Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Races

Despite the fact that I fully intended to take most of the summer off from running, I ended up running three races this summer.

The first race I ran was part of the Chick Fil A Connect Series. My dad ran the Macon race on Memorial Day while they were here visiting us. I didn't run because Matthew and I had tickets to the Braves game that day. A couple days before the race, one of my friends (and my hairstylist) convinced me to run the Chick Fil A 5K. I really wanted to do the 10K, but wasn't trained and ready for one. So 5K it was! Mostly I agreed to go ahead and run this race because it was a similar route to my 5K PR race. I knew it would be relatively flat and simple. The weather that morning was dreary and about 70 degrees, but high humidity! Not too bad for early June.

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I only run with other fast runners. We both won our age groups that morning!
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This is me avoiding getting my picture taken with the giant cows.

I'd run a Chick Fil A race again in a heartbeat. They give you tons of good coupons and there's always fun stuff for the whole family after the race!

Race Stats:
Official time: 25:02 (8:05 avg - technically a PR for a full 5K since my last PR was on a short course.)
Age group: 1st out of 32
Overall: 36th out of 275

Again, with no real plans to race anymore during the summer, I got talked into yet another race while I was down in Florida visiting my parents. My dad signed us both up for a 6K trail run. I've never done a trail run, but figured it couldn't be that much harder than a regular race on concrete. While that turned out to be true, what we didn't consider is what the temperature would be like in late June in Florida! That  morning turned out to be a hot, sticky 80 degrees with yet even more ridiculous humidity. Even before the race started, I wasn't feeling good about my chances.

That's me in the yellow shorts with the grey shirt. The girl next to me won the race, she was a beast! And my dad is next to her.
Well, I was right to be concerned because about halfway in I knew this wasn't going to be a fun race. And at about the three mile mark (I think a 6K comes out to about 3.6 miles) I started feeling super awful and dehydrated. There was only one water station, and that just wasn't enough that day. So I did something I've never done in a race before: I walked. Probably for only about thirty seconds, but it was enough to make me feel discouraged. When I finally got moving again I managed to convince myself that I would cross the finish line, even if I had to crawl to get there! Also, it was a loop back in the trails so I wasn't even sure how I would get back to the start/finish if I didn't go ahead and run. Finally I reached the finish line, where I guzzled about a gallon of water and tried not to pass out. Dehydration is no joke!

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We both managed to pull off age group wins, despite the heat.
After this race I swore I wouldn't race again in high temps, so I didn't do a single race in July-August.

Race stats:
Official time: 32:47 (8:48 avg)
Age group: 1st out of 6
Overall: 19th out of 76

And that brings us up to my most recent race, the Macon Labor Day Road Race. I had just started racing this time last year, so I missed out on my chance to run this race. I had no idea it was such a huge production here in Macon. This time I was the one doing the convincing and got both my dad, and my running buddy Elizabeth to sign up for the 10K. Let me start by saying this race was a big challenge for me. Not only was I coming off two months of not racing, I also have been struggling with some chronic knee pain for the past eight weeks. Though it's finally under control I was nervous about how healthy I would be on race day. For this race I trained on the track at Matthew's school, running 25 laps every Saturday hoping to acclimate myself to the Georgia heat and humidity.

For this race, you not only have a chance to win in your age group, but you can also compete in a team event. Dad and I signed up for the "parent - child" category. Our team name: Positive Splits!

Fortuatnely by race day  my knee was finally feeling 100% and just in time, too. We drove out to the course route, which was a point to point across Macon, and took note of the several large hills throughout the course. Since I knew heat was going to be a huge factor, I drank way more water than usual, determined not to be fighting dehydration like I did on my last race. This race was already a late start, at 8:30, and we were delayed about another ten minutes after that for some reason. By that time it was already at least 75 degrees, and 100% humidity! I started off slow, because I knew I was going to have to conserve energy to make it through six miles in the heat. I was glad I made a mental note to myself where the big hills were, and the water stations. So I was prepared! I walked/jogged through the water stations to make sure I was drinking enough, which helped a lot. At mile four I hit the last big hill, about a seventy-foot climb and took it nice and slow. After that I knew I was basically home free so I picked up the pace as much as possible and hurried to the finish. I'm so proud of myself for running smart and still managing to finish strong after six brutal miles! My whole family was waiting at the finish line, so I high-fived the kids on my way in.

That's me in the pink shirt on the far left. Yes, I was running, I know I look like I was walking!

Crossing this finish line felt great! I knew it wasn't my best time, but some races are just about surviving! This was definitely one of them. I found out later from Matthew that a couple people collapsed at the finish line.
That is a look of relief if I ever saw one! (and yes, I'm floating again.)
It was so flippin' hot that at the end of the course firefighters had come and opened up a fire hydrant for us to run through, which I did. So I'm soaking wet in my finish photos. At at the finish line they were literally hosing people down. (See photo below.)

We all made it!
Since it wasn't my best time, I didn't win anything and we came up with nothing in the team categories, too. The teams who did place ran ridiculously fast times, so there was nothing we could have done differently. This just wasn't a PR race. Too hilly and way too hot! But it's not always about the bling. Sometimes it's about accomplishing something you never thought you could before. I still had a pretty good time and to come out of it smiling this time is a huge deal to me.

Race stats:
Official time: 56:46 (9:09 avg)
Age group: 6th out of 18
Overall: 212th out of 506

So I'm still chasing that 10K PR. Blue Mountain Beach 10K I'm coming for you!