I promised myself I wouldn't race until Boston because I was so burnt out at the end of 2016, but the more I thought about it, I realized that would leave me feeling pretty stale and nervous when I got to the starting line in April. I decided to run the Race on the Base 10K because it fell perfectly half way through my training cycle and it's a local race that I've never done.
I went to the expo on Friday night on my own since Ricky had a photography event. In addition to the 10K and 5K, they have a reverse triathlon which is a pretty big race, so the expo was large. It was also on the base and security was strict, so it took a small wait to get in the gate, get my ID checked, and finally park. It was pretty late and most of the expo vendors were gone, so I just grabbed my bib and went home.
I went to bed around 10, and didn't do too much prep for the race. I picked my outfit that morning - so out of the ordinary to not lay my stuff out. I picked my race shorts - these black Oiselle Flyte shorts have been the shorts I've raced in the last 4-5 times and I LOVE them (I have them in every color). It was going to be a cold morning (45° at the start), and since it was shorter race, I opted for a short sleeve tee instead of a tank.
After I ate my Honeystinger waffle and apple (what I eat before every race/long run), we left at 5:30 am. They warned us of high traffic getting onto the base because every car and ID has to be checked, but we were still almost 2 miles from the gate when we were at a standstill. Time ticked on and anxiety and fear started to set in that I wouldn't have enough time to do my warm up and hit the bathrooms. Finally at 6:10, we pulled into the neighborhood, found parking as close as possible, and walked onto the base.
With 35 minutes left to start time, I had just enough time for my warm up. Here's what I did:
- 1 mile easy paced run
- Dynamic stretching (10 x's linear leg swings, 10 x's lateral leg swings, 5 x's hurdles on each leg)
- 4 x 100 m strides with 100m recovery between
I also visited the restroom between each of those bullet points - there is no such thing as too many restroom breaks before a race! I made my way to the start around 6:55 and lined up in front with a few other women. We started just minutes after 7 am. I made sure not to go out too fast, but my watch wasn't picking up a signal on my pace. I started freaking out since all I could see was the first male up in front of me and that was IT. With no working GPS. OMG. How was I going to do this? Finally my watch picked up my pace and it showed just under 6 minute/mile. Total freak out moment in there.
I cooled it and just held what felt comfortably hard. I held first female for the first 2.5 miles. A few guys passed me, and I told myself if a woman came up, I'd just try to pace with her. Finally, a long legged brunette who must've been 6 feet tall came up next to me. Her pace was steady and she looked strong. I was now in the 6:30 range and was trying to maintain that for the remainder of the race. She rolled by and I told her she looked awesome - it's never fun losing unless you support those who beat you.
The race weaves its way across the base back and forth. I was just after mile 4 and we were coming up the runway while those behind us were on the other side coming towards us. I heard someone on the other side yell, "Pick it up!" and heard a girl behind me say, "I'm going fast!" I could tell she was close! I just focused on my race at this point and held onto that 6:30 pace. Just after that someone yelled at me "Go Jessica!" So awesome - definitely gave me a kick, but finally, just before mile 5, the other woman came up on me. I tried soooo hard to stay with her, but I still had a mile to go and was pushing with all I had left at this point.
We finally turned into the last stretch of the race around mile 5.2 and we joined up with the 5K runners for the last half mile. This made it tricky to figure out if any other 10K runners were coming up on me, so I picked it up (to my surprise!). I crossed the finish and immediately stopped my watch. I knew around mile 5 there was a chance I would break 40 minutes. I looked and my watch said 6.12 miles and a 6:31 pace. 39:50 finish. I checked in with the 2 ladies who beat me and congratulated them on a strong finish. They both had a short distance on their watch too. I struggle with this because GPS watches can be slightly off, but do I claim the sub 40? I still PR'd - my previous PR was 42:22 and a 6:47 pace, so I took quite a bit of time off my overall pace and am super happy with that.
I found Ricky and we checked to see what time the awards ceremony would be - it was 8 am and they weren't doing awards until 11 am because the triathlon had 2 waves. We didn't want to wait, so I did a cool down jog back to the car. My legs felt great afterwards, but I knew I needed to rest them a bit because I had 20 miles to run the next day.
I'm really happy with how this race went and feel like it was a great indicator of how my training has progressed so far. I'm feeling confident and strong with only 7 weeks left until Boston!
Did you race this past weekend? How'd it go?