25k Riverbank Run (and general life) Recap

Hey everyone!  Oh my goodness, what a couple of weeks!  We officially moved into our new house the first weekend in May.  And it was quite the process.  We had an awesome team of helpers and movers on the actual moving day, but since then it has been an uphill battle.  We have several house projects that are underway but not complete.  And while I always used to watch HGTV and laugh at the people who would act like renovations were the worst things ever, I get it now.  I mean, logically I know that not having a working sink in my kitchen for a few weeks is not the end of the world, but it sure makes things more interesting.  Still, all in all we are loving the new space.  I am confident that in a few more weeks, as some of our projects are completed, it will feel more like home.

Adding to the challenge of the past couple of weeks has been all. the. sickness!  My poor girls got hit with an awful stomach bug that had them out of commission for several days.  And my Mother’s Day started at 6:15 a.m. with puke all over me.  No need to share more about that, but caring for my girls has forced me to spend less time getting settled in.  I definitely thought I’d be more unpacked than I am right now.  I still have a ways to go before everything will be where I want it.  I kind of feel like I am playing a never ending game of memory right now.  My running socks?  Yes, I know I’ve seen them in a box recently.  But which box and what room?  That takes some serious guessing.

BUT! In between all the craziness, I ran a race!  I ran the Riverbank Run, which is the largest 25k race in the country, and right here in my home city.  Locally, it’s kind of a big deal to become part of the two hour club for this race.  If you hit that goal, the next year you get access to a special VIP area before the race with indoor bathrooms, food, and lots of other cool bonuses.  So originally when I began training, finishing in under two hours was my goal.  But I’ve got to be honest and say that from day one, my heart wasn’t fully committed.  I don’t really know why, but I never got excited about training for this race like my last big one (my fall marathon).  So, when other big things got in the way of training (like moving, trips out of town, vertigo, strained hip flexors, etc.) I didn’t stress and just did what I could.  I never put in what I know I should have.  I did very little speed work, and usually managed a tempo run and a long run each week.  But I kept up with my strength training and cross training, and knew that on race day I’d definitely be able to finish.  I knew, realistically, that I’d trained to run more of a 2:05 race, and I told myself to be okay with that.  That sometimes life gets in the way of your perfectly laid plans.  It happens.  Running isn’t – and shouldn’t be – everything!

The two nights prior to race day, I got very little sleep.  My girls were each up several times a night vomiting and in a new house, they were slower to want to go back to sleep.  It was rough, and I was exhausted.  I also questioned my own stomach several times.  Was I getting the bug, or was it just in my head?!  The night before the race, I went to sleep super early and hoped for the best.  I woke up to a happy tummy, but a constant, steady rain that did not let up for one single second the entire morning!  Oh my word, I have almost no pictures to show you because I was too afraid to run with my phone and get it soaked!  It was a wet race from beginning to end, but the saving grace was that it was also warm.  In the mid 60’s at the start of the race, so I was never cold until it was all finished.

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On race morning I woke up, ate a Clif car and half a banana, and also drank half a cup of coffee and about eight ounces of water.  I had laid out all my stuff the night before, so I threw on my clothes and drove to my friend Amy’s house.  Amy is amazing because she JUST ran the Boston marathon and was already tackling another long distance race.  Crazy woman!  She is equally amazing because she drives me to lots of races and I absolutely hate driving and worrying about parking, etc. on race morning.  She is also funny and encouraging and really good company.  Thanks Amy!

We got there in plenty of time, threw some garbage bags over our clothes, and we were ready to go.  When the gun went off, I was so ready to start running.  The first four miles were nice and easy, just settling in.  My splits were 7:25, 7:40, 7:41, 7:43.  And around four miles in, things started getting even more crowded (I ran with people around me the whole race!).  That’s when I realized the two hour pacing group was catching me.  I was not ready to give up my “big” goal just yet so I surged ahead a bit to keep them behind me.  I knew they still might pass me eventually, but I was feeling good enough that I wasn’t ready for it to happen yet.  My next four miles were 7:29, 7:40, 7:28, 7:36.  At eight miles I began to struggle mentally just a little bit.  I was getting tired and I knew I was only a little over halfway done.  I was soaked, I was sluggish, and I had accidentally dropped my honey stingers earlier and had to take a power gel for some fuel that I wasn’t certain my stomach would enjoy.  I began telling myself it was going to be okay if I slowed down.  I also was missing my cheerleaders at this point.  My hubby and kids initially planned to come cheer me on, but with all the sickness, they just couldn’t make it.  I began to think if I finished with the rest of my miles at a more comfortable eight minute pace that would be fine.  But my next two miles were magically 7:37 and 7:45. At mile ten, the two hours pacers caught me again, and this time I let them pass me.  But I kept them in my sight.  I told myself not to panic, to run my own race and if I could keep them in my sight, I could decide in the last couple of miles if I had it in me to go for it and get them.  My next few miles were 7:36, 7:37, and 7:37.  At mile 14, I had caught up to the pacers again, and I told myself it was going to hurt, and take every single ounce of energy I had in me this day to keep them behind me, but that I needed to go all out and leave it all out on the race course.  Holding this pace was no longer comfortably hard.  It was unbelievably freaking hard.  But my last mile was 7:41 (there was also a .5 mile but I am not sure what that was).  My garmin had not found satellites when the gun went off (it did find them about two minutes later) so the whole time I knew my mile splits but was unsure what my exact “official” time was.  Because of this, I told myself I had to beat the gun time of two hours, and ended up crossing the finish line at 1:59:55 (my chip time was 1:59:13)!

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I have to be honest, I am pretty proud of myself on this race for a few reasons.  First, I had lots of valid excuses to let this race go.  No one would have blamed me for taking it easy on this one, and I was very, very tempted to.  But I didn’t.  I prayed for some extra energy, and somehow I got it!  Second, I showed some mental toughness not throwing in the towel when my pacers passed me at mile ten.  I let them go but still ran my own race.  I kept them in my sight and I chased them down.  And third, I ran crazy even splits.  The kind of splits that I would coach, but rarely execute on my own!  My slowest and fastest mile were a mere 18 seconds apart, and that is really good for me.  I didn’t start too fast and I didn’t die at the end (well, not too much).  I ran a really steady race, and I love this!

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I haven’t run since the race.  In addition to the girls getting sick, I ended up with bronchitis.  It’s probably at least in part because I left it all out there on the course.  But somehow I don’t regret it!  I am, however, ready to relax for a few weeks and do the workouts I want when and if I want to.  Here’s to another race in the books and another goal crossed off.  Cheers!