Monday, September 5, 2011

Aurora Labor Day 5k - The Fade Away

The last time I ran this race was 2006 or 2007.  Let's just say it had been awhile. 

Anyway, this week called for a 3 mile tempo at 8:00/mile.  I had just done that a week or so ago, but the idea of running it on the treadmill did not appeal to me -- at all and the weather was 65F and overcast (a near perfect day in my book to race), so at 8:14am this morning, I made the executive decision to hit up the race that started at 9:00am. 

Registration and packet pick-up were efficient and quick.  I even had time to hit the porta-john twice before the race.  I only managed 0.75 miles for my warm-up.  My legs, specifically my quads were tight and a little sore from yesterday's run.  I kept reminding myself, this is going to cover your tempo workout this week and be way easier, if you're racing.  I did a few striders and lined up.  I planned to run my hardest and hoped it would be in the 7:30s. 

I had been guessing my fitness level based on my long runs and treadmill workouts, but with the relay coming up in a few weeks I need to know how close to 7:00/miles I would be.  Obviously, I am hoping for sub-7s (as I'm sure my teammates are too). So, I needed a fix.  I needed a race, not only to see where I was physically, but mentally. 

I started too far back, on purpose in hopes of going out conservative and picking it up each mile.  It would ultimately cost me at the end, but alas  I wasn't out to win the race (not that I ever would be).

The race is two laps around the park.  There is one little incline in the first .25 miles and then a small but steep hill right before mile 1. 

The horn sounded and it seemed a lot of people didn't move.  "What are they doing?"  I thought.  The race was only chipped at the finish, not the start.  I immediately ran by a bunch of people.  I didn't see any fast chicks at the race and new I would more than likely be toward the front.  I assumed some high school ringer might blow the field away, but that wasn't the case (duh!! cross country season is in full swing).  I followed a blonde through the mile 1 and split 7:16 (garmin - 7:18).  That was a lot better than I thought it would be.  I felt good too, but I didn't want to die at 1.5, so I tried to rein it in and stay under control as I passed the blonde and took advantage of the nice little decline back to the entrance of the park.

We had to make a handful of sharp turns back at the entrance to the park before heading out for lap 2, which definitley wasn't helping me.  My breathing was good, but my legs were fatigued and my stomach was a little off.  You know how you poop before a race and then you get that crampy, either you're gonna crap your pants or your uterus is gonna fall out feeling?  Well, I had a mild case of that as I neared the 2 mile marker.  The timer called out 13:2x and I was glad I had my garmin on.  It was undoubtedly short.  I ran and ran and no beep.  Crap!!  It finally beeped, but I didn't care what the split showed and just kept running.  Mile 2 split (per Garmin) 7:25. 

I was hoping at this point, I would feel good and be able to pull out my fastest mile here at the end.  I finally saw a girl about .5 miles ahead and she looked like she was fading.  I tried to focus on her and close the gap.  I wondered if she would look back to see if anyone was behind her.  She never did.  We passed the water stop and I heard someone call out 4th woman as I went by.  I managed to work my way up to her with a little at a time.  As we came out of the woods to the front of the park where the finish was I wasn't exactly sure if we cut through the grass to the finish or had to go around on the path.  It didn't matter.  GD saw me and yelled "Come on ElizaBeth!!!" 

Now, I have never seen a girl jump like that in my life, but apparently that woke her up and just like that she straightened up her form and picked up the pace.  "Darn It!"  I hadn't planned on trying to kill myself yet.  Oh well, I took off and remarkably closed the gap on her!  I was almost on her shoulder.  I yelled "Come on girl!!  I'm coming!!  Go!!  You can do this!!"  to her.  She picked up the pace and I matched her, running right off her shoulders.  I yelled again.  "I'm still coming!!" or something like that and she found another gear and so did I.  She crossed the finish banner one step in front of me, but the mats were 2 steps after that.  I had once made the stupid mistake of stopping too soon, so I went to the mat.  Mile 3, 7:35.  (That song, "Sail Away" popped in my head, but I changed the lyrics to "Fade Away, Fade Away --- Booooo!!!)  And the last 451ft., 31.5 seconds.

I felt great at the finish, except for my stomach, which was a little wonky.  I knew I had to hit the bathroom asap.  I shook hands with the girl and congratulated her.  She definitely didn't look too good at the finish.  I asked if she was okay, before leaving her and she nodded.  I ran to the bathroom and felt better after I did my business. 

At the awards ceremony, they had me as 3rd female overall, because the girl had stopped after she crossed the banner and walked to the mat, but I explained to the RD what had happened and pointed out the girl that should be 3rd overall.  She was super nice about it and I told her it was a training run for me to gauge where my fitness was at.  She said the same for her.  I suppose, to the mat I beat her.  Had I started up farther in the beginning of the race perhaps I would have never had this happen.  Either way, it is a shoulda, coulda, woulda, such as this I think, that makes runners even more neurotic and overly analytical than they already are.  I'm not sure what was in the little box the top overalls got, but I'm okay with not having it whatever it is.  My official time was 22:49.  Avg Pace: 7:24.

In basketball, the fade away is a sweet shot (Michael Jordan did it best, in my opinion), but in running there's nothing sweet about it. 


TriEric said...

Yeah....I hate when it feels like my uterus is about to fall out.

Great effort and what a nice gesture at the awards ceremony. You are a true sportswoman and I'm glad you are on Snakebite.

You are a classy quick chick.

Janet Edwards said...

Way to rock that training run!! You must be the nicest racer in the world to encourage that chick to beat ya for the top 3 overall spot! You rock!