Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Forward 15K

So yesterday I raced the Spring Forward 15K in Mendon. I went through all of my nutrition on Saturday to make sure it sat well (protein shake and applesauce for breakfast and then gels/shot blocks/powerbars throughout the ride).

Sunday morning I got up at 5:45 am and made my shake - without the applesauce - and drank it, ate the applesauce, then took a shower and headed out at 7 am for Mendon. I got there and almost immediately ran into pretty much everyone else in the beach parking lot - Kim/Travis, Matt, Alan, Ken, Eddy (and Jackie at the start line) which verifies that as a group we are smart and get there early unlike idiots who show up at 8:15 and have to park 5 miles away! NOTHING pisses me off more than people who show up late for races and then expect everyone else to part the fricken sea to allow them to park close to the start/register/get a good spot in transition/etc. etc.

I put all of my lovely stickers on my car Saturday evening so she was decked out as the triathlon-mobile at this race! My car worked awesome as a changing/nutrition center because I could just pop open the back and throw all of my crap in there without worrying about hitting the car next to me with my door or dropping things and having them roll under one of the seats. It's AWESOME!

I opted to wear shorts, a long sleeved tech shirt, a visor, gloves, and my new fuel belt for the race. It was mid 40s but cloudy so it wasn't particularly warm out. Once I warmed up I was fine and then we all walked up to the start together. My goal (per Mary) was to try to keep my average pace between 7:30-7:40. I set my Garmin to average pace so I couldn't see my actual speed. I actually really liked doing this because I have a habit of focusing on how fast I am going NOW.

Now this race is f-ing hilly. I have never done it before but I've heard about the course. And of course I was like "psssh I run in Mendon every week, it can't be THAT bad!" WRONG! At first I was doing great! I was holding steady right in the middle of my goal pace and then once I hit mile 4 or 5 (and the big hills) I saw my pace start to get slower. And there were some huge-ass hills. I think all of miles 7 and 8 were uphill. I drank some of my Powerbar Endurance that was in my fuelbelt and at 40 mins (once again, per Mary) I ate my Powergel (and took off my gloves). Historically I wouldn't have eaten anything during a race of this length but this is why I have a coach.. to teach me things and help me. So I follow her directions because she is smart. I actually only ate ~1/3 of the Powergel because immedately after I ate some, my stomach started getting twisty and gurgly. I know it's not possible for my stomach to digest something that quickly, but it did NOT like that gel. I am going to switch back to GU for my long runs. I have been using GU for a few years and they are gross - Powergels are runnier and less gross to me - but I've never had a GU do anything weird to my stomach so.. back to GU we go.

I tried in vain to keep my pace at 7:40.. and then it crept to 7:41.. and 7:42 and then all the way to 7:45. Crap. I was running as hard as I could but there were SO MANY hills and my legs were dead! I seriously felt like I was sprinting and going nowhere. Afterwards I looked at the splits on my Garmin and I really wasn't going that slowly. I think the slowest mile split was 8:00 even so really that's pretty good if you compare my pace to last year at the Mountain Goat (a hilly 10 miler in Syracuse in April). The last mile I managed to get my average pace down to 7:43 using the combination of downhills and sprinting my ass off.

I finished fairly strong (nice long downhill finish) with a time of 1:12:24 (Garmin time reads 1:12:20) and a pace of 7:47 (Garmin says 7:43). I was 19th female and 5th in my AG. I did not finish the race feeling like I held back in order to practice pacing. I finished feeling like I raced my ass off to try to get my pace and couldn't. I was close - I don't feel like I failed, but it was difficult to try to stay within those limits. It was a wakeup call for what hills do to a race pace. If it was flat I would have had no problem maintaining a 7:30 pace. The hills kicked my ass. Today I hurt from the waist down - especially my butt and my shins. I am not unhappy with how I executed the race. I followed my instructions and did the best that I could have done. When Jackie passed me perhaps I should have tried to hang with her but I didn't and she never came back to me. I would never have been able to run at that pace last year so I am thrilled with my improvements!

Today I have a recovery ride of 45 mins which I may try to do outside if it clears up. And I need to clean my apartment because it looks like a bomb went off. And that's it!

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