But, back to the topic at hand - I could go on about my love of Elite, but that could be its own post.
As I've said several times I was not all out racing this race. I was using it as my long run, which called for a progression and marathon pace miles. And as has become usual for me, I wanted to use my heart rate as a guide. So, I wasn't all hyped up and nervous about this at all - which is a total shift from when I ran JASR the first time around. In fact, if anything I really wasn't motivated enough, given the weather. But, this would be my first 30K - so I was in for a PR no matter what!
I got to North Park a little after 8 AM. Just like Spring Thaw, since it was so darn cold (a "feels like" temp of 4? Ugh), I didn't want to be outside more than I needed to be. So I had Nick drop me off up the hill a bit and I ran/walked for warmup as I heard them play the National Anthem. I was worried I was later than I was, but then after the song ended the race director and the DJ both talked a bit, so I was ok. I got in the 30K corral (it starts in a different place than the other races) and chatted with some people. The 9:00 pacer was a genuinely nice man who was also joining in complaining about the awful cold weather. He paced Spring Thaw too, so he shared in our misery.. haha. My plan was to stick with him for the first few miles to give my legs, lungs, and heart rate monitor time to warm up and then go from there.
McKinney hill was downright laughable. Honestly - I didn't even notice it. And sticking with the pacer, I felt like I was crawling up the thing, but I kept to my plan and stuck with him because my hrm was still telling me I was dying. Funny how something was so intimidating once before, but now that I've made running it a regular thing it's just like "oh, that was it?".
My HRM started working sometime before the 3.6 mile split, and I took the chance to start running ahead of the pack a bit since my heart rate was on the low end. I didn't want to throw down the throttle just yet, but I wanted to increase the pace gradually the first two loops.
The first lake loop just kinda... went. It was unremarkable, really. My legs were fresh, my heart rate was right on, and I felt good. I did have some obstacles to deal with, though - mostly revolving gear issues. My earbud kept falling out of my ear. The wind was awful and didn't help that. My earwarmer/headband also kept slipping out of place. I think it is one of the many things I have that have just gotten old and need replaced. I actually told my husband earlier that I need to get a pair of Yurbuds (finally). I've been cheap about getting them for myself even though he's had them forever and raves about them all the time. Also - my Amphipod strap kept falling off... So between the earbud, headband, and bottle, I was always having to mess with something. It was truly frustrating.
A lot of people seemed to finish after my first loop because during the second loop there was much less of a crowd. I was feeling really good despite the previously mentioned gear issues and I pressed on for loop #2. Then - I had more issues to deal with. Coming down the hill by the spillway my shoe came untied. That's a first for me during a race! And yes, it was double knotted to start! Another reason I can't stand these shoes! I sped up a bit so I could safely get to the side without tripping anyone up and tied my shoe. This took a little bit of time because my hands were FROZEN. I had to take my gloves off and my fingers were just numb. But, I got it tied, finally, and kept going. The other thing that unfortunately happened during this second loop is that the top of my Amphipod froze. So, now I had to start utilizing the course fluid stations, which were serving a totally different liquid than I was drinking, and the two did not mesh well at all. My stomach rumbled and I seriously went through bouts of either nausea or feeling like I might shit myself for the whole rest of the race. Not good.
Speaking of race nutrition, this is another thing that went awry for me - I kept forgetting to take my GUs on time! My five mile Espresso Love was taken at 5.27 miles, my 10 mile Salted Caramel was taken around 10.5 and my final mile 15 Cherry Lime Roctane wasn't taken until almost the 16 mile point. My head was obviously frozen and inserted in my ass. But I am sure that this contributed to both my stomach troubles and my feeling really drained that last mile. I got behind on my sugar... and as living with a diabetic has taught me - once that gets too low, it takes forever it seems to pull back up and then once it is up, you feel like ass.
Other than all the lovely things going on, I was still able to pick up my pace on this second loop and my legs felt good, even if other things didn't.
On to loop #3... If I thought the crowd had died off before, I hadn't seen anything yet. I actually went through spots on this loop where the other runners/walkers around me weren't even running the race! It was just like running North Park any old day, but every once in a while was a fluid station with awesome, cheerful and encouraging volunteers. Seriously, these guys deserve huge credit.. We were out running in this awful weather. They stood there and held frozen cups. I think they had it worse but they still did it. Love those volunteers!
Well what do you know, but again during this loop my damn shoe came untied!! This time, since I was concerned about keeping up my pace and finishing, I really jerked those shoestrings tight, and unfortunately tied my shoe way too tight. I am now sitting here with a huge bruise on the top of my foot that hurts like a bitch. I couldn't believe it though - once? Ok. Twice? WTF? Things just got hilarious from here. To get through this race I really just had to start laughing. If it wasn't one thing it was another. If I wasn't putting my earbud back in for the 1000000000000000 time I was putting the strap back on my Amphipod. If I wasn't having to coach myself through nausea and potential diarrhea, my foot was feeling screwed up. This just wasn't a run that was supposed to go smoothly. And I accepted that and moved on!
I was able to catch up to the 8:30 pace group during this loop. The pacer had some microphone/speaker thing and kept yelling out to people. I kept going back and forth from thinking this is totally obnoxious to maybe a bit helpful. Eventually, on that final turn off the lake loop to head back in toward the tennis courts I was able to leave him behind me but with that speaker all I could still hear was "Yeah, yeah, all you, looking good, you're awesome, let's do it, make your move", etc. lol
I crossed the finish line in 2:38:00. Average pace was 8:29 according to chronotrack time. Of course on my Garmin I had to go the extra distance and ran 18.87 miles for an average pace of 8:22. I will never be good at running tangents, and to be frank, I really don't care. I know some people are all like "but your time, your time!", but I'm like fuck my time... it is what it is. In races I like to do crazy stuff like run the whole way over to the other side of the road for a "Power up button", or to high five kids or a band member or just simply because I like the view better somewhere else and need a change. To me, I need to make a part of this fun. I'm not a professional runner. I don't even consider myself a good runner. I run because I like the challenge and the way it makes me feel. Running certainly doesn't pay my bills so I'll do what I want with it, ok?
After the race it was good to catch up with Jennifer, who ran a fantastic half marathon! It's always good to see a familiar face when you've crossed a finish line. Our friend Mike K was also running around providing encouragement and humor as always. Thankfully the upstairs of the boathouse was open for heat/stretching/bathrooms because I had to hang out for a few minutes while Nick & Garrett came back from Trader Joe's... lol
All said this what exactly what I wanted it to be - a training run. And, in training you learn to adapt and overcome things just in case you have the worst thrown at you on race day. So, after probably more than my fair share of really great long runs, I had one that put me to the test. I'm thankful for that. At least now I know that I will be wearing different shoes for the marathon, I won't bother with a handheld, and I'll have new earbuds too. Hopefully it will be too warm on marathon day to bother with earwarmers too. It's all about practice and perspective. :)
Hey - I ran a 30K and got a new PR! I'm happy! Training is still going as planned!