Mendon is well-known for hills, hills, and more hills. Plus, the course is partially on trail, which I'd never raced on before. That, paired with the hot and humid weather that was on the docket, made me adjust race expectations beforehand (lesson learned after that muggy 5K in July!). No PR goal, or any time goal, really--I wanted to just enjoy the view (Mendon is also very beautiful) and see how I'd hold up on those hills.
We got to the park about 45 minutes before the start, which gave the kids time to play on the playground while I fueled/used the porta-potties. :) The 12K started at 9am, and at 9:05 we were off! And right up a hill!
I got to the top and already felt some fatigue in my legs--oh boy. But, as I promised myself I would, I didn't look at my Garmin and just forged ahead at a comfy-but-brisk pace.
|Where's Waldo? I'm wearing white and kind of in the middle/right. And yes, I got smoked by those little kids. SO FAST.|
We ran past this water stop again in the second mile, and by then I was thirsty (it was seriously hot), so I decided to not only get water, but also stop to walk and drink it. I'm going easy on myself today, right? I made sure to take my water from that same little boy, and got a chuckle when he yelled, "YESSSSSS!" as I walked off with the cup. :)
The trail portion started right after this, and began with a bang as we went down a small hill...and the guy in front of me lost control and ran into a big plastic signboard in front of us! I stopped to ask if he was okay, he assured me he was, and I was off again. Ouch, dude. Lesson learned, no barreling down the trail! The rest of the trail portion was fun though: good shade, nice scenery. Only bummer was it's hard to pass people on a single-track trail. But again, I wasn't going all-out so I didn't mind much.
Out of the trail, we had a few more hills and then downhill to the finish. So excited to see my husband and my boys cheering me on! Then I got near the finish and saw the clock. They had 2 clocks out: one for the 12Kers (who had started 5 minutes earlier) and one for the 5K. They read 31 minutes and 26 minutes respectively. What? I thought FOR SURE the 31 minute clock must be mine. There was no way I was heading for a PR?!
|My finish line photos: always horrific form but with a really intense, photo-worthy look on my face.|
Holy impressed with myself, Batman. There is surely something to be said for low-pressure racing. Without that usual burst of adrenaline and nervousness that I get at the start of a highly-anticipated race, I feel like I paced myself much more smoothly and just trusted my body. Plus, I'd just had a really rough week (for not-running-related reasons), and this race was such a mental boost. Gave me a lot of confidence in myself, and showed that I've been better with my hill and speed training than I thought!
Afterward, I got to run with Small Fry in his second 1/4 mile kids race, which he loved! That kid gets such a game face on when he's running. Some serious speed is in his future. ;)
As I write this, I have my feet up and am still basking in the good vibes of this race! Now here's hoping I can channel that pre-race zen every time I get on a course.
When was the last time you (pleasantly) surprised yourself during a race? Do you do every race all-out, or do you purposely race some easier than others?