That Evening Race Struggle and a NEW Long Run Record

Happy Tuesday!

I ended Thursday’s post about my road trip after work to New Hampshire for a 6:30 5k race.  The Hollis Fast 5k. Well fast for others, not so much for me.. When I told co-workers that I had to leave work a bit early because I had a “race in New Hampshire” on a Thursday evening, they looked at me like I was crazy.  And when I proceeded to say to tell them it was only a 5k, the judgement got stronger.  But I can’t disagree because IT IS CRAZY!  It was a USATF certified race so my running team was competing.  It is rare, very rare, that I would be down for traveling an hour and a half on a Thursday evening to race a 5k but when you have a great team that is committed to racing and the success of the team, along with a great car load of people to ride up with, it is worth it.  However, just because it was worth it, doesn’t mean it was easy.  It was pretty darn hard to muster to up the energy to just get my legs moving once we arrived let alone race!  I was waiting for adrenaline to kick in, but it wasn’t happening.  I was definitely nervous when I got to the start line.  I don’t know if it was because I knew my time mattered tremendously because I was racing for a team…or because there were so many tiny, fast runners  decked out in uniforms surrounding me which was quite intimidating..or because I knew that in minutes I would have to go full speed for 3 miles and my legs were not in the mood to do that.  I
think it was a mix of all three of those reasons but despite the nerves, as soon as that gun went off, I took off down the road…way too fast.  My first mile was a 5:43 and since my average mile time was 6:21, that only means one thing…

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.. I definitely started out too fast and hit a wall.  It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t entirely enjoyable, but it was over fast!  Though I didn’t have a PR, many of my teammates raced a PR!!

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The face says it all…don’t make me move fast, I just don’t wannnaa!

I also mentioned in my last post how I couldn’t stop smiling over my new long run record of 14.24 miles.  Well I have stopped smiling over that because I have something EVEN better…

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On Sunday I tackled 16 miles! I can’t believe I did it!  I am beyond proud of myself because this type of mileage is something I have feared for a long time and each week I am proving to myself that it can be done!  I have heard from many people that the key to surviving the long run is having a running buddy.  Well unfortunately, I do not have a running buddy for a couple of reasons.  I haven’t really ever wanted one.  Part of my love for running is the ability to just be alone, listen to music and just drift off into my own little world.  Of course there are those runs that are miserable and the only thing running through my mind is the seconds/miles remaining…but for the most part, my runs are usually peaceful and is my time where I can think through things and jam out to some great tunes.  I also have no interest in wasting the little breath I have on talking.  The thought of trying to hold a conversation with someone while gasping for air does not sound appealing, but is also my biggest problem. I don’t know how to slow down!  That being said, though I like my alone time during my runs, as the miles are creeping up, I am starting to realize that I do not need 16 miles worth of alone time.  I have been contemplating the idea of recruiting someone/people to run certain legs of my long run with me so that I can get my alone time in but can also have someone to distract me from those negative thoughts that start to arise around mile 13.  A couple of members from my Crossfit box told me that their club team was planning on a 6 mile run around a local reservoir on Sunday morning at 8:30.  THAT’S PERFECT! I can have 10 miles to myself and then jump in to group run to help me slow down my pace and motivate me through the final 6 miles.  It all sounded great but I wasn’t sure if it would all pan out the way I had vision in my head.

I had the morning all planned out before I went to bed.  If I wanted to make it to the group run by 8:30 with 10 miles already in the bag, I would have to leave the house by 7:10…making for a glorious 6:30 wake up call on Sunday morning.  My run started out fine, but I was noticing some tightness in my left calf from the race on Thursday.  The tightness was subsiding which resulted in me questioning this whole 16 miler.  I was convinced around mile 3 that this would end up just being a 6-10 miler.  Not bad, but  not what I had in mind.  But then around mile 4 my calf just slowly loosed and it all felt okay.  It was like the clouds parted and I had a burst of confidence. Dramatic, I know. I made it to the group run a little behind schedule but just in time and exactly 10 miles in!  I stopped to take a quick breather and get into their group huddle and before I knew it, I was back running and ready to tackle this final leg.  The pace was a bit slower, my music was put away and I was just enjoying the beautiful scenery of the reservoir and the conversation of the people around me. I ended up doing the final 6 miles with two older men whom I  never met before.  I still am not a huge fan of holding a conversation while running but it wasn’t horrible.  I actually think I enjoy running with people just to listen to other people’s conversations…slightly creepy but it’s interesting! Another 6 miles later, I broke off from the running group and ran home clocking a little over 16 miles! 🙂

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I write this with so much excitement and pride.  I can’t believe I am conquering mileage that I feared for so long…and it’s actually enjoyable!  I already have a 17 mile route planned out for this Sunday and maybe a partner who is willing to bike the final 6 with me! I am trying not to let my excitement get the best of me because I am well aware from past experiences that things can come up and throw a giant curve ball in your game plan.  I am doing everything I can to prevent any injuries or possible disturbances in my training by resting, taking care of my body and stretching every night.  I am incorporating yoga into my schedule in addition to running and Crossfit so that my body can remain flexible and loose despite the heavy lifting and running.  I can only hope that with proper care and nutrition, my training will continue to stay strong and I will make it to that finish line on July 26th!

Have a great rest of the week!…only one more week until summer vacation 🙂

Can’t wait to enoy more of this view..

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