I knew better. Even at the time I knew better.
I’ve been on holidays back to the US this last month, pretty much writing off 3 weeks of training. I ran once in my first week (the day I arrived to try and run the jet-lag out of my body on a fairly hot Southern California afternoon), three times my second week along the beaches of Orange County and once in Ohio, all fairly easy paced runs. Yet this was not an important race to me. I have the Perth Half Marathon in two weeks, and the City to Surf Full Marathon two weeks after that. But I was looking forward to running with my ‘boy’ (he’s a wonderful, very fit, 22 year old young man) and a nice beach-side breakfast at the Fickle Pig (er, Pickled Fig) afterwards. There would be no attempts at PR’s. I even told the young’un “We’re aiming for 55 minutes, 5:20/km at the most, just a training run.” …Even though I knew better.
I started my race morning as has become my habit, with a smoothie 2 hours before race time. Berry, mango, banana, yoghurt, chia seed, and for a change some almond milk and a dash of fruit juice. Of course, just TRY to make a single serve of smoothie. I sure can’t do it! I drank one and looked at what was left and decided “It’s only a 10 k, I can have another half a smoothie” …Even though I knew better.
It was warmer than my last few race starts have been, about 8c, but I still wore my full length 2XU compression tights, and two-layers of technical shirts, even though I knew better.
There were only about 935 competitors in the 5 km and 10 km combined, and we all started together with a course change about 3.5 km in to separate the two out. Amazingly, the boy and I started fairly near the front so didn’t have too many issues with initial crowding and ran the first km in 5:02. The second came in at 5:03. As usual, I was going way faster than I had planned, the undoing of every “bad” race I’ve run. But…. everything felt good so I decided to go with it and see what happened.
3rd km 4:59
4th km 4:57
At the halfway point, I knew I couldn’t hold the pace. But rather than give up, I gave myself an intentional rest break and ran the 5th km in 5:21 (the boy’s reply to my “We’re going to slow it down for this kilometer” was “Thank God!” *lol*)
At the 6 km point I started building up the speed again, bringing it in at 5:09.
Kilometer 7-8 showed us back at 4:57, my son being noticeably quiet behind me. I resisted the urge to see if he was still with me and kept to my race.
With 2 km left to go it was time to burn up whatever I had left. While I wasn’t quite able to maintain the 9th km’s 4:45 in the final stretch, my son was right there with me as we pushed out a massive sprint for the finish, crossing side by side with a 4:47 for the last km, my heart pounding, my legs burning, and… what was that? My stomach heaving! Just as I reached for the papers being handed out by a cute blonde young lady a few steps past the finish line, her eyes widened in horror as she saw what was happening with me and tried to back away, but had a fence behind her! I felt the bile hit the back of my throat but the survival part of my brain told me the only thing worse then puking in front of everyone at the finish line, would be puking ON someone at the finish line, and I managed to, er, contain myself. By the time I made it to a remote tree to puke behind, the desire had passed. I knew I shouldn’t have had that second half a smoothie!
In all the excitement, I forgot to turn off my Garmin watch, so the time’s run past the actual race period:
Gun time was 50:54, but Strava.com took my 10.0 km time down to 50:07, 1:19 faster than my previous best. Not only a 10 km PR, but also a 5 km, 2 mile and 1 mile PB.
I look at that 1 mile PB and remember back to when I was 20/21 years old, running 5 minute miles for 4.5 miles. I’m sure I could improve it from where it’s at today, but I can work on short distance speed or long distance stamina, not both, and I do enjoy the long distance events.
Two weeks to my half marathon, and it will be on the Perth Swan River foreshore, a track I’m very familiar with and flat enough for a PR, but will I go for the PR or follow my plan of running it at marathon pace (5:50) to be ready for my full marathon two weeks after that? I’d like to say “That’s the question”, but I think we ALL know what I’ll do *laughing*