My same running buddy from last weekend, Charlie, drove me down this time in his toasty car. Seat warmers, people, they're life changing after a race.
I had no real race plan for this one, I knew my knee and ankle were sore so I had no plans to race or shoot for a PR, so I just went out and let the race unfold. The first mile was so crowded that I ran a full minute slower than my second mile. It was okay though, I was happy to warm up slowly. From the first turn I could feel my soleus in each leg start to burn. Ouch, what is up with that? I need to get to the bottom of that pain because it lasted the ENTIRE RACE. Somewhere around mile 6 or 7 I was really hurting in my lower legs and slowed down quite a bit, ~7:50 compared to my earlier miles which averaged around 7:30-7:35. I guess the GU kicked in shortly after and I stopped whining to myself and pushed myself to pick it up a bit. I don't remember where it came from, but I got 1:10 in my head as a sort of unofficial goal (my PR is 1:08) but as many runners know, math doesn't come easy when oxygen deprived. I finished with a strong push, running the final mile in the 7:30's (ouch, my legs still hate me) and the final 0.4 at a 7:03 pace. Yow.
I finished in 1:12 and was happy with the effort. I'll aim for a PR in the spring, but right now is just about seeing where I am and where I need to improve. I definitely need to get back to strength training for my lower extremities and to be more consistent with core work in order to bring myself back to racing shape. We're heading to Canada this week for the holidays and I know it's going to be COLD, but as long as it isn't icy I should be able to get in a handful of good runs at altitude and keep my fitness up. I've been thinking about looking for a yoga studio or a pool while I'm there too, but I don't know if I'll be able to swing either of those, running is so much easier when traveling.
Have a great holiday, whatever you celebrate, and look for my Year in Review post soon. I also need to get myself in gear and put together a 2012 race schedule, there are some exciting events coming up next year!
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