Less than a week after the dreadful experience that was the Chicago Rock’n’Roll ½ Marathon, Jon and I got married! Wahoo! Honestly, it was the greatest week and weekend, so as you can imagine, the disappointment from the race quickly disappeared. We had a wedding to attend, and it was OURS! Following our blissful wedding (No honeymoon; booo :( ) we were kind of jolted back into real life. Jon started classes two days later, and I was back at work the following Monday as well. Additionally, I had the attitude that if we had to be back in real life, why shouldn’t I keep training? Despite giving myself grace the week and few weeks after the wedding with training, I honestly didn’t miss a workout, and I think it was partly because with everything going on and all the changes, training was something consistent in my life full of so many new things. For example, when I had to talk to a million people at the rehearsal dinner with zero alone time (#introvertprobz), I actually wanted to wake up on my wedding day and do a workout. Beth joined me at the local track, and we pounded out a ladder workout at 3k pace. It was refreshing, and just what I needed. I am thankful she was willing to wake up. True friend right there.
Jumping right into training after the wedding had its perks, but like I said, I gave and I’m still giving myself wiggle room. In a perfect world I would wake up early before work (5am ish) and get the workout done. Lately, though, I find myself wanting to sleep in and relax with the hubz in the morning, drinking coffee, and talking about our plans for the day. Would I have a better workout if I woke up and got it done in the morning? Probably. But, spending this morning time together when we don’t have a lot of time at night is really valuable to me, and ultimately that life-long relationship is more important than getting a workout done in the morning. So there’s that.
As I give myself grace on getting morning workouts done and going to bed a little later than I prefer, I think it’s ironic I’ve actually had a really great last month of training and racing. And that’s what brings me to my post for today: winning the oldest footrace in Memphis.
This year was the 41st annual Overton park 5 miler. This race is known for being really tough and HOTT. It’s August in the South!
Following Rock’n’Roll Chicago, for good reason I believe, I decided to race without a watch for the first time in years. For my running confidence, I needed to do this. I knew I was fit enough to run sub 1:30 at Chicago, and I decided to approach this race with a clean slate. It is known for being really hilly, half on trails and grass, and lots of turns. I had no idea what to expect, but I told myself I would dig deep and work hard and most importantly not start my watch or look at a race clock.
So that’s what I did, and following suit with the last few posts: this is the story of that morning.
The race started at 8am less than 2 miles from our apartment, so it was perfect to use that as a warm-up. When I arrived at the park, I realized how cool of a tradition this race is! 41 years is a long time! There were guys running this race for their 30th year in a row. I’m not even 30 years old. I felt humbled to be there.
Like I said, I knew this was a tough course. The director told me beforehand he re-did the course this year to make it as difficult as possible?!! OH GOOD! Ha. For some reason I wasn’t nervous, though. I knew it would be hard, but it would be hard for everyone. Everyone would have to run the same course as me. Solidarity.
I gave Jon a kiss before heading to the starting line, and before I knew it we were off!
Because I run almost daily in this park, I know it like the back of my hand. I know when there is a slight uphill or a downhill, and I know about how far points to points are. Like previous races, I promised I wouldn’t start “racing” until the half-way point. Within the first mile, I found myself in a group of men a little older than me, and I was first female. It made me giggle a little when two guys (obviously training partners/friends) were going back and forth about the “pace” we were holding.
“Okay, *Bob, you’re a little ambitious right now. We are a little ahead of pace!”
I obviously had no idea what pace we were at because remember I didn’t have my watch turned on!
It was a freeing moment :) I felt strong, and for once I didn’t even care about the pace.
When I got to mile 2.5 (or what I presumed to be), I picked it up and started to “race” as I promised myself. I broke away from that pack of guys and really dialed into a hard effort.
Around mile 3, we hit the trails! With it being single track, I solely concentrated on not falling LOLL. (I very rarely run trails).
I passed my coach and a water station at mile 4, and with one mile to go, still having zero clue where I was pace wise, I felt strong and HAPPY! Can you tell? ;)
The last mile seemed like eternity, and with it being an uphill, it was tough! I tried super hard to catch the guy in front of me, but couldn’t quite make it.
Regardless, I ended up 1st female overall, and when I crossed the finish line seeing the clock, boy was I pretty shocked. 32:14!
I did the math and realized I just ran 6:27 pace on a super tough course. I persevered and I finally felt confident about my training again after the disappointing Chicago experience.
We all have peaks and troughs in our training. That’s part of it. I’ve had a really good summer, but I know there absolutely has to be troughs and valleys in order to appreciate the peaks. This race was a peak, and I’m thankful for that. I don’t take days like this lightly; I know this is a gift I’ve been given for a short time, even if for a lifetime. Life is short.