Sunday kicked of the official start to Ragnar/Huge Eug training. You know this already.
During my “off season” I tried to maintain a decent LR (long run) base so I could jump right into my 10-week plan head first. It wasn’t always a blast (to say the least), but it got done.
The 8, 10, 12, and 14.5 milers proved worthwhile at Sunday’s 15k/LR combo to kick off the cycle.
I drove up to Long Beach for Rocket Racing’s Fantastic 15K, and did three easy warm up miles. I was still unsure about my approach to the race – race it hard? run at MGP (marathon goal pace)? just use the miles as a LR? – so I took the warm as a gauge for how I was feeling.
Ok, well that solved that. MGP out the window, new plan.
I decided rather than all-out effort or trying to negative split 9 miles straight, I’d work on consistency. I’m a terrible pacer – if I don’t look at Garmin every 20 seconds I’ll go from 9min/miles to 7 in an instant – and I want my legs to “learn” what certain paces feel like.
So the goal was to run the first 5K around 8:10s, the second around 8:00, and the homestretch at sub-8’s.
After a few quick words about the course we lined up and got ready to start.
I pushed my way to the front even though there were 5k and 10k dudes in spandex that were bound to smoke me.
back story : blue shorts DID smoke me. 35:38 10k, I bow down to you. but I’m still starting up front.
We took off and I settled into pace after a brief stint as a 100m sprinter – hi Garmin sorry for giving you a heart attack like that. We won’t show any numbers that low again, promise. I got excited.
Other than the obvious perks of small races – low registration fees, no-hassle start lines, and not having to throw bows on the course – Rocket Racing also takes photos on the course and posts them on their FB page. For you to use. For free. No stupid watermarks or illegal image piracy.
I <3 small races. times a million. trillion.
We hit the 5k turnaround and I felt the weight of a bunch of footsteps fall off behind me. I LOVE that part of a race – when the shorter distance runners head in for home and you’ve still got a full race in front of you. Adrenaline rush every damn time.
8:10 felt surprisingly easy and my head was 100% in the race (this never happens, ps), so when a dude passed me around the 2 mile mark I fought the urge to chase. “Stick with your plan!” We approached the turnaround 5k and I gave him a shitty little grin as he went by in front of me.
Time to pick it up for the second 5k. See ya, dude.
I wasn’t checking my watch too obsessively, so I’m really pleased with how even my splits were. I felt really strong and in control, and was getting a huge rush from all of the runners heading towards the turn around. Turns out people are super nice and encouraging when you’re lead female.
2mi passer dude sprinted ahead again around mile 5, and I sat back and waited for him to burn out. Which was about .25 mile later.
<— Ripping out my earbud trying to hear where to go for the final 5k. The answer was through the finish, through a line of high fives from all the 5k’ers and speedy 10k’ers, and loop back around. Super fun.
So I picked it up one last time and headed out for the last 5k.
The encouragement from the 10k’ers heading towards their finish were great for both morale and ego. I’ve never won a race, except maybe hurdles once in junior high (if the coach only knows you as “tall girl” you’re sentenced to hurdle and high jump duty, btw), so the adrenaline carried me through those final few miles.
Well that and trying to figure out how to react to the others still running – cheer? gloat? princess wave? I think I covered them all.
(jk I didn’t gloat that’s rude)
Fantastic 15K, 2.19.12 – Official : 1:14.09 (1st OAL)
After some internal debate, I’ve decided I’m owning my win. Who cares that only three other people (all women, not that it matters) ran the 15k and the start/finish line was drawn in chalk? I crossed it first.
Not to mention ahead of quite a few of the 10k dudes that gave me the stink eye at the start. Sorry if it sucked seeing a girl run through the finish line ahead of you and then take off for another lap.
After 3 easy, slow, cool down miles (where I saw blue shorts winner cooling down, too) I checked out with 15 miles on the day. 15 wonderful, awesome, mood-boosting, long run miles.
Bring it on, Eugene.