Training Week: Sept 16 to Sept 22 and Be The Light Race Report

Had a fun group 10K scheduled for the week. Be The Light Night Run/Walk is for a great cause, and it was supposed to be a “let’s see where we’re at fitness-wise” test as part of my training plan for my half marathon in November. Since it’s in the middle of a training cycle, I didn’t do a complete taper, but I did lighten things up a bit and tried to do more fast-twitch stuff. Anyway, the race turned out to be more difficult than expected on the one-hand…and also one of the best races on the other. Read on for the details.

Thursday was my last workout before my tune-up 10K on Saturday. 1 mile at recovery pace then the goal was 3 miles at HM pace (8:33). I hit 8:38-8:34-8:11. My paces are still whack. Anyway, I shut it down running-wise until Saturday night’s race (I did a hot yoga class the next day). From April to June I ran six races, but Saturday night’s race would be my first race since June 22 when I ran around a track 25 times, and I expected to be a bit rusty.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the blog post, the race turned out to be more difficult than expected. For one thing, the weather. The calendar said “pretty much fall”, but weather.com said 99 degrees for the day, and 88˚ at the start of the race. Oy. So I started with having to adjust my goal pace to be around 8:30. That was one unexpected difficulty and was totally out of my control.

The next one was totally my fault. So if I’m racing, I will either be racing to get a PR (or specific time), or I’m racing to win. 99% of the time I’m racing to get a PR, but when I ran the USATF West Region Masters T&F Championship in June, I was racing to win. In other words, I was racing against someone. This race fell into that rare category where I was racing against someone: my pastor. (Is that spiritually wrong?)

So instead of running my race, my goal switched to making sure I didn’t lose. Well, you know how this goes. He went out way too fast, and I wasn’t about to let him get ahead further than a few lengths, so I ran a 7:57 mile 1. Gulp. 7:57 in 88 degree heat…only 5.2 more miles to go! This photo is the exact moment my pastor decided to make both our lives miserable and sprinted ahead of me. Ha.

It was a mostly flatish course, but there were some inclines and a headwind at times. Luckily, I was able to pass him at around mile 2.8, but the damage had been done. I was toast. I still probably could have pulled out an 8:45-ish pace, but at mile four I cramped up, first in one calf, then both. I clearly was not prepared nutritionally for the heat and level of exertion I expended in miles 1 and 2. From mile four on, I had to stop several times and adjust my gait to accommodate the cramping. Any time I tried to accelerate or take a longer stride, my calves would seize up. Yikes.

Anyway, I still managed to come in 1st in my age group and 9th overall for women.

But those stats aren’t the best part of the race (nor was beating my pastor — though that was nice). Nope. See, I ran the race with a group, and for several of them it was their first time ever running a race. So the very best part of the night had nothing to do with my race, but instead was getting to see one friend run across the finish line for the first time. Watching him experience the feeling I get whenever I do something hard that maybe I wasn’t sure I could even do was awesome! I definitely got the feels. Sometimes the race isn’t about PRing — and sometimes the race isn’t even about me.

Running is awesome.

Total Miles: 26.2
Long Mile: 10 miles

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