This morning I ran in the 2nd Annual 2012 Red, White and Run 4 Miler on the 4th through our local YMCA. I didn’t decide for certain that I was running until the day before as getting information about the race itself proved difficult. I feel the need to host a seminar for local businesses on how better to utilize their websites and social media spaces to inform and engage people, but all the same, I got the info and decided to celebrate the 4th by running 4 miles. Hooray for America!
Mile 0: I woke up a bit earlier than I normally would on a day off from work, started the coffee, took the dog out and began waking up the boys. My husband came home from work, helped me get everything ready, and we were out the door by 7:45 so I could stop and grab some cash as I hadn’t pre-registered. At registration we got a gift bag with a Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna Bar, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Clif Builder’s Bar, a bottle of water, a Guernsey County tourism guide, a business card with a survey about running in Southeastern Ohio that leads me to believe someone is researching bringing a running specialty store to Zanesville (OMG, PLEASE DO, SEOhioRunning.com!), a few other things and the obligatory race shirt. I chose red.
Then we waited in the sprinkling rain for the race to begin.
I lined up near the frontish of the crowd because I knew I wanted to start faster than normal so I could slow down a bit and save some energy for the big hill in between the 3- and 4-mile marks.
Mile 1: The race started with a loop and three-quarters on the track. I hate running on tracks — with all of my being. But I ran. I peeked at my pace and my eyes bugged a little, but I kept the speed up because I knew that the hills facing me later were long and big. I ran with music today, so I did a lot of zoning out even as we ran out onto the street toward the duck pond and began one of the uphill climbs to the cemetery. Split 1: 8:20. Note: That’s my fastest mile since I was about 17-years-old. Speaking of 17-year-olds, man, they can make you feel bad about your own running, can’t they?
Mile 2: We entered the cemetery still on a slight uphill climb. I felt strong, but my pace began to dip down. I knew it had to in order to save energy and leg for the last mile. A few people I had been running slightly behind began to pull further in front of me. Sassymonkey‘s words rang in my head: “Run your own race.” So, I did. I wanted a strong run — for me — but didn’t beat myself up that, yes, there were people in front of me that I would not catch. We exited the cemetery on a trail that leads out to the school campuses, and I used the hills to my advantage to pick up a little bit. Split 2: 9:56 which is slower than I want for my next half pace but on par with my previous half pace. Remember, training just started yesterday for my next half (the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon Half Marathon), so I’ve done zero speed work.
Mile 3: I passed the water station because I was feeling good at that point. About 30 seconds later, I deemed that a bad idea. I got a wicked case of cotton mouth and began spitting and choking on myself. Good times. We came into the flat before the big hill and I pulled myself down and back a little bit, mentally preparing for a hike up this bugger. It’s not as steep as my personal Monster Hill but it’s long. (And it’s strong! Shoop…) As we made the right turn to start up the hill, I groaned. I pushed as far as I could up the hill until my legs needed a short break. I walked for 20 seconds, and ran again. I didn’t beat myself up because, well, what’s the use? Onward. Split 3: 10:12.
Mile 4: The hill continued on. Forever. It just kept going up and up and up and I walked 20 more seconds. Eventually I reached the top, ran on some flat and began the descent toward the finish line. NOTE: The course was longer than 4 miles and I did finish four miles on my GPS in under 40 minutes. I was very, very proud of that fact since it also included that wicked hill. We entered the stadium track and ran back in the opposite direction as we had previously toward the finish line. I had a little left to give, but not much. Split 4: 10:54. Stupid hill.
Last .18: I tried to push but I was tired. I finished as strong as I could at 41:13. Average pace for total distance: 9:51. Average pace at the three mile mark which included a bit of the big hill? 9:31. I need to live in a flatter place.
My husband handed me my water bottle, I walked around for a few minutes, and then I made my boys take a picture with me while I was all sweaty and gross. They were not amused, but oh man, I WAS LOVIN’ IT! I felt great after the run, which surprised me seeing as how my training for the Columbus Half Marathon started just yesterday — less than 12 hours before the race as I had to run in the evening due to scheduling problems. I felt pretty darn proud of myself, walking on a hill or not.
We moseyed back into the gymnasium for awards. I won my first award! I came in 2nd in the 30-39 age group! TOTALLY STOKED. I didn’t get a trophy or a medal, which my sons that was a crock, but I got a nifty backpack (because I don’t already own enough bags). After the race, we went to Tim Horton’s (yay Canada?) for doughnuts and coffee (or milk for the boys). Hooray for holidays!
Today’s race taught me that I do have speed somewhere inside of these legs. I am hoping that the speedwork on my training plan for the half marathon in October will help me learn how to better harness that speed and properly manage and maintain it for longer distances. I need to work on my personal Monster Hill a little more, perhaps with repeats to get used to the never-ending longer hills of lesser grades.
I’m glad I decided to run this morning. I’m glad that my training run for today was a 3.5 mile run, so I just had an extra .5! I’m glad that we live in this country where we’re free to wake up early on days off from work and go run in humid, summery conditions. I’m glad that I can run again; it makes me so happy.