Virginia is for Lovers 14k and some more miles…

I can’t believe how fast February is going by.  In a way, I am happy about it because it means that I am getting that much closer to sunshine, warmer weather, and less layers of running gear.  In another way, it means that the Shamrock Marathon, and my inevitable nervousness about the upcoming race is creeping into my mind as I am doing my runs, as I am driving to work, as I am talking to others about it, and even into my dreams.  I worry I won’t be ready, or I won’t be able to run (Knock on wood) or that something will make the race horrible (i.e. weather).  I know it’s normal to be nervous, but it still doesn’t help my fears.  I thought about the race a lot this morning as I was running the Virginia is for Lovers 14k. 

I know Coach won’t be happy with my time from today because instead of running it at marathon pace, I raced it.  Sorry Coach.  The rebellious streak in me wanted to race it so badly, it took over my footsteps from the instant I crossed the starting line! Let me preface my race re-cap by saying that I ran 14 miles yesterday at an average of 9:35 minute per mile pace.  I felt pretty good after taking some much needed time off to literally just sleep most of this past week.  I could feel myself starting to go down the path of being sick, and desperately needed a physical and mental break.  This turned into a single run on Thursday of last week for 6 miles.  Then came in the 14 miler, and I felt pretty good for having all that time off!

I knew it would be a cold race today because the weather had been predicted for low 20s for several days prior to now.  It held true since it was 28 when I arrived.  What I didn’t prepare for was how fast it would warm up once the sun came out.  I started getting hot around mile 2 when the sun started shining brightly, and mentally started kicking myself for wearing a lined compression top, a long sleeve top, and my winter running jacket.  I should’ve known better.  Live and learn, right?

At the starting line, I ran into one of the girls that has been running the Tidewater Striders Winter Distance Series along with me.  She asked me what my goal was, and I told her it was just to finish because I knew the paces would come (I really wanted to beat last year’s time… but didn’t dare say it)… I just didn’t know my rebellious streak would kick in when it did.  Coach had asked me to run the first 5ish miles around my marathon goal pace of 9:43 and then run the last 3.67 at whatever pace my heart desired.  Little did he know my heart desired to run the entire race way faster than 9:43. Madelyn kept pace with me the whole way today, and I am thankful for that because we both admitted that having someone to pace with helped us from slacking off when the feelings of being tired or pushing too hard crept in.

I am thankful for being a part of #RunChat’s Runbassadors because I was able to download an incredible RockMyRun remix track to listen to, and it kept me going for nearly 5 miles before it changed to a different song on my Nike+ app.  It really does make a difference what music you listen to when you run.  At the moments when I felt like I needed a breath, just for a minute, some new song would pop up in the remix, and I felt my head bobbing along with it, and the need to slow down would quickly dissipate.

I swear the race was longer than the 8.67 miles they told us it would be.  I tried to hug all the turns as close to the inside curve as I could, and really didn’t bob and weave that much since I got to start in Corral 1 (yippee!!!). I asked a few fellow HRR friends and some other runners what their total distance calculated was, and each said that it was somewhere around the 8.88 mile mark.  It’s not a lot past what the 14k was supposed to be, but it’s enough to throw off expected times with the added distance.  My Nike+ app calculated a total of 8.82 at a time of 1:19:26.  My official time by J & A Racing for the distance of the 14k (8.67 miles) was 1:18:45, with an average pace of 9:04.  Like I mentioned, it was only slight, but still noticeable. 

One thing I did notice today is that the more I know the route of any given race, the more antsy I get as I approach the last few miles.  I’m not a fan of the antsy part because I feel my muscles tense.  This makes me think maybe I should try more races that I have not tried before to keep the courses all a mystery until the day I run them.  And then again, maybe I’m just getting too much into my own head because I’m stressing about Shamrock.  Who knows.  Another solid weekend of running is done.  My feet feel all 23 miles, and are thankful for my rollie thingie and the lacrosse ball.  I am thankful for a much needed nap… oh and bread bowls!

Live. Love. Run. Passionately!

I had a fantastic race today.  I felt good even though I knew I was pushing past the pace I’ve been working on lately (9:43mm), but it was nice to just get out there and race.  I can’t believe I finished in the time I did after running 14 miles yesterday… I think it just proves that I am more ready than I thought for Shamrock.  Next weekend’s 20 miler will be the true tell-all. 

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