I had two goals going into this race. The first was to run a negative split. The second was to enjoy the first half of the race. These goals go hand in hand, but for me one could be met without the other. If I had been able to train more for this race I would have been more focused on setting a new PR. I knew that if I ran a smart race, it would be close.
I felt pretty tight when I woke up Saturday morning. My left heel was a little inflamed, and I knew that I should have spent more time with my foam roller earlier in the week. Something was pulling on something that was pulling on my achilles, but a good warm up and drills loosened me up enough for the race.
I entered the elite corral about 10 minutes before the start, said “hi” to a few other runners that I know, and “patiently” waited for the race to start. (Those few minutes before the start of a race feel so long.) Luckily after going over my race strategy one more time and turning on my GPS, the countdown started.
The start was fast, as expected, but I held back after roughly 400 meters. I had to keep reminding myself to run easy and let the other girls get ahead, so that I could catch them later. It was hard letting them get so far in the lead, but I knew that the hills in the second half of this race were no joke. So I held back, relaxed and thought NEGATIVE SPLIT, HAVE FUN!
In every race I run, I appreciate the volunteers and the cheer squads, but I am too wiped out to say “thank you” or to high five the kids with their hands out. But this time, I was on a mission to enjoy this half of the race. I gave high fives to a line of 10-15 kids and thanked the cheer squads, the musicians, and the volunteers.
Around mile 4, I started to focus. I had already broken away from a group of runners that were maintaining a pace that I didn’t want to stay at, but it was time to start catching people. I passed one guy around mile 5 right after running up a hill, and there were a few women in sight. The turns and the hills really broke up the last half of this course, and it was difficult to stay on pace. I can’t remember if this was before or after the hill that never ends, but one woman passed me in the last 5k of the race. She ended up passing two other women before the finish as well. I stayed strong up the final hills and focused on maintaining my pace.
I checked my watch and saw that I had less than 1.5 miles left. The event was in sight, but I knew I needed to be careful and not “kick” too early. I was close enough to one runner that I knew I could pass her if I finished strong. So when I saw the finish line, I opened up and finished one second ahead!
My official time was 1:02:08. 10th Place Overall Female! $250 and a gift card! But more importantly, I met both of my goals. I ran a negative split and had fun for the first half of the race. And really, it is not that I don’t enjoy the entire race. I love racing. It is just that for that first half I wasn’t enjoying and hurting at the same time!
Fresh 15k Success
One race down. Two to go!