Alternate title: Reality check
Weather.com is full of shit. It had called for light rain during the race on Sunday. Instead, we got bright blue skies and a hell of a lot of sunshine. Hydration became an issue but at least I brought along sunglasses or I would have fried my retinas.
This 7K last year was my first race ever. All I recalled of it was lovely scenery of the grounds and lake and some smallish rolling hills in the second half of the course.
My memory is crap.
There were three huge-ass hills and a ton of gradual inclines all over the damn place. Also, a third of the race was on trails, so Princess Twinkletoes here had to be extra careful with her footing lest she hit a tree root with her gigantic clumsy foot and take a header.
To put it plainly, this race sucked. Three friends and I took on this course, with two of us sticking together until the halfway point. Up to this point we had both remarked how much all the hills bit, but she just had an easier time in taking them on and pulled ahead of me. She was in my sights the rest of the race, but I just could not catch up to her.
What really hit me hard was that I had no finishing kick. In every race I’ve run to date, including the marathon, I’ve always been able to sprint to the finish. Yesterday I had absolutely nothing.
My friend finished 45 seconds ahead of me. I’m super proud of her as this was her first road race in almost ten years. I don’t begrudge her her success, I just hate the fact that I couldn’t keep up with her.
Prior to yesterday, I was hoping for a 10 minute per mile race pace. After the first grueling hill, I prayed for a sub-11 minute pace. I got it but barely. My watch said I finished in about 46:45 which includes the 30 seconds it took to cross the start line. Sadly this was a non-chipped timed event. To really sink in how bad my pace was during the hills, I ran the first non-hilly mile in 9:45. Everything went to hell in a hand basket after that.
Sucktasticness aside, I PR’d by over three minutes. While that’s fantastic, the results have helped to highlight a part of me that I am not proud of. It’s not the fact that I’m slower than ditch water. It’s the fact that I hate being this slow but I do nothing about it yet still expect to see improvement.
My ultimate goal is to see some single digit mile pace numbers in my regular runs. And by single digit I mean 9. And by 9 I mean 9:59.
Since I’m finally sick of my own bitching, I’ve devised a plan to help me achieve this goal. Bitches, I’m finally going to incorporate some speedwork into my routine. Revolutionary, you say? You betcha! (Or, you know, not so much.)
Here at Diggin’ It, it’s all about baby steps. My habit of trying to do everything at once and then failing miserably will not repeat itself here. I’m starting small and building slowly. And I’m going to do it in my own weird-ass way.
There’s a park I run in often which has three loops. The smallest is 0.9 miles, the middle 1.1 miles and the largest is 1.4 miles. My plan is to re-incorporate tempo runs into my weekly running. With the requisite warm-up and cool down mile, I will attempt to run the 0.9 mile loop in a sub 10 minute/mile pace. I will do this once a week until I am successful. When I’ve achieved this goal, I will move on to the next loop, etc, etc until I can run a 5K distance in an average sub-10 minute pace.
After doing this for a few weeks, I hope to be disciplined enough to add in some 800 repeat sessions, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew right now, so that’s staying on the backburner for the moment.
My first attempt at this will be tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes on Wednesday.
And just so you don’t think I’m a total Debbie Downer, my friends and I did have a good time overall yesterday. One friend had never raced before. She walked/ran her way to the finish and was only barely beaten by the guy in the banana costume while the other friend was running her longest distance ever and finished just a mere two and half minutes behind me. It was a wonderful day and we celebrated with a calorie-packed cream tea afterward. Nothing like a scone slathered in clotted cream and jam to soothe the soul. Or clog the arteries.
Blenheim Palace was also playing host to a movie crew yesterday too. Apparently they’re filming Gulliver’s Travels there right now. Sadly, there is no one stalk-worthy for me to trail after, but maybe that’s for the best.
All right, that’s definitely more than enough of my babbling for one day. I hope all the moms enjoyed a great mother’s day weekend. Here’s to a non-sucky week ahead for all of us.