Saturday I raced the second race in the Magnuson 10K monthly series. I wasn't feeling very confident going into the race for a number of reasons. First off, I feel like my training has somewhat suffered since I started working full time. Each week I'm getting better at managing training with working 40 hours (though between commuting and my lunch break I'm actually 'at' work for 10-11 hours a day!). But come race morning, I felt like I hadn't gotten in the training I would have liked, since I really wanted to PR at this race again.
I was also discouraged by the outrageous wind I woke up to. Gusts of about 15mph had been blowing all night, and didn't seem to be weakening as the morning went on. The race started pretty late--10am--but the wind didn't die down until much later. Windy racing is always a struggle..but as I reminded myself at the start line, weather affects everyone in a race equally.
I tried to keep that perspective as we all shuffled towards the start line, hugging our arms and hopping up and down. The sun was out, but with the wind chill it was pretty darn cold. In fact, I was one of the only people out there in shorts. I was just glad I remembered to bring my gloves!
The gun went off, and I started out at a comfortable pace. My plan was to run the race like last time: comfortable for the first 5K, and push it in the second with whatever I have left. The first mile was cold and windy, so I made sure to keep the pace slow but steady. At the 1 mile marker, I felt great. Mile two was the hardest mile of the race. I kept expecting to see the mile marker but never did, and at one point I decided I must have passed it without realizing it. Well of course then a ways down the trail I actually did pass the mile 2 marker! That was rough, but I kept on. The third mile went a little better..smooth and fairly comfortable. I felt tired due to a poor night's sleep, but fine otherwise.
About 400m from the 5k point there is a short hairpin section that allows runners to pass each other and see who is running in front of them. At this point I saw a girl in a white scarf running about 45 seconds ahead of me. I thought maybe I could catch her, and hoped I could. But when I reached the hairpin and looked ahead, she was nowhere in sight.
At the 5K mark I deliberatly looked away from the time clock. At this point I still believed there was no way I could PR. But about a minute after passing through the halfway point curiosity got the better of me and I glanced at my watch to see 25:59. I couldn't believe it! I knew I was running slowly, but had no idea I was running that slow. I realized I had more left in my tank than I probably should, and had simply paced the first 5K poorly. I immediately picked up the pace. The fourth mile felt great--strong, fast, light. I passed a few guys and kept speeding up. the fifth mile I told myself 'just one more mile' and went for it. The girl with the white scarf was still nowhere to be seen, but I charged ahead, determined to at least finish in less than 50 minutes. At the hairpin again I saw her--finally!--only a few meters ahead. I tried to pass her going my pace but realized it would take too long. Then, as though I remembered I could run faster, I switched into a higher gear and sprinted past her, hoping to discourage her from trying to catch me. I held the sprint as best I could for the last 400m, got passed by two guys in the final meters, but was shocked when I saw 46:06 on the clock. a 40 second PR from last month, with limited training, 15mph winds, and a horrendously slow first 5k time. I must have run the second 5K in about 21:00-21:30, which would be a 5K PR for me. I was the first female finisher and 10th overall out of 96.
I'm pleased with my race overall, although it was probably one of my worst-paced races to date. I learned some good lessons and am excited to fight for another PR at the 3rd race in this great series!