The story of this race really began on Thursday. I set out to run six easy miles on my lunch break. It was a scorcher of a day, and I was running at 1pm. I told myself to run slow and to keep it easy. It felt slow and easy, but it wasn’t. The first two miles were way too fast on days that feel like 100 degrees. When I hit the two mile mark and turned into the sportsplex, I knew I had overdone it. My brain shut down. I didn’t want to run anymore. I slowly made my way back to work.
(9:16, 9:26, 9:39, 9:19, 9:55. Mile 6 didn’t happen.)
Thursday’s run left me defeated and a little scared to “race” on Saturday. It was going to be equally as hot. (It’s summer in the south. I need to stop my whining and embrace the heat!). My plan for the race was to use it as a modified tempo run: start easy and get faster.
My alarm went off, and I desperately wanted to stay in bed. Should I skip the run because of the heat?
Success #1 – I got out of bed
As I ate breakfast, I really wanted to crawl into bed. It was too hot out.
Success #2 – I drove to the race
I picked up my race bib, ran a mile warm up. I was dripping in sweat. I changed my race plan. I decided to aim for a personal worst. Could I keep my ego in check and run slow consistent miles? I have a bad habit of running to fast and burning out. So I lined up in the back behind all the runners. I sat behind pockets of people who run slower than my normal pace.
Success #3 – The first two miles were a piece of cake.
I remembered mile 3 and 4 from last year. They were hot. The course doesn’t offer much shade. My next goal was to survive Brambleton Avenue.
Success #5 – I survived
When we finally made the right hand turn towards the baseball stadium, I was mentally tired. It takes a lot of mental strength to consciously run slow. The first two miles I was telling myself to slow down. The third mile I was telling myself to survive the long stretch in the sun.
By the time the stadium was in view, I decide I was over it. I stopped to eat my chews. I think I just wanted a mental distraction.
Still looking for distractions, I decided to walk a water stop.
Official Results: 52:22, 10:32 pace
Success #6 – I crossed the finish line with my second slowest 8k time ever, and I’m incredibly happy with it.
This race delivered everything I need to successfully train for the Chicago Marathon. There are so many valuable lessons tucked in those five miles of racing that are going to make me stronger next October. I’ve got some work to do, but I’m not afraid to do it. Summer training leads to personal bests in the fall.
Place – 353/931 (37%)
Group – 34/96 (35%)
What’s Next? Time to find some summer 5ks and the Rock n Roll Half Marathon Labor Day Weekend