I went into today's race having NO IDEA how I would do or even what I wanted to do.
I've been really worried about my calf (but that's another story that I don't have time to tell right now).
A coach from my running group offered to pace anyone in the group who wanted it. I didn't want to jump at the offer at first because I felt like there are a lot of people in the group who run much faster than I do who would be able to take better advantage of his mad running skills. I felt like asking him to run with me would be like taking a race car out for a slow Sunday drive. So I told him if no one else snatched him up, I wanted him to pace me. Guess what??---no other group participants were "selfish" enough to take him up on his offer---so I got him!!!!!! Woo Hoo!! (I'll call him "Pacer".)
Then came the million dollar question....."What time would you like to run??"
Another one of the coaches told me the other day not to go into a race trying to hit a moving target. He said it's "always" better to know what you're training for and what your race goal is. So, I told Pacer the fastest I've gone in training has been 11:51, but I usually am running at 12ish. One goal I wanted to keep was to run the whole thing, so I told him I wanted to shoot for 12 so I didn't have to walk any of it. He laughed and said he'd push me to 11.
Guess what???? I did it with an average pace of 10:47!!!!!!!!!!!!! My final time was about 33:28!!!
The course has a couple of very little hills, and some slow gradual inclines that are very deceptive. I ran up the main hill and kept going until after we hit a mile. I told Pacer I needed to slow down just a bit, which we did. I made it to the half-way point without walking..but when I got there I got some water and walked about 15 seconds or so.
There were some people from my group who were behind me, one of whom "should have" been in front of me from the start. She's faster than I am...period. But, I got lucky because she had another event to go to (a March of Dimes walk) immediately after the race. She intentionally slowed her pace down so she could conserve her energy. I'll call her Speedy from now on so I don't have to keep saying "that girl"
We got to a little hill and I seriously felt like I was about to keel over; I incoherently gasped out that I was going to walk up the hill 30 seconds...which I did...and then we started up again. By that point Speedy had made some time and was very close behind me. I told Pacer she was about to pass us. He told me she was not because we were going to stay up ahead of her. I decided he must be on crack at that point!!
Anyway...just before the home stretch there's another tiny little hill. By that point my heart rate had climbed and wasn't coming down, and I wasn't being able to suck air in fast enough to suit my lungs. For the second time in the race I had to walk to catch my breath. I knew that once we got to the top of that little incline, we'd turn the corner and it would be all downhill from there. I wanted to have my heart rate below 185, or at least be able to breathe, at the top of that hill so I could take full advantage of it and sprint in to the finish.
Pacer tried to discourage that little 15 second walk, but since I knew he had been smoking crack before the race (obviously ...since he was so sure Speedy wasn't going to pass us) I decided I shouldn't listen to him and went ahead and took that little breather.
We rounded the corner and I started speeding up. I was sucking in air and making this hideous wheezing sound-sure that I was going to need an ambulance at the finish line. That is IF I could make it there. I don't know how they did it, but as I got closer to it, they kept moving it further and further away!! I was sure I would never make it there.......when.......Speedy's friend flew past me at top speed. She yelled back, "Come on 'Speedy'!!"....
I had temporary Tourette's syndrome, causing a cuss word to uncontrollably burst out of my mouth. I think somehow it helped me to find a higher gear....well, I don't want to say that or I'll start cussing when I run on purpose trying to recreate the effect--and I don't like it when I cuss (AT ALL)....Anyway (I digress).....knowing Speedy was hot on my heals, I kicked it in overdrive and managed to hold that unGodly pace until the finish line.....and beat Speedy by a couple of seconds!!!!!!
Now, I know it will never happen again because she won't have a two-in-one race day again...but the thing that surprised me was being able to find that higher gear.
Where did that come from???? As we were coming down the hill, I thought I had completely messed up, taking that 15 second pansy break, because I knew any second Speedy was going to go flying past me. I was telling myself, "I'm giving it all she's got captain" (if you aren't a Star Trek fan, that won't be funny....) But, just like Scotty always seemed to be able to make the Enterprise go faster...I somehow managed to make my legs pump it out---the whole time thinking "you can't do this, she's going to beat you...and you're going to look like a fool trying so hard......just let her move ahead and then at least you can save some face-----just admit defeat and move on." But, something in me didn't want to listen to that HAG in my head this time...
What's really funny is that if Speedy's friend hadn't warned me she was coming up, she would have been past me before I even knew she was there. I would NOT have been able to push past her if that had happened.
Thanks to Pacer, thanks to Speedy's friend.....
Yea me. Way to go!!!!!
By the way, I guess Pacer really hadn't been smoking crack after all??!! :D