This past Sunday morning - Ft. Vancouver race day - dawned dreary with steady rain. Naturally, it was still pitch-black outside when the alarm went off.
For a few fleeting moments, all snuggled down in the covers and listening to the soggy weather falling on the roof, I actually entertained the idea of not going, but wisely thought better of it and commenced to getting my act in gear. My mom was in town, which was a nice treat, as she doesn't get to see me run very much, and I was happy to have the extra support!
Fortunately, by the time we got to Vancouver, the rain had pretty much stopped and there were even a few rebel streaks of blue overhead. There weren't a whole lot of folks there, but enough to put some energy into the air, along with some very bouncy, loud music and several little booths with free samples and other nifty things. It was clear, however, that the 15K field was small (less than 100) and that I'd probably be running this one all on my own for the most part.
The wind had picked up and a mere 10 minutes from starting time they announced over the loudspeakers that the directional signs were being blown over; this was followed up with the vague directive to "know your course!" based on the distance you were running. This concerned me a bit since I know literally nothing about the area, but I figured as long as I could keep at least one or two folks within sight in front of me I'd be ok.
My running mate Donna surprised me by showing up; she had originally planned to do the 15K as well, but hurt her knee during the Shamrock Run earlier in the month, so she switched to the 5K. I was happy just to see her there running at all!
The gun went off admist the cheers, and within no time at all, I found myself with only two or three behind me and the rest of the pack well ahead and pulling away fast, including the very nice older gentleman who was racewalking and had reported to me as we chatted at the starting line that he was banking on 11 minute miles. I'm not sure if that's what he ended up doing, but it didn't take long before I couldn't see him at all, so he was trucking in any case.
There were hills, but they were fairly short (although not necessarily gentle) and I did end up walking a couple of them. I went out much faster than I expected (11:34 for the first mile - that's a PR!) and then just sort of slowly petered out after that, kind of like a slow-leaking balloon. By mile 6, I had to really start zoning inward to keep focus and by the time I made it to mile 9, I was hurting and the last .3 was seriously the most ridiculously long 3/10ths I've done in a long, long time.
I mean, really:
I was truly shot. On the upside, this is quite possibly the most flattering picture of my legs in about the last ten years. Note the nifty Nathan Quick Draw on my right hand - a new and quite welcome addition to my extremely modest collection of running paraphernalia. (And Ron - if you're reading this - hat!)
And my time? Chip report had me at only a 20-second improvement over my Shamrock time (you can see the clock in this picture) but whatever. I was still content to just finish, although I must admit there was a tiny part of me that really wanted to come in at sub-2 hours.
Back home, I got some Motrin on board and forced myself to take a 10-minute ice bath (the trick is to get into the tub and then run the cold water and dump in the ice!) and this helped tremendously. After I warmed up from the ice bath, I took a nice, long hot shower and then napped for about an hour and a half. By evening, although I was still sore, I didn't have to grit my teeth to walk down our stairs.
Race for the Roses is in about two weeks. I am still debating whether to run the 1/2 or only the 10K. I want to do the half, so perhaps I'll go for it and stick to an intentional run/walk plan of attack instead of trying to run most of it. But the 10K might be a wiser choice considering how wiped out I was after this one. The mere thought of pushing through for nearly another 4 miles on top makes me shiver a little bit. I think I'm going to think about this a while longer before I send in my registration!
One thing I know for certain is I need a new pair of shoes, because I'm due. This is going to happen before my next long run (and in retrospect, this may have been part of the issue for this race!)