Sunday, October 28, 2012

Race the Roof 8k

I cannot get over the drastic change in weather we've been seeing! Something about the chilly air in the morning really sets me up for feeling confident about my race.

Our course for the 8k
Saturday, I ran the Race the Roof 8k. There were a million wonderful things setting this up to be an awesome experience: the race proceeds went to Habitat for Humanity, which is a cause I actually care about; the course took us through the paths and boardwalks of a gorgeous gated community; and my sister came up to run the race with us, to name a few!

This week, volleyball started. I coach the girls team at my school, so I've been doing all kinds of squats, jumps, and lunges with the girls. Needless to say, my quads have been killing me this week. This made me a bit nervous, but K and I had run an easy 2.5 the evening before race-day, so I knew I could run through the pain. Plus, since using my new foam roller and breaking in my new Kayanos, my legs and knees have felt truly awesome.

The race started out nicely except for a couple snags. We didn't have time to do a warm-up lap, so we started out a little stiff. Also, even though I used the bathroom twice before we ran, I had to pee within the first mile, and the feeling didn't go away until mile 3 or so. It was distracting, but I couldn't bring myself to peel off and pop a squat, so I just dealt with it; I do think it messed with my pace early on.

We actually got a shot running together!
 M and I ran the first couple miles together, keeping a nice mid-9 pace. As usual, I kept an eye on a few people running around/near us, and took particular note of Man in Orange Shirt, Man with Dog, and a couple who looked familiar from previous 5ks. S (my sister) had fallen behind us a bit, but at a corner turn at the 2-mile mark, I was able to catch her eye and wave, so I knew she was doing well. There was something exhilarating and satisfying about knowing my sister was running this race with us. There is something really rewarding in that. I know that those of you with siblings will kind of get it; finding something you both love and can really bond over together - something that is good for you - is indescribable.

The course was so beautiful, M took a pic while running!
M took off ahead of me at that point, and I ran the rest of the race pretty much alone. For the most part, it was an easy and beautiful course. We ran through tree-lined golf cart paths and over perfectly springy boardwalks. The foliage and slow sunrise made for a gorgeous ambiance. There was a stretch of road around mile 4 where there weren't many trees, and that was my hardest spot. The wind was intense; I had to cup a hand over my mouth so I could breathe. (I've always had trouble with headwinds; it's one reason I don't love rollercoasters.) It was at this point that a few runners who had been tailing me were able to overtake me, but I just told myself to relax and be true to my pace. I only had about a mile to go.

After this stretch, which only lasted about half a mile, we were back on the community streets with houses blocking the wind, and I was feeling great. I still wasn't experiencing knee pain, and my feet felt like they've never felt before. No fatigue, no tingles, no aches. I came to a second boardwalk with about half a mile to go, and it was here - with a nice change in terrain and the slight bounce of the boards - that I got my second wind. I was able to overtake Man in Orange Shirt with almost no effort.

K, me, and S pre-race
At the last tenth, K was waiting for me with her daughter. She called out, "It's a blind finish; you're almost there!" and that, as usual, got my sprint going. I passed a couple (the same I passed at the Dr. Piper race at the finish) and forced myself to catch up with Man With Dog just as we neared the finish line. He gave a laugh as he saw me coming, and I laughed back as he picked up his pace as well. I nearly cackled when I crossed the finish line, I was so proud of that final performance. We finished neck-and-neck; I wanted to thank him for the extra motivation, but I was too embarrassed.

My finishing time was 48:05 and my goal was 50 minutes or less, so I'm really pleased! I'm happy to see that I've been able to hold a steady, fast pace (for me) for the last few races. This is our last scheduled race before the Half on Nov. 18, so I'm glad it was a good one.

As far as placing goes, I was 87/154 overall, 40/88 women, 8/14 in my age division. Pretty average, but that's not surprising.  If anything, I'm once more showing my consistency.

S came in right behind me, just a dozen seconds later. She had been able to run the whole thing and felt good. It was a successful day for everyone!

This was also a good race because of the festivities afterward. K's daughter R ran in the tot-trot. She was definitely the youngest out there, but no one can resist a tiny toddler running her hardest, and she won the most high-fives and a ribbon, which she is very proud to display in her room. (M and I babysat for her last night, and she wanted to show me where she had hung the ribbon - she's sure to follow in K's footsteps!) There was a delicious breakfast buffet afterward, raffle prizes, and pumpkin painting. We stayed for some of the events and then headed home, happily revisiting moments from the race.
All the runners post-race.

I think it took me too long to warm up for this distance. I still prefer the 10k, but you rarely see an 8k so I'm glad we did it. Now it's back to real training as the Half looms less than a month away. I'm trying not to let my head get cloudy with nerves. No matter what, it will be more successful than my first, and I just have to remember that I'm not competing with anyone but myself. This isn't about friends and their times and their accomplishments; it's about me.

And right now, I'm feeling pretty damn good.


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