Labor of Love 10k Race Report

You get a whopping one photo in this race report because, well, I didn't even want one ounce of extra weight.  I originally signed up for this 10k in a really hilly area just for fun.  Several friends were also doing it.  But when Adam heard, he ignored my words and decided it was time for me to PR and prove all his speedwork efforts weren't in vain.   I whined and whined, but he insisted I needed to put the pedal to the metal.

Now, I'm not all that fast.  I consistent middle-of-the-pack girl.  But I do have a really good knack for tolerating pain during a race and pushing to my absolute limits.  Once I get the term "PR" in my head, I don't let go easily.  A leg needs to fall off... but I honestly was not confident that with the hills and the grand surprise - 30mph winds, I could hit my goal.  And, spoiler, I didn't hit my ultimate goal.

Let's take a look at the course of doom...

Looking at it, it's no wonder my race went exactly as it did.  I really really wanted to stay right at 9:00 min/mile.  My current PR was 59:35 - a pace of 9:37 (which was, BTW, set on a completely flat course in the middle of winter).  Knowing how hilly it was, a friend asked me how I planned to PR.  To which I responded - I don't know, I just *am*!  Because that's how I roll. 

Mile 1 - 9:03 - Right on pace.  Right where I wanted to be pace-wise, but I was already gasping for air.  My friend, Mike, had agreed to run this one with me.  He certainly wasn't lollygagging, but he wasn't hyperventilating like me.

Mile 2 - 9:29 - See profile above.  Yeah, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  Somewhere in this mile Mike said, "If you need to walk, just let me know."  I'm pretty sure I responded with "not an option!"  Again, not how I roll.  I said I was going to get a PR and if I had to tolerate an hour of agony, I was going to do it.

Mile 3 - 9:31 - My breathing was awful.  I could not catch my breath at all.  It had flattened out a smidge, but I couldn't seem to get air into my lungs.  I had people asking if I was ok.  I was breathing like a congested horse.  It wasn't pretty.  I saw my pace slipping, and I picked up the pace.  And just before we hit the mile 3 marker, I hear Mike calmly say "my knee is hurt, you keep going."  I quickly glanced back with an "are you sure?" and he waved me on.  Mike had knee surgery about 6 months ago, and I figured he had some pain and was being precautious. I figured he'd just walk it in.

Mile 4 - 8:47 - See profile above... by far the easiest mile.  I still had a side stitch that I had since mile 2, but I was successfully ignoring it and just plowing through, knowing this would end soon.  This mile was for Adam... cause this is just under where he thinks I ideally should be able to run... and it convinced me that given a flat course, I might be able to pull it off.  I passed a few people which was a nice perk of the increased pace.  But there were 2 chicks in front of me that I was certain were in my age group that I tried to chase down (I never could, and as it turns out, they were a decade younger than me... oops!!!).

Mile 5 - 9:20 - Wind was getting a good bit harder and my body was just flat-out fatigued.  There was an older bald dude in front of me that was my carrot.  For once, I had zero desire to pass him.  I just wanted to hold on to him.  He would pull away a bit, and I'd catch up.  I never got uber close to him, but he was in my sights and was pulling me along.  As I hit the hill towards the end of this mile, I pushed hard to keep my pace in line.  I just could not push down towards the 9 end, I was giving everything I had.  My lungs were on fire.  We went through a tunnel and the sound of my breath was frightening.  I could've been the lead act in a Haunted House.

Mile 6 - 9:30 - Again, seems to follow the profile perfectly, I turned the corner to begin this mile and not only was there a giant hill, but the wind was really hard right at my face.  I felt like I was sliding backwards.  My pace was over 10 min/mile.  I was not going to end on a bad note.  I made it up the hill and had to make up the pace on the flat as best I could.  I was doing a countdown of how much longer I had to suffer.  Lungs were on FIRE.  I couldn't breath and then it happened... the older bald dude I had been chasing pulled back on the throttle.  I got to his side and said "no, you have to keep pushing... you are pulling me along."  He said "don't let me hold you back, go, go, go!"  I don't think he understood.  I needed him to go fast, I needed to chase him.  I had nothing left on my own.  But he let me go.  Ugh.  I was doing the best I could and just waiting to hit 6, because I know I can pull anything out on the back end.  It doesn't matter how fatigued I am...

Last 0.2 - 7:30 - I could hear the music at the finish and I wanted this over.  I knew I hadn't met my "A" goal, but I knew I would PR.  I put on the jet-boosters and went.  Wasn't long before I heard all of my friends cheering like crazy.  So I pulled out my crazy long sprinter legs and pushed to the finish, and then promptly collapsed on the grass.  Wouldn't even take off my timing chip. 

Official time - 57:12 - Pace 9:13 min/mile - a PR by 2:23.  I will take it.  There was *nothing* left in me.  I could not have done better on that day given the hills and the wind (although the 20 degree drop in temps sure was nice).  I had left everything I had on the course, and I was not disappointed.  I know I can PR again on a flat course, although I'm not sure 5ks and 10ks fit into my plan for awhile, I have bigger fish to fry on the horizon.

Pictured - (and no, we did NOT color coordinate on purpose)
Monica - who ran an awesome 5k!
Robin D - who won Overall Female Masters!  (in 51min)  Chick is fast!
Jenn - who smoked her 5k and got second in her Age Group (glad to have her injury-free)
Me - who still couldn't breath, but was attempting to look joyful!
Sheila - who ran her *first* 5k today!  Apparently she was so excited, she smiled and waved across the finish... I think that's awesome and we should all try it sometime! (And for the record, I'm in the process of using my persuasive powers to convince Sheila that she's capable of a half marathon.)
Handicap Sign - Mike (who took the photo) said this represented him.  Sadly, he came up to me as I finished... so I knew it was bad, otherwise he would've walked it in.  His knee totally gave in, and he said he tried to run again, but it buckled.  He was driven to the finish.  Prayers appreciated for Mike's knee not to be seriously injured again.  Ugh.

Not pictured... Robin W (who got 2nd in her age group for the 10k) and Dana (who got an awesome PR)!!!  Great job by everyone!!!