidence and I intend to do it. If I have to start writing mantras on my arms and listen to the Rocky Theme on repeat then so be it. I just need someone to dress up as an old man and squirt water in my face as I run. Any takers?