My original plans for today were to participate in the tri club's indoor triathlon up on the East side. Old man winter had other plans, and they involved a couple feet of snow. The indoor tri got canceled, but the Shamrock 15K didn't. So, I decided that although I had abandoned long runs for a spell until I get my achy knee all fixed up, and hadn't run more than 6 miles for about 6 weeks, that a 15K wouldn't hurt. And it didn't hurt....too much.
The race started at noon, so I really had no routine to go through to get ready. The biggest decision was how to dress, and I opted to take a backpack full of different things so that I could decide just before the race started. Breakfast this morning consisted of coffee, a banana, and a bowl of Irish oats. Usually oatmeal is out of the question on race day, but with the race starting at noon I went ahead and had the Irish (aka steel cut) oats. I think that my ole GI system likes this much better than the typical "old-fashioned" or quick oats. Why no oatmeal for me on race day you ask? For fear I'd be visiting my rat friend, but I wanted to try the Irish oats....... after all, it was the Shamrock 15K.
So, after the Irish oats, a shower, and some reading it was time to head to the race. I stepped outside into the snow covered landscape, feeling a bit like I was entering into some sort of fantasy land that consisted of exploded marshmallow goo (I know you all remember ghostbusters).
Got to the race in plenty of time, fidgeted with my clothes over and over again trying to figure out what to wear. Hat or windblock headband? Windbreak vest or no windbreak vest? Road shoes or Trail shoes? I think you get the idea. On went the headband, vest, and road shoes.....and my warm-up run convinced me I was dressed appropriately. So, time to head to the starting line and I spent so much time changing head wear and shoes that I had to hurry to get in one more bathroom trip (which is time consuming with all of these winter clothes). I lined up towards the front left of the pack, and within seconds off went the gun.
This was the first time I raced with headphones, and I was so preoccupied with finding the right music that I forgot to start my watch!!! I realized this before too long, and settled into what I hoped would be the right pace. This was my first 15K, and only my third race above the 10K distance, so the plan was to hold back a bit until at least the halfway point and then go with what I'm feeling. This strategy was tough to follow because the first 3 miles were basically a steep, descent into the valley . During the descending I could feel my left quad tinging a bit. Great....I hope I can climb out!! I saw one or 2 folks drop out of the race before we hit the valley floor. Cold ass temps.+ harsh descent out of the gate = seizing muscles. What makes someone drop out of a 9.3 mile race in 2 miles?? This......
*total amount of climbing for the course is ~550 ft.
After we hit the valley floor we had a mere mile, or so, of relatively flat terrain, then up we went, ascending the eastern flank of the valley.....basically it was 5 miles of climbing and about 3 more folks in front of me dropped out, presumably from cramping. One poor fellow started cramping after he made it a good portion of the way up. He stood on the side of the road holding his hamstring while I passed him. A few minutes later, he passed me at a pretty impressive pace...then he started cramping and I passed him....then he passed me again.......then cramping again and I passed him...after the third leapfrog, I didn't see him again.
I mentioned that this was my first race with headphones, and Phil Lesh and crew was my music selection. It was perfect. At mile 8, Phil started singin' about goin' where the climate suits my coat, the chilly winds don't blow, and the water taste's like wine to pull me across the finish line in 1:04:43. I am more than happy with that time. I even got a runner guy bobblehead to take home for finishing 3rd in my AG ( the women got runner girl bobbleheads!).
I'm going to start posting my splits, so I can look back at them easily if I want to reference them. And.....I know you all have a deep interest in my pacing strategy ;-)
Miles 1 & 2: 13:17
Mile 3: 6:51
Mile 4: 6:58
Mile 5: 7:42 (things began looking "up" here)
Mile 6,7, & 8: 21:11
Mile 9: 6:46
Final .3: 2:03
This is a great race and was very scenic today with all of the snow. Good to see the trifolk crew and this poor girl (who was all set for her first tri today, only to have it cancelled) out there today!! I'm off to waddle the dog around the block with these achy legs....