Thursday's out and back was tough on broken sleep. Friday and Saturday, I got out for the daily mile to keep the streak alive and legs fresh for Stu's.
Stu's 30kIf you don't know Stu's, google it. You can also read last year's race report. Either way, let me put this out there -
Maybe it was the hills that made me sick to my stomach Sunday morning. Maybe it was the virus. The hours leading up to the race were, shall we say, less than ideal. I felt depleted going into the race, but happy not to be running, to the bathroom.
By the time I grabbed my number, ran back to the car, and made my way back into registration, it was nearly time to run. I saw Doug had set up a NERTS/Dailymile corner, complete with sign. It was great to see some familiar faces in the gym. We had a few minutes to chat before walking over to the start.
GoalsI like having multiple goals for a race. My primary goal for every race is to run happy and complete the race. Then I set a couple of goals. One that should be doable given where I'm at, and one that should be a bit of a stretch.
- Run happy and finish the race
- Try to beat last year's time of 3:17
- Try to beat 3:00
The first 14I started off running with fellow NERT Alett. We talked a little for the first mile or so and then I drifted back. I'd make up time on the down hills and be back with Alett. The first 14 were mostly like this. Around mile 7, I slowed down in preparation for the longest up hill stretch of the course. I felt surprisingly good after 10 miles, and was even offering up high fives to the kids around mile 11.
East Side MeltdownI had been consistently around 09:30 for the first 13 (09:13, 09:25, 09:20, 08:59, 09:00, 09:26, 09:18, 09:31, 09:37, 09:51, 09:29, 09:36, 09:23). Mile 14 came in at 09:55.
I was feeling good. Goal #1 met thus far. I was well on pace to beat my time from last year. I started playing with the numbers.
OK, I'm a third of the way there in under two hours. Even if I run a 10:00 flat for the next 10k, I'll still come in under 3:00.
In mile 15, I began to notice that my left achilles tendon and lower calf were really tight. I was also battling a small bout of side stitches. I slowed my pace to try and breathe through it. Eventually I slowed to a walk. Then I had to stretch the leg for a few seconds. Fifteenth mile - 12:29. I started to run again. The calf would bark. I would try to breathe through it. Eventually I decided it smarter to just take some walk breaks. Mile 16, 17: 11:09, 10:21. By the time I got to the last two hills, I was taking my time. No point in injuring myself. Mile 18: 13:40.
The last bit up the hill and to the finish, I was happy to get back sub-10 at 09:45. This was due solely to the fact that I had some NERTs and family cheering me in at the finish. I turned it on and came sprinting across the finish line.
Afterwards, a group of us went to a local restaurant for some post-race food and beer. Guinness was listed as an appetizer at this establishment, which earns extra points in my book.
Thanks to Melody and Sandy for coming out. The kids had fun and it was great to capture some of the great NERT faces. You can see the pictures here.
I finished strong, and ended up with a 10 minute PR over a hilly course on a rainy afternoon with me not feeling 100%. I'm happy with that. Did I mention it was day 118? =) Ran 37 miles on the week. I'll definitely need to watch the achilles and do some better pre/post stretching. But all things considered, not a bad week.
I'll leave you with a funny coincidence. Earlier this week, I shared a joke image -
Notice my number from the race?
Until next time - run, run, run.