Saturday, December 1, 2012

Not a fluke!

I ran my first Seaford Hot Chocolate 5k this morning. The temperature was 41 degrees, with a north-northeast wind, felt like gusts around 10 mph. We started running north, so running into the wind was sucky, and since we went in a circle, we finished the same way.

There were 780 runners. Most seemed to be over 30 years old. Some were running with bells, antlers, colors of red and green. I saw some elf and Santa hats. It was briefly amusing. There were some children running, but nothing like the Turkey Trot last week.

I felt somehow that last week's race finish time was a fluke, because I had lost control of my pace before the end of the first mile, and being caught up in a race, had a hard time gaining control again. I felt terribly unfit during most parts of it. Although I was thrilled with my time, I felt as if I had earned it as a mad woman, running without thought or consequence. I wanted to feel skilled and athletic.

This race was a different story. I had decided to forego MapMyRun. I used miCoach to verbally pace me through different stages of the race. I reasoned that even if I came in slower for this one, I would run a race knowing what it felt like to be in control - and that would be a valuable lesson. I was real happy to learn that I could create my own workouts with miCoach, so I made one for the race. It looked like this:

 My goal was still somewhere around 26 minutes, even though I wanted to finish around 25:00 or 24:00! (I'm hoping that will happen sometime in the spring of 2013)
You can see I've forced myself to start slower in the beginning, slow it down at the end before I try again to achieve a 7:30 pace at the last minute before the finish. It almost worked!

Here is what the actual run looked like:

Click to enlarge

The UK woman was telling me to slow down in the beginning, and I managed to stay in the upper limits of the blue zone only briefly. I was most comfortable in the green zone! She had shut up most of the way, except to tell me to stay out of the elusive yellow zone, and RED zone halfway through! I had a problem again slowing down toward the end. Had I slowed my pace to the middle of the blue zone, I probably could have ramped up to the yellow 8 minute pace for a full minute at the end. As it happened, I was only able to do that 10-15 seconds before the finish line, when I forced myself to look at the ground 10 feet in front of me, and concentrate on my hamstrings and gluts providing the power to cross me over the finish line. Everything else around me seemed to be a distraction. I did, however, hear my name and finish time called out over the PA system. That was a first!

So, I was 71% accurate, but if I had been 90% accurate, my finish time would have been slower. As it was, I walked for 20-30 seconds right before I eked out that burst at the end. It would have been another PR had I not. I was only 1 second slower than the OB Turkey Trot! But I did feel SO much better during this race, and I really prefer that. I did feel like a skilled athlete this time around. I'm working hard for it, and I appreciate what my body is returning to me. 

I also did something else different for this race. ( I know, you're not supposed to try anything new, but it seemed like the thing I needed). I read this article, Can a Shakeout Run improve race day performance? a few days ago, and decided to give it a try. I was up at 5:30am (my usual time, 7 days a week) and out the door by 7:00am (I was ready to go at 600am, but it was still dark). I felt no worse afterward for doing it. I took that as a good sign, and had a much more positive expectation for myself and the race as a result.

00:26:32, 8:33 pace - missed a PR by 2 seconds.
10/54 by Age, 251/780 overall

Magellan Data



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