Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake 10K

This weekend I had the pleasure of running the Strawberry Shortcake 10k in Plympton.

Well, not that Strawberry Shortcake. The other one....

Yum! If you are wondering, we did all get the tasty dessert upon finishing. Such a delicious way to end the race. (Though I was tempted to dress up in green and white knee socks and wear pink in honor of Ms. Shortcake. Then Erin told me it was not that kind of race.)

The race did not start out quite as well. I woke up bright and early, totally in the mood to just stay in bed. I picked out a cute running skirt and wore a sparkly headband to get into race mode, and it kiiiind of worked.

My brain was not in the mood though. As I went to put on my sneakers, I noticed I grabbed two different shoes.

Don't know how that happened, as clearly Rob and I have stellar shoe organization system going on.

I put on the right shoes, choked down ate a stale bagel thin with peanut butter, then got in the car to drive to Plympton. I forgot to grab water when I left the apartment, so I was super thirsty by the time I got to the race. We had a ton of G2 and Powerade in our trunk, so I was able to have a few sips of a warm grape Gatorade that sort of did the trick. Sort of.

I met up with Erin and her friend and we chatted until the start of the race. I just felt tired and a bit sluggish. Erin and I started close to the front, and when the race began, she took off! I knew I couldn't keep up, but I figured my goal would be to at least keep her in my sight.

About half a mile in, I was tempted to give up. I was tired and not really feeling the run. I knew the course was hilly, and even thought I've done 8-10 mile runs the past few weekends, I doubted my ability to finish the race. I thought about how I could quit now and could just walk to the start.

A running coach once told me that you shouldn't judge a run until you're 2 miles in. These words have always stuck with me, because I find them to be very true. The mood of the first few steps doesn't always carry over to the rest of the run.

When I saw the mile 1 marker on the course, I glanced at my Garmin and was surprised to see I had exactly 1 mile. (Usually weaving or taking the outside of a turn will add on fractions of a mile so the distance on my Garmin is typically higher than the course markers). I was also surprised to see a 8:12 pace. I usually take the Garmin pace with a grain of salt but it seemed right here. 

The first water stop was about a half mile after that, and I was grateful for the water. Especially since all the water stations were staffed by Daisies and Weblos (the youngest member of the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts). They were adorable, and while I usually don't stop at every water station during a race, I found that I couldn't say no to the little kids offering me a drink.

It may have been a little past mile 2 when I finally got into my groove. I had to remind myself that the course was hilly in the second half, so I tried to slow it down a bit. All along I could see Erin's blue shirt up ahead like a dangling carrot I would try to run for but would never reach.

The hills definitely slowed me down, and shortly after mile 4, I lost Erin from my sight. I still kept pushing and started passing other racers who were losing steam. The race description had boasted a downhill finish, so while I felt like I was constantly climbing. I knew the end would be sweet.

At mile 5 I glanced at my watch and realized that I was going to finish this race under 55 minutes. My last 10k was just a hair under 56 minutes and was a much easier course, so I was feeling really good!

My official time was 54 minutes and 25 seconds, and I was pumped! Not a PR but the fastest I had run in awhile. It was a tough course too, so I earned that shortcake.

The best part? Erin placed! That speedy girl!

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