Thursday, June 7, 2018


Last Saturday I made a game day decision to run the Winchester Town Day Road Race.  According to my training plan I needed to get 8 miles in anyway, so I figured it would be good for me to mix it up and throw some faster miles in, you know, for fun and all.  The really nice thing about this event is that the start is down at our middle school track which is just a mile from my house and thus no planes, trains or automobiles involved.  I so rarely get to race close to home and feel like it's good to take advantage of the opportunity when it arises.  But, that said, we had a lot going on in our household Saturday morning, so as of Friday night I still wasn't sure I could get all my ducks in a row and get the race in, too.


Fortunately, the race didn't start until 8:30 so I was able to just roll out of bed at my usual time, walk the dog and enjoy my coffee at a leisurely pace when we got back.  At around 7:30, after crossing some t's and dotting some i's and checking in with my husband I decided I could probably get the race in and get back in time to do everything else that needed to be done.  I ran down to the track carrying nothing but cash for my registration in my pocket and using that first mile as my warmup.  You can't get much easier than that.  I have a love/hate relationship with shorter races; short being anything under a half marathon.  I love them because they're over quickly.  I hate them because they are monumentally harder for me.  I do them because they are good for me; speed being something I am always working on.  I had checked in with my coach earlier in the week, letting him know the details and confirming that I wouldn't worry about pace or time given that I've been a little rusty and beat down lately.  There were two options for the runners; either 2.5 miles or 5.  I opted for the 5 mile loop since I needed to run 8 total for the day and I wanted to just get it done in one fell swoop.


The five mile course was two 2.5 mile laps, and the first 1.5 miles were on a steady incline.  Super fun.  For obvious reasons, I wasn't thrilled about the route but my coach thought it was actually a good thing because it would ensure that I truly let go of any time goal and just put in a solid effort, something I rarely do.  By the time I headed over to the track it was already in the 70s and the humidity was rising steadily, which I knew was going to make things even more awesome.  I found the sign up table and filled out my form as sweat rapidly dripped down my face on account of my run down.  That was a little awkward for both me and the volunteer helping me as I was having trouble both holding the pen and avoiding getting the page wet.  Another benefit of the local race is not having to arrive hours before the race start.  Once I'd gotten my number, I putzed around a little more, chatted with friends, did a few strides and then it was go-time.  Or not.  Actually, the woman in charge began the announcements right at 8:30 when the race was set to begin.  So, yeah, the downfall of the smaller race being that things don't really have to start right on time.  At 8:35 were were still in the middle of the national anthem and I started to get a little fidgety.  I needed to be home by 9:30 in order to get my older daughter to a bat mitzvah and my younger daughter to a soccer game so my window of opportunity to race and then be back in time to deal was rapidly closing.  I considered bailing all together but I was already there and at that point really itching to go.  Plus, I was still going to have to bust a move and get the run in, race or no race so I just sat tight.  Finally, we all made our way onto the track and then at 8:40 they sent us on our way.  Between the heat and the hill that I was about to climb I knew to take it easy and just cruise.  So, up I rolled to the first water station which happened to be in my neighborhood.  Naturally, I high-fived all my neighbors who were standing outside watching.  That was fun.  Then up I climbed again to the second, much smaller but steeper hill.  And that was all in the first mile.  Which is right about when I realized that this 5 miler might feel a bit longer than I had originally planned given the circumstances.  We finally got some downhill as we closed out the first lap.  Those who were running the 2.5 mile race turned to finish on the track.  I won't lie and tell you I didn't consider turning myself and just cutting it short.  I know several others likely did, in fact, do this as the volunteers had told us we could decide on the spot and it was clearly the smarter option at that moment.  I was now completely overheated and insanely uncomfortable.  But, at the same time, I had already committed so on I went, with the 12 other people who had decided to run the full 5 miles.  Just kidding.  It was more than 12.  But not many.  Around the corner and up I went again for my second lap.  Now I was fully on the pain train.  I was not looking at my watch.  There was no point.  I was excited to see my neighbors again, though this time I was not quite as chipper as I'd been the first time I'd passed them.  But it did give me a nice little boost of energy to hear them cheering.  I knew that once I got to mile 3 I was pretty much done with hills and could coast to the finish so I climbed on.  As I came down toward the final mile someone took a photo which I later entitled 'Tomato Face' for obvious reasons.

I cruised though the final mile and then turned to finish on the track which now felt like a giant frying pan.  I rolled across the line and then immediately grabbed two waters, pouring one on my head and chugging the second while gasping for air.  Not pretty.  But the work was done and I was pleased that I'd powered through.  I had no idea what my time was and I didn't make an effort to find out.  For once, it totally didn't matter.  All that mattered was that I'd pushed hard, had fun (kind of), spent some time in my own community for a change and made the whole thing work with my family's schedule.  BOOM.  My friend Sara, who is also my neighbor, met up with me post-race and joined me for an easy cool down back to our hood.  Fortunately I'd finished with enough of a buffer to make it back and get my girls to their activities with a little extra time to spare.  Which I used to get iced coffee before Grace's game.  Obviously.  


I later found out that I'd run a 33:11 which is a decent time for me all things considered.  I also was able to get my split at the 2.5 mile mark and learned that I'd run the second half faster than the first which I was psyched about as going out too fast is a common blunder for me.  In the end, it's not the most exciting race report.  They can't all be showstoppers but they all have their takeaways.  In this case, run local, ignore the watch, embrace the ugly and enjoy the rest of your day.  

Listen to this:
Catch the Movement - The Little Ones

1 comment:

  1. 360° Dynamic Speed Resistance and Assistance Trainer Kit 8 Ft. Strength 80 Lb Running Resistance Bands Training Bungee Band (Waist). Solo or Partner. Multi-Sport Maximize Power, Strength, Speed! FREE eBook!