My second race ever was completed on Saturday. I'd never considered doing a race report, but I think it's a good idea for the future. I often re-read my blog posts and learned a lot from things I otherwise would have forgotten about my training. So here goes!
On the days leading up to the race, I tried to take it easy. I ran 5 miles at a really fast clip on Wednesday, desperate to get in some 'higher mileage' before my 6 mile test, and then rested Th. & Fri. I think my quads were a little sore and tired from this on race day. I've learned that it's probably best to do a longer run a week before race day and keep the mileage much shorter in the days leading up to the race. This is a no-brainer, and part of every training plan ever, but sometimes we must learn these things for ourselves.
Friday night I fell asleep around 10 pm and subsequently woke up every two hours all night long. At 1 am I was sure it was morning, and almost put my contacts in before I looked at the clock! Funny - I felt rested and ready to go! At 6:20 I woke up, made coffee and peanut butter toast, got ready and we were in the car heading north at 7:00. I was completely undecided on what to wear right up until the race started, but left the house wearing black capris, my orange patagonia bra top, and my blue nike dri-fit warm top (best decision of the day), my rain jacket, and a north face fleece ear band. I also had on a pair of sweatpants that I decided to ditch before hitting the starting gates, which was also a really good idea.
It was COLD. And raining. Since this was only my second race I had no idea what to expect, but the start was much the same as last year - everyone runs WAY faster than me in the beginning. I guess I'm just a hard-ass when it comes to my pace, but I just didn't/couldn't imagine going fast just for the sake of going fast. Hmmm. About 1.5 miles down the road, at the 5k turnaround, it started hailing. Seriously hailing. It hurt. I was so glad I had my rain jacket on to protect my skin. Then the lightning and thunder started. Three big ones hit right next to us and scared the crap out of me. I think everyone was looking around waiting for someone else to quit, stop, or otherwise run for cover, but everyone just kept running!
When we hit the 2 mile mark I was Shocked. WHAT?! ONLY 2 MILES? I was in total disbelief. By this time the trail was covered in an inch of hail, we were completely frozen (most runners were much more poorly dressed for the elements than I was), and it continued to rain. I could not have imagined worse running weather. The only saving grace of the day was the lack of wind, which, in retrospect, is amazing considering the strength of the storm front we were facing. I trudged another mile to the 10k turnaround where Erin was spectating (alone - no surprise given the weather). I tossed him my now-drenched rain jacket as the weather seemed to be lightening. "Are you going to keep going??" he called out incredulously. Yup. He later told me that many of the 10k runners thanked him for being there. :-)
I was glad I ditched the jacket. My pants were already soaked, and my legs were really really cold. I ran a good pace to the 4 and 5 mile markers, and then my IT band started to really make itself known. It had hinted at tightness during mile 4, but I pulled my tights up to my thigh, thinking the cold, wet cloth against my knee was making ITB even tighter. I could actually feel it grinding against whatever it grinds against after mile 5, and it really slowed me down. It hurt. My legs felt like lead weights. Adding to this, both my shoes & socks were completely drenched and had probably gained 2 pounds each of water weight. This probably also threw off my ITB.
The final 1/2 mile stretch was a GRIND. I just put my head down and tried to think of other things. Then it started hailing again. Seriously? As I rounded the final corner and saw 54:xx on the timer, I definitely picked up my pace. 54:47, 4th place female in my age group. Woo Hoo! All I can say is I finished faster than last year, which is unbelievable considering the horrendous conditions.
I have nothing to compare the Whale Run to, but I really enjoy it. The t-shirts are cotton, the post-race snacks are apples and bananas, and the aid station is a card table with old ladies, dixie cups and water. There is no schwag bag, pre-race expo, or post-run massage booth. Not super-glam, but perfectly low-key.
E was really supportive and wonderful, & we enjoyed a delicious breakfast burrito and several cups of coffee at the Brewery while my legs thawed out. Jeans and a hoodie sweatshirt never felt so good! I went home and took a long hot epsom salt bath and spent the rest of the day stretching, foam rolling, eating and watching TV while the storm continued outside.
So....most people probably don't do 10k race reports, but I've got to start somewhere!