After my crazy week at work tracking snow, I wasn’t sure if it was the best idea to take on a race this past weekend. But after a lot of rest on Saturday, I woke up Sunday feeling rejuvenated and ready to run. I figured I was going to run 3 miles anyway, so I might as well go and support our local racing community!
AND…. how many times do you have a chance to run a race in a perfect sunny 50 degrees with snow STILL on the ground?
I was even hoping the Frostbite 5K would be a redemption race after having to pull out of the Frostbite 10K last year for health reasons. I hadn’t had time to train for a 10K, but I felt running the 5K would still be symbolic.
I got to the race at the last minute and stood in line for day of registration. I remember thinking, I am becoming a pro at the running races on a whim thing! I even briefly considered signing up for the 10K and just pacing myself really slow. Luckily, my hubby talked me out of that “brilliant” idea.
*Spoiler alert: The race was not as EASY as I thought it would be!*
There was a really nice indoor mini expo set up in the Leia Patterson Center. If the weather for the race had turned out really cold, this would have been a GREAT benefit to get out of the elements before and after the race. It was so nice though, most people were enjoying the great weather outside.
I got my bib number with just a few minutes to spare!
The 10K started first and some fierce looking runners and a penguin took off. Yes, a penguin… look close…
After about a 5 minute wait time, the gun went of for the 5K. I talked to some runners about the course. The website said the 5K was “flat to rolling hills” so I wasn’t too worried about it, but some of the runners thought it might be a little more hilly than I was expecting. Yikes!
Oh wait! There he is!
And wait… is that a hill….
…. and another hill.
I remember looking at my GPS watch and seeing 10 plus minute miles on these steep hills, so I decided to push a little harder. I like to see something closer to 9 minute miles when I’m running a 5K. I started to panic because I didn’t really have a strategy on how to pace myself on the steep inclines.
…and another hill.
After these first hills, I remember a brief downhill run where I hit a WAY TO FAST 8 minute/mile time on my GPS watch. Little did I know the next mile and a half was going completely back uphill.
Mile 1 pace: 9:20
I should have known when I looked at the course and it said it read “Hutch Mountain Road,” that it literarily was running on a road up a mountain. Sigh… I think I just wanted it to be a flat race.
Near the end of the second uphill mile, I could hardly breathe and was having some trouble with my vocal chords constricting and not allowing a good air flow. I slowed to a crawl and I just couldn’t go faster. It wasn’t pretty at all.
Mile 2 pace: 11:00
We eventually hit a turn around and started a downhill descent. I was able to regain my breathe and stride. What goes up, must come back down? Right…
Before the last downhill section, the course took a turn down a mud trail, which was still a little messy and hard to run on from all of the snow, before it finally crept back to the finish.
Mile 3: 9:50
Mile 3: 9:50
Official finish time: 31:24……………..
I crossed the finish line in my slowest race in YEARS. UGH! I had run two 27-something minute 5K’s in the past few months! I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.
After a little grumbling to hubs about my time, he reminded me what I tell people all the time about running. Crossing the finish line is always a victory.
And you know what? Crossing the finish line Sunday was a victory because I was lucky enough to be able to run and enjoy such a beautiful February day. This time last year I had to pull out of the race because I was too sick, and this year I am healthier. This was a redemption race of sorts, no matter what the clock said.
I even got to share the fun with my co-anchor Jay and his son Malachi. They are quite a duo and I am very proud of both of them for tackling this tough 5K!
After some thinking this week, I have learned a few lessons from this race experience…
1) If I am going to race in the mountains, I really need to start running hills. I started purposefully avoiding them several years ago because of ankle trouble, but it’s time to try again. I am going to try to slowly integrate hills into my running. I live and race in the mountains. No excuses.
2) If I really want to hit a certain time at a race, I really should specifically train for it. I could have easily figured out where the hills were on this course and planned my pace and mental attack accordingly.
3) I will have bad running days! I had a really long week at work and clearly my body was not as recovered as I thought. My vocal chords don’t always want to play nice. I can’t control that, but I can work on my mental focus to overcome those obstacles and do my best. I feel like I let the unexpected challenge of the big hills get the best of me both mentally and physically.
4) Don’t believe a race website that says the course is flat or rolling hills in Western North Carolina . *Haha*
Despite my performance not being where I wanted it to be, this was really a great race and I’m glad I got to do it. IDaph did a great job with the organization and execution of the Frostbite 5K & 10K!
Have you ever had a disappointing race time?
How do you conquer hills?