The MRTC RRS is only 4 races in and I don’t know about you, but I feel like it’s been going on since Christmas. My mom even called me last Sunday to congratulate me on “finishing the series.” Ha, no mother, we aren’t even half way there yet!
Sunday, August 9th was the first 5-miler at W J Freeman Park in Bartlett. I ran it as a tempo in the middle of a 15 mile long run so I had the pleasure of running the course 3 times! Lucky me, right?
I got to the park around 6:00 a.m. and started out on my first lap around the course shooting for 7:50 per mile. It was already well marked and easy to follow. I stuck pretty close to my pace and felt good despite my weekend at the lake and speed workout two days prior. I actually thoroughly enjoyed the course. I ran the first lap marveling in the moderate rolling hills and gradual turns. I didn’t even mind the natives giving me strange stares while they walked out in their bathrobes to get their morning papers.
(A little insight into what it looks like in my car on race day… smells about the same too.)
I’m glad I was able to form my opinion before hearing too much about the course because the buz at the starting line was that it’s usually everyone’s least favorite in the series for a combination of three reasons:
1) it usually falls on two of the hottest and most humid days of the year (reasonable).
2) the majority flows through neighborhoods (also understandable.. I break out in hives if I’m in suburbs for too long)
3) you can see the finish line with over a half mile still to go (true, but…
We all have watches and it is a 5 mile race… If your watch is indicating that you have only run 4.4 miles, then you obviously are going to still have at least .6 miles to run… regardless of any apocalyptic signs in front of you. You’re welcome 5-mile course, I’ll stand up for you).
But the actual race went well. Chris had me shooting around 7:15 per mile for my tempo pace, which put me in a pack with a bunch of dads (just kidding, who knows if they have children). There was one guy that I was with the entire race that I could tell was feeling a little competitive that morning. It was fine by me since I was just passing through en route of my 15-miler, but I thought to myself that I might as well go ahead and have fun with it. Competitive dad started slowing down in the last park-portion that everyone hates so I decided to play mind games with him by gradually speeding up about 1 foot ahead of him. Dad clearly didn’t like this and started pushing forward. Being the gentlewoman that I am, I let him go on ahead while I kept comfortable at my tempo pace. Probably saved that man from a midlife crisis. Here’s a great pic that MRTC captured of me and dad. I’m loving life back there.
I knew I still had 5 more miles to clock so when I crossed the finish line, I decided just to keep trucking. Going back to 7:50 pace was a breeze and anything slower 7:35-a-mile didn’t flow well so I pushed those boundaries a little too. After round three, I chatted with a couple of people and got back in time to shower before church. I’d say it was a good Sunday aside from the awkward race pictures that were once again taken of me. I think in this one I was trying to be pretty… yeah, going to take the waving strategy out of my repertoire.
The second 5-miler was on the same course on August 23rd. This time I ran it only once, but at a much faster pace so it seemed like a different beast entirely. Chris’s plan was for me to shoot for 6:27 pace for the first 3 miles and then speed up to sub 6:20 for the last two. But per usual, I screwed that up pretty nicely.
I got caught up in the excitement and went out way too fast. Gazelle-Rita was racing, which made it very tempting to at least try to keep her in sight. My first mile buzzed at 6:14, oopsie! And for some reason I continued down this path of destruction and hit 2 and 3 still faster than target pace. Dangit, Marge.
Because of this I truly had no chance of going sub 6:20 for the last two miles and all my running demons came to haunt me. These demon are the negative little thoughts in my head while running. They antagonize me chanting things such as “why are you doing this?” or “you are 23 years old, really not that good, not getting paid to do this, and could be sleeping in or drinking beer.” Yeah, those demons are the pits. But it’s funny how they are rendered the second I cross the finish line and thoughts that are of my own remind me why it’s all beyond worth it.
The whole race was kind of a blur (especially since it was my 4th time doing it in 2 weeks), but I did still enjoy the course. It was an exceptionally humid day, but the temperature was pretty nice. I wish I could think of an excuse as to why I didn’t run it in under 32 minutes, but it pretty much just came down to mental weakness for that last mile. 6:50… That’s tempo pace, I’m ashamed!
My friends Laura, Rita, and I joined the Oiselle Vollee team last month, which is pretty much just a social running group for women. It is my absolute favorite brand of running apparel and the membership comes with free shipping… which my mother taught me can help justify buying just about anything. After the race we met up with another member of the Oiselle “flock” and got to know her a little better, which was very fun! Here’s a couple pictures of my favorite Oiselle clothes. Ugh, and a shameless track selfie I took the first day I wore my new “O Snap Tank” (I love myself and I hate myself… is this what happens to you when you become a blogger?).
I had absolutely zero desire to run any more that morning but Rita “made” me go for a quick cool-down (she’s about as forceful as Switzerland) with her, Laura, and Kristen. We ran about a half mile and then hit quite a significant roadblock. Literally.
Once again, I got back with plenty of time to shower and get ready for church and then I had a wonderful night with Mark celebrating our 5 year anniversary as well as his nephew’s birthday! And I have to brag on him for cutting my grass (not pictured.. my lawn looks nothing like that), changing a lightbulb, and killing some spiders… he’s the best.
Do any runners out there feel me on “running demons?”
How do you get rid of them and what do they say to you?