I looked for some half marathons, but most of them fell on dates we were going to head out of town. Then, I found one of the oldest run races in the Valley, the Runner's Den Classic. This was my very first 10k almost 10years ago, and it was the race that gave me back my running confidence 2 years ago. It's flat, fast and fun. Unfortunately, they changed the race to a 5miler or 5k instead of 10k, but for the most part the race was the same course.
My plan was to do a semi-long ride Saturday, but keep the effort and HR low and save my legs for the run. I didn't know what kinda time to shoot for so I just made one up. 7:30pace. I've never run a 7:30 pace in any race so I definitely just pulled that out of my a@@.
Saturday am I drove down to the gym to meet for the Sat am Gainey ride. It was cold and cloudy. I usually ride my bike down there then just peel off from the group at the end and head home on my own vs driving down there cause I feel like it's a waste to load up my bike and drive 6miles when I can just ride it. However, it was cold and I didn't want to start any earlier than 9.
Unfortunately I think everyone else was either racing or sleeping in or being big old babies with the cold cause we left the gym with only 6 people. Our ring leader, P showed up all sniffling and sick, but he toughed it out and still rode about 45mins out with us before turning around. There was a new guy that looked pretty fit. Calves the size of my QUADS. A skinny older european gentlemen that I had never seen before, another guy that I rode with the weekend before and then G. G hasn't been riding with us lately cause he's training with another team and racing. Apparently he wanted to take it easy today?
Long story short, my idea of keeping my HR low and legs at ease did NOT so much work out. I eventually did peel back on my own at one point when G decided I should sit on his wheel and draft going up Pima at 21+mph. HR was about 15beats higher than I wanted it and legs were screaming. 2 of the guys stayed with me and G and the European rider sped away up to the towers/turnaround where we met them.
I took 1 e21 pill at 1hr and the other at the top where we met up. I also fueled up with a snickers bar to get me back down. I knew these boys were going to push me to my limits to stay with them for the 30+mile descent (a few flats and rollers, but mostly down). Sure enough, I was right. The guys had between 50-75lbs on me so as long as I stayed right on their wheel I could get good and tucked in for a great draft. My legs were still working to keep the pace, but I could keep my HR low.
To give you an idea of how fast the way home was… 2:05 up, 1:15 down. Yah, it was FAST. I figured my race was shot, but I was going to do what I could to still have a good run.
When I got home I took my trashed legs and put them in my 40something degree pool for 10mins. Then I spent the rest of the day in my Zoot recovery tights. I finished my plan off with 2 more e21 pills figuring I could use all the help I could think of! Salad, Pizza, a couple of beers & golden spoon dessert and I was fueled up and ready :-) Think Carbs people.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I got up did my regular PB toast & Spark and headed to the race site. Note to self: No need to show up over an hour early to a run race, even if you still have to register. I spent an hour in my car staying warm and finally got out about 20mins before the race to warm up, use the porta john and eat a quick gel before the start.
The race is basically a perfect flat square. There were timing clocks every mile, although I was relying on my Garmin it was still nice to see. I started out with my plan to stay as close to the 7:30 pace as I could. I did put on my HR monitor to give my new coach some data (yes, new coach….more on that later - you'll have to wait!!!) even though I haven't worn it in a race in years. I wasn't really watching the HR, just had it in a tiny window and looked just a couple of times. It started out sub 160 and after my 1 every time I checked it was pretty much 170-172.
I was surprised at how great the pace felt. My legs, although a little heavy were not sore or too tired, in fact never once did my legs put a damper on my performance. About 10mins into the race, I found one of the guys that contributed to the smash fast ride Saturday. And, I passed him thank you very much! :-) paybacks a bitch!
From miles 2.5-5 I found myself in a mix with 2 other girls. I stayed in front for the most part, but then they picked up the pace so I decided to tuck in behind them to get a draft for a bit. They slowed the pace just a bit so I pulled back out in front until about mile 5 when they got another wind. I did everything I could to stay with them, but these girls were strong. In the last mile I don't think my pace ever went above a 7:10, and in the last LONG half mile to the finish line one of them darted way out ahead. I pushed with whatever I had left running a sub 7pace and hitting my limit. Gasping for air, stomach uneasy I hit the finish a full minute faster than my goal.
I didn't care who I was in front of or where I placed in my age group. I had a great run, I paced really well and It felt fantastic (once I caught my breath and avoided puking)! I gave the 2 girls I had been running with high 5s and thanked them for the push!
I finished in 36:29 & 7:18 pace. 4/25 30-34 (oa women was 1 in AG so maybe got pushed up to 3 but didn't stick around). 19/182 women.
If nothing else, it was nice to feel somewhat like a runner for the morning :-) Minus the 10hrs of training leading up to the race.
Wanna try out some of the amazing electrolyte supplement that helped me recover from the week, and hard ride just 20hrs before? Let me know and I'll give you a sample, or if you want to order them yourself use the code: dogmom for a 20% discount.