A couple weeks ago was suppose to be my mid-OutSeason Run Test. I knew I'd run faster in a race than on my own, so I decided to use the Jingle Bell 10k for the test. Well, in honor of finals week leading up to the race, I will grade this test a big, fat F.
No, the lead up to the day wasn't great. Stress, bad/little sleep, bad eating, bad workouts. But I still was optimistic I could see a minor V-dot bump. I woke up at 6:30, showered (silly to do before a race, but I hadn't yesterday...), ate oatmeal with brown sugar, drank a cup of coffee, and left by 7:40. I got to the race around 8:20, picked up my packet, checked my bag, and headed out for a warmup. Warming up before races is still a new concept for me, but I knew that if I wanted to go out at a hard pace, I needed to get my legs going. I ran at an easy pace for 10 minutes, and my legs felt good. I was a little disappointed that my easy pace was slower than 9 minute miles, but that is what a warmup is suppose to be, right? I ended up getting a longer warmup than that when I was running to the water fountain to take a pre-race gu and visit the porta-potties away from the start. I got to the corral with just a couple minutes to spare.
The first mistake lied in the fact that I had looked at last year's results and seen that I should be able to place. I missed the memo that last year had some treacherous weather, and probably slowed everyone down. Even without that, it is always silly to assume the same people will show up as they did in the past. Based on this, I lined up with the first few rows, and went out FAST! The first time I looked at my watch it was showing a 6:45 pace. Umm... I slowed slightly, as there was no way I could maintain that. When I was a half-mile in, I was already hurting. Heart and lung kind of hurting. How will I do this sort of hurting. It would have been the smart thing to drastically slow down, but I didn't enough, or the damage had already been done. My first mile clocked in at 7:10.
By mile two, I was seriously thinking about quitting. I could just walk back to the start... I told myself I could slow a bit, and I did. That was just the start of continuously slowing down. I thought of quitting so many times, but told myself I can run a 10k, even if it isn't the pace I wanted. The silly thing is that I just sort of flipped a switch. If I wasn't running at a sub-7:30 pace, I was barely running. I should have instead adjusted my goal and still gotten in a good threshold workout. Throughout the race I kept telling myself that at said mile, I would up the pace. That never happened. I finished in a disappointing 50:06.
Overall, my performance was very disappointing. It wasn't a race, and really didn't show what I was capable of. It did expose a couple things. Pacing is key. Going out too hard can sabotage you. Mental toughness is also key. Mine didn't show up today. My main realization is that the 5k/10k distance is really tough for me. I am more of an endurance girl, so I'm not sure how much this bothers me, but it is still a distance that highlights my mental weakness and I'd like to fix that. In terms of testing my fitness, it is also a much easier distance to recover from, so much more feasible to do that on a regular basis than a 10 miler or half-marathon which can put a dent in your training while you recover. All-in-all, I don't know what the result would have been had I paced better. Or stayed strong. Maybe I would've had a good race, maybe my legs just wouldn't have shown up. Win some, lose some.
Another lesson was how important it is to value a race and have a clear plan and expectations. For instance, I targetted the Indy Half-Marathon. I had a good goal for what I was capable of based on my training. I made a plan for how to pace it. And it worked. I exceeded by goal. Here, and at other races where I show up, hoping to hit some speedy pace but not having the training results to back it up, and just winging it. I always come up short, and when I'm not doing how well my dream-self thought I might, I bail out mentally. That was the case in New Orleans last February, at the Women's Half that I DNF'd, and it was true at this 10k.
Looking ahead, my next race is the F3 Winter Half Marathon. As of now, I am not planning on "racing" it. I will do it for a fun 13 mile run. I don't think I have the run training to do well, and I don't want to lose the training time before or after with tapering or recovering.