Night before the race....
Shoes - I had been planning on wearing my Asics HyperSpeeds, but lately they've been giving me blisters on my 2nd toe in longer runs. So, Monday this week I ordered a pair of New Balance 1600's - and did the thing EVERYONE says not to do, and ran the race in them with only two days of short runs to see how they feel. Worked out fine! (Luckily).
Shirt or no shirt; that is the question - It was REALLY hot on race day - 74 degrees at start and 80 degrees at the end with VERY humid. The "dew point" was 74. I decided that if I saw at least one other guy with no shirt, then I would go shirtless. But, I wouldn't be the only one. Pretty quickly I saw a few guys with no shirt, so I took mine off and never regretted it. (I had pinned my race bib to my shorts the night before, so I was ready for a quick decision). I think this helped with the humidity - with no shirt I get a little more "cooling" from running / breezes and I'm not wearing a completely saturated shirt (which would have happened after about 1/2 mile). I've basically been running with no shirt on all outside runs the past month, so my upper body is not as lily white as usual (this is a real consideration for me). I also tried to avoid as much direct eye contact with women prior to the start to avoid any "side eye" I might get.
Night before the race - early dinner of pasta (my usual). Watch some Olympics and hit the bed early, trying for a restful night of sleep. Actually, not too bad.
Morning of the race....
The race started at 7:30 about 15 minutes from my house. Set the alarm for 5:30 to get my pre-race breakfast eaten two hours prior to start (I always eat a packet of "raisins and spice" instant oatmeal and a small glass of milk - and COFFEE). Quick run around the neighborhood to eat the blood and legs moving and help "process" last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast. "Processing" completed, and out the door about 6:15.
Arrived around 6:35, parked and then....relaxed. I like having extra time before a race to "calm down", get used to the surroundings, and "settle in". It was hot and humid and a long race, so only a 1 mile warm-up around 7:10 plus my usual pre-run dynamic stretching.
Weather: 74 degrees at race start. Humidity 95%. Dew point 74. So...NOT great conditions. I had expected it though. This is only my second "long race". I did a HM in June, and I've done one 10k, so I don't trust how I feel yet to tell me if my pace is optimal. And, how much will the weather affect my time? The HM I ran in June was at 6:49 pace. The weather was not as bad then, as it is today, but it wasn't great either. So, with all that, below is the plan...
Race plan. I divided the race into 3 mile increments in my head. I'm familiar with the course, which starts out by running thru a few streets in downtown Leesburg, then miles 3-12 are on the W and OD path. The last .4 mile is back on the street to the finish line. All races run by PR Running usually are well organized, and today was no exception.
I thought about the race in 3 mile increments as follows:
- First three miles in 20:15. The race starts downhill, and then flattens out with mile 3 being slightly uphill.
- Mile 4-6 in 20:30 - mile 4 and 5 are uphill, with one section being pretty steep. Should hit mile 6 around 40:45 total time.
- Mile 7-9 in in 20:15. Mile 7 is uphill, but mill 9 is downhill. Total time: 1:00:45
- Mile 9-12 in 19:50 - all 3 miles are downhill. Total time: 1:20:35
- Last 0.4 in 3:00 - all uphill. Total time: 1:23:35
So, how did it go?
Race start - the usual butterflies and nerves, but not bad. The race was close to my house, so I saw familiar faces and made some small talk which helped.
- Mile 1 - 3: Ahead of plan - 19:57 - about 20 seconds faster than planned. I ran mile 2 in 6:26 which was too fast, but slowed the pace in mile 3 to get back closer to plan. In mile 2 I got pulled along by a small pack of runners and I was feeling good, but quickly realized I need to let them go.
- Mile 4- 6: Back on plan - 20:44 - slower than plan, but I'm back close to my overall planned time, thru mile 6 my time is 40:41. The uphill on mile 4-5 was harder than I expected - I had to be careful to not work too hard here and bust my whole plan. I had to let a couple folks I was running with go at this point and catch on to a group that was coming up behind me, Mile 6 was downhill which helped me recover some, and start feeling better.
- Mile 7-9: Losing ground to plan - 20:53 - total time: 1:01:34. Now, I'm about a minute behind plan. Mile 8 really sucked. The turnaround on the W and OD was at about mile 6.8, and then the fun of the slight down hill was over and back uphill we went. I didn't realize how steep mile 8 would be....I struggled mightily on this mile. I ran it in 7:17 - by far my slowest mile. My only thought was to get thru this mile, then it's all downhill.
- Mile 10-12: Losing more time to plan - 20:05 - total time: 1:21:39. I had planned to run this section at 6:35 pace....and mile 10 was in 6:36. During mile 11 I tried to close on a couple guys in front of me, but right as I caught them I got a side stitch and had to slow down. Never got my rhythm back after that and struggled to keep my pace to the end. VERY FRUSTRATING.
- Last .43 in 3:10. This included a steep uphill section I just had to grind out.
I gotta figure out this side stitch thing - I sipped a little bit of water every couple miles at the water stops and poured most of the water over my head. I don't know if I was dehydrated and needed to drink more or if the little bit I did drink was what caused it.....
Side note: when pouring water over your head try going down ur back instead of front to avoid water logged shoes......
Next race - a 5k in four weeks......