I signed up for the Cudahy Classic 10 mile race back in early June – back when I still harbored the silly thought that I could continue training while on travelling to 6 different cities and producing 4 different videos for the wild extravaganza my company calls Annual Meeting. Better phrased by the photo department as Annual Beating.
That decision caught up to me right around mile 5. OUCH.
Overall the race was good but wow, fatigue is kind of a bitch.
I arrived to the race around 7:15 where I met up with my good buddy, Freezer Pop, aka, Amy. She handed me by number, which she had been kind enough to pick up for me and as thanks I said, “no pins?”
So that showed me right away what sort of mood I was in. That mood being defined as a crankypants.
I tired to shake it off because really, I lovelovelove racing, races, being at races, watching races, different races of people even. Except the Asians.
Kidding. I like them too. Especially since their DNA creates narrow hips and crazy stage parents – the two essential ingredients to creating a fantastic skater.
So it’s about 15 minutes before the race and FreezerPop and I are making the rounds, finding friends, warming up, being silly in general. We stood under the shade for awhile which turned out to be a terrible idea as apparently the mosquitoes of Cudahy love the shade too.
So we’re standing there and getting bit up all to heck by these monster mosquitoes. They were especially fond of biting my butt – which, hello, first buy me dinner at least.
We make it to the start line, the gun goes off and I get kind of buried into the back of the pack and I see Amy take off way ahead of me. My plan was to keep it nice and easy for the first 5 miles in order to simulate what the philly marathon pace would feel like in a few months.
Well, here’s the problem. I’m kind of competitive. And by ‘kind of’ I mean, ‘super-duper-really competitive to the point of it being a super-duper nuisance which eats my brain and makes me itchy’.
So I see Amy up ahead of me and of course, my first and only instinct is to catch up to her. So I do. Well Amy happens to be a competitive little monster as well (probably why we get along so well) and we end up leap frogging for the next mile and a half. She’d pass me, I’d slow down to try and settle into a comfortable pace, I’d see her ahead of me and get annoyed, and then I’d have to catch up and pass her. She walked one of the water stops and I passed her. Then she caught back up to me. We ran side by side for about 3 minutes when I said to myself “this ends now”. I kicked in a little sprint for about a minute, long enough to lose her and set off on my own. ::snicker hehe:: I know she’d be back there trying to keep up so I just kept pushing until I couldn’t see her behind me anymore.
Since I’ve never done anything like that in a race before I felt like it was kind of a mean tactic but to be honest, it was kind of fun to have ANY sort of tactic in a race. It was strange because I knew that dropping her was best for both of us – she slowed down quite a bit after I sprinted ahead so she likely settled into a more comfortable pace (and she’s training for the philly marathon too). And I just knew that if I kept leap frogging with her, it would mess with my head.
It’s weird how running is SUCH a mental game. I always heard it but I never really “got” it until I started running track sessions at the Pettit Center over the winter with davey and Nicole. Nic and I are around equal when it comes to speed but she has WAY more drive and strength than I do which helps her to run a lot faster over longer distances. And when I try and keep up with her on the long stuff, it just messes with my brain – I freak out thinking “I can’t maintain this!!” and I would end up psyching myself out. Every single time.
The interesting thing is that she says she felt the same way about running with me. Which to me is just crazy because I KNOW she’s faster and stronger than I am so for her to have mentalness when running with me just shows how much your finicky brain plays into it.
So we eventually we decided that we should always start about 15 seconds apart - that way we wouldn’t become complete head cases that they’d have to cart away to “Running Posers-R-Us Mental Institute”.
So back to the Cudahy Classic…. Getting distracted here…..
So I’ve sayonara-d Amy and I’m on my merry little way. At this point, I started feeling pretty good and although I was trying to keep the pace easy, I just settled into what felt good and unfortunately that was closer to an 8:00/mile pace than the 9:00/mile pace I wanted. The course was two laps so as we approached the second lap I started day dreaming about how wonderful it would be to just be done.
Wait – I want to be done? Ohhhh crap. Suffer-fest straight ahead.
Mile 6 I started to pay for that stupid feeling good crap. I started walking the water stations, which I never, ever do. And oh, ya know, taking fairly generous walking breaks – 20… 30…. 40 seconds. Whatever. I just needed to get some water and calm down. I even started taking a full cup of water and dumping it over my head to cool because oh yea, it was HOT out there. Cooler than it’s been but still hot enough to be fairly miserable.
It was VERY hard to not just stop and throw in the towel on this one. I think all of the months of travel and stress kind of came back to bite me in the butt. Much like the mosquitoes. Apparently they were predicting my day. Damn soothsayer mosquitoes.
My time slowed down to 9:00’s for the last 4 miles so I guess I did execute my race strategy – I just did it in reverse! Argh. Finally on the last mile I got some energy and was able to kick it back in for the last half mile. I even had a decent kick at the very end! Although this one girl came FLYING by me at the very last second – and crap, she was in my age group! I finished 9th in my group so not too bad but I definitely should have been a bit smarter about how I ran this.
But hey – this is why I run. For the amazing life lessons ;)
And the life lesson for today – when a mosquito bites your ass, listen.