Saturday, January 12, 2008

SLTC Frostbite Series – 20k

I woke up this morning in a good mood and ready for a run. Unfortunately, I’m still a little sick (swollen lymph nodes), but I was determined to just enjoy myself and have a nice long run without pushing too hard or trying to “go fast.” I printed out the course map for Ryan before we left the house and looked it over. Being a huge fan of running in Forest Park, I was familiar enough with the course to be a little intimidated by the hills.

Despite my nervousness that we would be late (I’m always nervous I’ll be late), we got to the Visitor’s Center with plenty of time to spare. Ryan brought Mally along, so I had my own personal cheering section and hunky waterboy. The St. Louis Track Club does a great job organizing these races, but with only 1 water station along the 2 loop course, I knew I would need a little more than that. We ran into my friend Alice at the start line (who, by the way, is an incredible marathoner) who was running the 5k that morning and nearly missed her start. It’s always good to see a familiar face to calm the nerves. Finally, the buzzer went off and away we went!

I knew I was running too fast from the beginning (thank you Garmin), but I just couldn’t seem to slow down. (**Be advised that “fast” for me is a snail’s pace for most runners.**) I think it was because I accidentally started the race towards the front of the pack and was getting passed left and right like you wouldn’t believe…I might as well have been standing still!! Once things cleared out a bit I attempted to slow down and find a steady consistent pace.

Alice passed me going the opposite direction just after 2 miles and yelled words of encouragement, which made me smile. J I knew she was close to finishing the 5k and I was so jealous! I was already struggling and wished I was running the 5k instead.


Around mile 3 came the hills. Damn, running up hills is awful! At the height of the course was the turn-around, where Ryan and Mally were waiting for me. Talk about being happy to see them! Ryan was actually sitting in a tree! He told me I was doing great, which cheered me up immensely. The next few miles w ere better (i.e. downhill) and I finally started getting into a groove. I saw Ryan and Mally again around mile 6 and got some Gatorade and again at mile 8 before heading back up the hills. I told Ryan I was still running too fast and I was worried about crashing any time now. Of course, he said I was doing great and he was proud of me -- that was all I needed to hear to keep going.


Some how, in the last hour, the hills had grown into mountains. Seriously. The second loop seemed like it was longer and hard than the first time around. I just wanted to be done, so I put my head down and took it one step at a time. And finally, I slowed down!! I wasn’t sure they would ever end, but at the top of the hill (about mile 10), my pit crew was waiting for me with water and big smiles. With 2.5 miles to go, I was fine. On the way back down, as if my iPod knew, I heard ’50 Cent singing –“Hey shorty, it’s your birthday,” and I literally laughed out loud!!

I finished the race with a time of 2:04:15, which averages out to 10:00 minute/miles. That’s pretty good for me (yes, I’m slow)!! And more importantly, I ran the entire distance -- no walking! That felt great, especially since I was worried that my recent illness had taken a toll on my conditioning. Although it felt much much longer than 12.4 miles, my Garmin said the race was actually 12.6 miles...hmmm. I don't know about that. My splits were as follows:

1 9:24
2 9:42
3 9:54
4 10:01
5 9:54
6 9:35
7 9:42
8 10:16
9 9:56
10 10:18
11 10:19
12 9:43
13 5:25


All in all, the last 500 yards were the worst;my legs hurt pretty bad. Approaching the finish line, some guy I remembered passing half an hour before blew past me. I couldn’t imagine having that much energy left! It was the end of the race and I was completely spent! I guess it’s better to run your hardest and be empty at the end of the race than to have energy left over and know you could’ve done more, but this worried me a little. I’m going to be running more than TWICE this distance for the full marathon in less than three months! Yikes! But, of course, if was easy, everyone would do it. I can’t wait for the challenge!

3 comments:

  1. Nice job on the race, Sara! Thinking of running the marathon after running a race like this or a long run is pretty daunting, but you'll do awesome! You'll have to check out my blog, there's a bit on you there. ;-)

    Congrats again on the awesome race!

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  2. Oh, I hope you don't mind about the blog. I just thought of that, especially with an attorney, I probably should have gotten permission first! Sorry. Hope you don't mind.

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  3. Sara: I can't believe your time..I am totally impressed. I had to check your blog today because I wanted to know how your run went..the 5k was tough for me (even though that was nearly perfect running weather)--I totally missed the start and had to catch up with everyone. Thank goodness you directed me to the right place. Way to go!! (also-yay! i made the blog!)

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