Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's Not Just About Me, And My Dream of Doing Nothing-The Winter Sun 10K Race Report

Okay, the poorly kept secret is out. I am a huge fan of the movie Office Space. ;)

That's literally how I felt going into this race. A month ago, I was dreaming of a BQ-on Saturday, I was sucking down coffee at 5:30 a.m. with zero motivation to get in the car, drive down to Moab and run a 10K. My motivation to do anything besides phone it in could be described as less than zero. At my recent turkey trot 5K, I went in like gangbusters, big dreams of a 5K PR, but felt kind of lousy while running and didn't come up with the race I'd hoped for. I had made arrangements, though, with two friends to ride down together for Winter Sun, so it didn't matter what I wanted to do with my Saturday (and maybe this is why I made the get myself out the door and down to Moab).

My friend Suzanne was coming in to meet me at my home at 6:30 a.m.. She lives an hour east of me, and I live four hours from nowhere, as my father likes to tell me every time he tries to fly out west for visits with my family. She was also coming off a fall marathon, as well as an injury she suffered while running said marathon. We're in the same age group and have some ridiculously spot-on PR's at a variety of distances.

When she made it to town, we headed over to pick up Carl, who lives just around the corner from me. Carl had not initially registered for Winter Sun, essentially citing a lack of enjoyment with his racing and running at the time. He'd been saying how great his last few weeks of runs and most recent races had been, though, so I decided to poke him with a stick, sending him an email on Friday reminding him that there was still a seat in my car if he was hankering for a last minute entry into the race. There was a recent development that members of our local running club could pick up a guaranteed entry into the Canyonlands Half Marathon or 5-miler by running Winter Sun. As a club member, this was extra incentive to run, so he decided that he was in as well, and hence we had the Party Prius loaded up and ready to go at 6:45.

When we got to Moab, it was sunny, crisp-cold and clear, and just so much nicer than last year's race weather. RWOL sometime-poster Josh, who lives in Utah, was also there so we all got to meet up and chat before the race. I got warmed up and did feel pretty good then, but wasn't thinking too hard about the race. I think the comment I made about how I was feeling is that "my give a (darn) was broken."

I think about 350 or so people ran this race last year. This year, there were close to 600, probably in part due to the nice weather. We were lined up somewhere in the middle of the waiting pack, and I still was very much in the "whatever" mindset. I just wanted to beat last year's 48:59 time, and crack into the top ten in my age group this year (I was 11th out of about 67 or so last year). As my mileage is close to double where it was a year ago, a fast course ahead of me, and with results in the past six months that would predict surpassing that time, it was not exactly a "pushing it" goal for me. The gun went off, and off we went.

It was rather congested in the first half mile but I kind of wiggled here and there when there was room to move, but took it easy and didn't kill myself trying to push my pace or pass as many people as possible early on. First mile: 7:52.

The second mile includes a couple of ups and downs, and the only significant hills on the course. My breathing was good and the body just felt decent in general so I just tried to use good downhill form and move steadily on the uphills. Mile 2: 7:17

The middle miles were pretty nice. I felt like I was working really hard yet still enjoying being out there, and not wishing I was somewhere else. I would pass runners here and there yet I wasn't on a mission to do so-if I came upon one I'd creep on past and keep on running my own race.

Mile 3: 7:58
Mile 4: 7:11
Mile 5: 7:06

In the final mile last year, I felt pretty lousy and got passed by a couple of runners. As I entered the final mile this year, I was able to overtake a few more runners, and then really started kicking and pushing myself to finish strong. The last lap is around the track at the high school, and there's a race photo of my last year coming in looking like the poster child for people who hate running. It was pretty ugly a year ago. Seriously...I looked like I was having convulsions or seizures as I looked down at my Garmin in those photos, thinking "please put me out of my misery."

Today, I was certainly ready to be done by the time I hit the track, but I just had better control of my running at the end and broke the last lap into short stretches without looking back or thinking about the whole thing. I also didn't want to get caught by anyone I'd passed in the last mile and hold on to my position-I really wanted a top ten age group finish and didn't know how many women were ahead of me.

Mile 6: 7:14
Last .2: 1:47 (7:03 pace)

Final time: 46:24, a new 10K PR by 2:35! Granted, we don't have tons of opportunities to race 10K's right around here, but a PR is a PR so I will take that.

They don't have age groups broken out on the website other than the top three, but know I was 14 out of 279 among women, and counting down on those results, it appears I was 5th in my age group so I am very, very pleased with that.

Carl, Suzanne and I had a very nice lunch at the Moab Brewery and hit the road back to our neck of the woods. Carl had a great race too-he had his best 10K in three years. Did I mention that Carl is 75, and a cancer survivor? He came in in under an hour, and said that he had the same type of feel-good run I'd experienced out there. Suzanne, who ran very little coming in to this race due to her foot injury, had an outstanding race. It was not a PR for her but very close to how she did last year, when she was in a "racing machine" mindset and not dealing with injuries. So, it'll be just uphill from here for her now that she's back from the injury and getting back into training again.

This race is tremendously well-run and organized so it was SO worth it in the end to make the trip, even though I was dragging my feet before heading out the door. It was just a very joyful day as it wound up NOT being about me, and not caring about the race. That sun did shine brightly on us during the race, and it wound up being a great day with friends and acquaintances getting together to share a run together in a beautiful setting.

I'm looking forward to going back again next December, and who knows...maybe tricking myself into thinking I don't care before races is good for me. When it comes down to it, it really would be just tricking myself, because as soon as I get moving I realize how much I DO care, and that I shouldn't waste the opportunity when I'm out there running by not caring.


Mir said...

What a great day of racing and running companionship! Congrats on your MONSTER PR!!

elizabethnyc said...

Way to go, Kazz, and so glad to hear you have your mojo back! :-)