Monday, November 24, 2014

Twilight 5K: The Day I Forgot How Hard 3 Miles Could Be

What to say, what to say.  It was a race.  We came. We ran. Some of us kicked ass and some of us lost a lung.  Or maybe that was just me that lost a lung, I'm not sure.  It's possible I still might be in a Papi Queso haze.

Do you remember when I said I was firing at about 85%?  Well, that theory has been proven false.  I think 75-80% is a more accurate assessment after Saturday's Summit Twilight 5K.  Coach Sarah gave me a simple strategy:  "I want you to build.  Half marathon (HM) pace for the 1st mile, 10K pace for the 2nd, 5K pace for the 3rd and kill the last .1."

So I ask myself, "Self?  What on earth does that mean?  How the heck do I know what my current paces are?  I haven't run more than a mile since September 17!"  Without much else to go on, I decided to use the paces from my PRs which would have shaken out like this:

What should have happened
1st mile - HM pace = 8:33
2nd mile - 10K pace = 8:18
3rd mile - 5K pace = 7:35
Last .1 = 7:15

What actually happened
1st mile - 8:24
2nd mile - 8:20
3rd mile - 9:25
Last .1 - 8:19

The Deets
Michelle found me at the start area about 5 minutes before gun time and we decided to line up just about mid pack.  She was coming off running the Savannah Marathon a few weeks ago so she was kind enough to stick with me.  Such a good friend!  It wasn't so much twilight by this time, but more like black-coffee-dark out and it was a little unnerving with the start so crowded.  We tried to get near some people with headlamps, but I don't think we had much success!  I know what you're thinking....why didn't we have headlamps.  Well, nothing like finding out an hour before a race that your torch is busted.  And yes people, I did try to change the batteries!  So, moving on.

It was dark which made it hard to keep an eye on what the good 'ol Garmin was telling me what my pace was.  We found an 8:30 at one point, it felt good and tried to hold onto it.  We know now that  was not at all what happened.  Still, all in all it felt pretty good and there we were, just like old times, chatting away!

And then as we start mile 2 I hear "HOPE!"  Pray tell who can see me?  It's pitch black out!  IT'S JACK!!!!  And then Michelle changed my name to Rose, we laughed about Titanic and then thought it best to get racing again.

Second verse, just like the first!  I looked down, saw the 8:20 and smiled..."Yes!  right on target!" This is GREAT!  We're KILLING IT!  We are AWESOME... and then I started having problems keeping my breath.  That's okay, you can hang in there....just 1.1 mile to go...

Then comes the greenway portion of the race.  This is the cool part.  It is pitch black and they light the pathway with luminaries on either side.  Such a neat sight!  But it caused a weird sensation that made me dizzy to be honest (And I say dizzy, not to be confused with ditzy as I'm normally known to be.  There is a difference.).

I was struggling by this point and Michelle was still happily chatting away, naming all the things we had waiting for us at the finish.  When I couldn't answer her, I knew I was in trouble.  I was wheezing and falling behind.  No matter how hard I tried to will it forward, my body slowed.  She tried to wait for me a couple times, but she was running so well I waved her on.  Then the hill we know as South Street happened.  Right at the 2.62 mark, my legs stopped moving.  I had no choice.  I was about to stroke out and had to get my heart rate back under control.  So, there I was, walking my not-so-happy ass up South.  After 10 minutes of walking (which was really only 30 seconds according to Garmin, but it FELT like forever), my heart calmed down and I started moving again.  I surprisingly felt much better and even passed some men that just passed me 30 seconds prior. I found my little motor and got myself up and over South Street to the finish line.

First race back since the surgery, first time running a full mile, let alone three, and first time running outside on the street and hills in two months.  Somehow I managed 11th out of 39 in my AG with a 27:01.  4 minutes off my PR but not too shabby if I don't say myself.  I guess it was folly to think I could hop right back in at a 7:30.  But I did.  HAHAHA!  This race was good for me.  Coach Sarah and I weren't planning on a race this soon in my recovery but it turned out to be a great way to accurately gauge where my current fitness is and what she needs to plan for me to get me where I'm heading. I mean...if I'm doing 8:40s at only 75% of my potential?  I suck at math, but it sounds like my future is so bright, I gotta wear shades.

Michelle promised me friends, beer and Papi Queso at the finish.  She didn't disappoint!  After getting some dry and warm clothes on, I found all my besties and was surprised by some Tri Team Ignite teammates!  DARTers and Igniters each had awards and PRs aplenty!  I love all my people.  Such a pool of fun and talented athletes!!  Special shout out to Igniter teammate, Doreen, for killing our AG and taking it for the win with a sub 20! SMOKIN'!  Imma gonna steal your Sketchers GoRuns!

Post-race festivities, PAPI QUESO (woot woot!), endorphin highs, dancing and shenanigans ensued, I assure you!

Until next time,
Keep moving.
Be strong and feel free.
And always let there be #shenanigans!

Me, Mr van Voo, Michelle and Matt!
trying to stay toasty before the gun went off
Why the hell are we wearing shorts in this weather??

Tri Team Iginite!!


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