This weekend I ran the Run Through the Roses 10k. I finished in 51:53, which is around 8:22 pace. This is a tough 10k with some serious hills when runners reach mile 4 and a big, nasty one near the end of mile 5. All of it, however, is in my area and along many routes I run. Since signing up for this race I've been targeting hills, especially the big nasty at least twice a week and when I wasn't doing that I was pushing Eloise in the stroller. I figured while I wasn't doing anything overly speedy, surely all of these hills and all the stroller pushing would count for something. My stroller pace had even gone down quite a bit so my goal for the Roses was around an 8:00-8:10 pace throughout. Even with the big nasty.
Race day arrived and it was pouring rain and 43 degrees. This was kind of funny to me because I'd also been working on getting acclimated to the heat. Not only for all the hot summer races I was planning, but so I could continue running with Eloise at 9:00 a.m. even in the midst of a southern summer. I've just been working on getting tough! But the rain seemed to make it more adventurous and I didn't really mind it. I left my house around 6:30 and ran to the race getting a 2 mile warm-up. I wanted 10 miles for the day, but I wasn't sure how things would go after the race. Jason was planning to run the 5k and he would drive to pick me up and I would take Eloise back home letting Jason run home.
The race started and my first mile was an 8:14. That was fine with me. I didn't start in front of the pack, but that is usually my way of keeping myself from starting out too fast. My second mile was an 8:10 and I felt good. I felt that I would drive my pace down, maybe even getting a sub 8:00 for a few miles.
Well, I didn't do that. I got slower. My third mile was 8:19 and my fourth was 8:11. My fifth and sixth were 8:44 and 8:52. That was to be expected because I did slow down on those hills. My legs burned so bad on the big nasty that I desperately wanted to walk, but just over the rise I'd be able to see the finish line and I would be done. Despite the burning in my quads and the bursting of my lungs, I did push hard and I am proud of that. As Jason says, I am not one to be overly uncomfortable when racing so I've been trying to push myself past the comfortable level and hang out there when I train and when I race. I was definitely uncomfortable near the top of that hill.
I ran down the big nasty as fast as I dared in the pouring rain. The rain did not let up the entire race, but it didn't really bother me until I stopped. I finished, congratulated those around me and walked back toward the hill to cheer for my mom. She came speeding down, looking like a little girl. As I waited for her, the cold set in. I was planning to run around a bit before going to meet Jason in the church parking lot, but my wet hands were frozen and aching by that point. Mom was planning to run the 5k but she too was frozen. Her car was in the school parking lot and it was blocked off so we found Jason and I took her home with me.
A hot shower never felt so good. It even burned my hands and feet which were numb. I put Eloise in her bassinet in front of the shower and talked to her as the warm water washed over me. When I got out I made a fresh pot of coffee for Mom and I, and scrambled some cheesy eggs for us as well. We finally warmed up, sipping coffee and waiting for my soaked husband to return. He won the 5k, finishing in 18 minutes and change. Slower for him, but he'd just run a marathon and he too had to conquer the big nasty.
All in all, it was a fun day and a fun race. I haven't raced a 10k since pregnancy and I wouldn't really call that racing, so I have lots of room for improvement. Hills and jogging with the stroller aren't going to cut it if I want to get faster. I was a little disappointed at not being a bit stronger than I thought I'd be, but my response to that is to keep training. Jason uploaded some workouts onto my watch and I will start doing those on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have another 10k at the end of this month and while that is only a short time away, I am still hoping to improve upon Saturday's performance.