Sometimes you go into a race knowing that several variables are against you, but you still push hard to do your best and reach for the goal you’ve set for yourself. This week has been a tough week for me in regards to work, life in general, and my running. I’ve been experiencing some soreness in my right achilles and calf that I cannot seem to work out, no matter how much I massage it, ice it, soak in the tub, take ibuprofen, or use icy hot. On top of that, my insomnia is back, and I’ve not been sleeping well. My run Wednesday showed how horrible it can be to run when not having slept at all, nor rested between runs, as I clearly needed. Then in comes Mother Nature, with her offspring, Sandy. Thanks for the wind today, Sandy- it was brutal, not fun, and so strong that it made me kick myself several times.
With all this in mind, I started with a 55-57 minute time goal, and didn’t want to start off too strong for fear of burning out in this race because of all previously mentioned variables. It didn’t matter. I ran with two of my running buddies today, and the adrenaline and crowd from being in a race propelled us forward to a 9 minute mile for the first mile. We continued this pace and somehow managed to be at 26 minutes and some change at the 3 mile marker. I was getting burned out from all the wind, and was having a hard time being consistent, much less running a straight path. I skipped the first water station since I didn’t need it, and I honestly did not want to waste the time. It was crazy to me to see the people from corral 8 coming around the corner to approach mile marker 1 when we were bypassing mile marker 3. How could we possibly be that fast when the corrals were released approximately a minute apart?
As we approached the end of Pacific Avenue, the wind picked up so much that I had to duck my head to even push forward because there was so much resistance against me. I slowed down tremendously at this point as well because I knew I just couldn’t give anymore without draining the tank for the remainder of the race. This is where I managed to kick myself several times because the wind pushed my foot over constantly as I picked each one up and put it down.
I couldn’t have been more relieved to turn the corner from 40th and Atlantic onto the boardwalk to get away from the head on winds. The winds were blowing across me, which was much better than against me, and I could breathe and push myself til the end. Once I hit the 40th Street turn, I pushed with everything I had left in the tank to out and out race the remainder of the distance. I ran past the last water station, grabbed a water cup, squished it, sipped, spit it out, and threw the cup all within seconds. No time to waste in my opinion! They had the ‘candy corner’ at the race again, and my running buddies told me to bypass it, which was my plan all along. Again, no need to stop and waste time. I feel like such a running snob saying that, but time is what matters when you’re pushing yourself towards a goal, and I certainly didn’t want to waste it by weaving around all the people stopping at every station.
I didn’t dare look at my watch at this point because I knew it’d only make me mad. Right here is where I wish I’d allowed myself to look. If I had looked, I don’t think I’d be typing about today’s race with serious disappointment on failing to meet my goal. I got to the last block from the finish line, and gave what I had left to sprint across that finish line. I finished in 58:16. My goal was not met, BUT I did PR from last year’s race of 1:00:21, by a solid 2 minutes and 5 seconds. It was a bittersweet race, but a part of my training for the ultra no less.
I think about how far I have come since I started doing road races 5 years ago, and am floored sometimes by the fact that my 13-14 minute miles are now in the 9 minute range. I’m starting to teeter with the 8 minute mark, and I’d love it if I could be more consistent with the 9-9:10 minute per mile ratio during my long runs. Despite training for the ultra, I have a time goal of being under 2:00 for Shamrock, and I foresee it happening if this kind of training persists!
Overall, it was a great race, and I am thankful for my running buddies, Rachael and Frank, for sticking it out with me today! Great race to both of you and THANK YOU for being my constant supporters!
Live. Love. Run. Passionately! ❤