I did some racing last weekend, a 10k road race on Thanksgiving, and then another 5mi "trail" race on Saturday. The road race messed me up more than I expected - I wore pretty light shoes, and while they made me feel pretty speedy at the time, my calves paid the price, and it took a solid week for the soreness to dissipate. The Race with Grace 10k was the first 10k I've ever run as a real race, and I wasn't sure how to pace it. I figured a pace based on my vdot calculation from my most recent 3k, so aimed for ~41:30. That seems speedy, but hey, what do I know, I've never done one of these!
The course was nearly dead flat, a couple rises here or there just to raise the heart rate, but I found that my legs eventually stopped wanting to turn over. The first two miles were totally conversational, not a problem at all, but shortly thereafter my legs started to get quite tired. I haven't done much road running lately, so even though I didn't feel all that out of breath, my legs were getting heavy, quickly. I had a bit of a mental slump after 5k - I'm used to running 5k races, so the idea of continuing to race beyond 5k was a bit new to my brain. Luckily after that, I picked it up again, and though I suffered in the last mile, I finished feeling like I'd run a totally acceptable race, given how my legs felt on the day.
The course. The time was 42:40, which is slower than my vdot prediction, but I think 40 seconds could have been made up just by being a little more mentally tougher in mile 4 and mile 6. Maybe; the shoulda-woulda-coulda game is always easier than the act of running faster... Anyway, this was good for 13th female, thankfully out of the money enough that I didn't have to stick around for awards and could get on to the important part of the day - stuffing my face with turkey and stuffing! Also, this race gave me chocolate milk at the end, which made my day.
Saturday, I knew there was a trail race in Mendon Ponds, a low-key affair hosted by Jess' running club. At first I was planning to sleep through the 9am start, being a bit tired from too much fun on Friday night, but then I got up anyway, and gingerly jogged down to the park. My calves and hamstrings were still suffering badly from the 10k on roads. I got myself registered, and then discovered that it wasn't much on trails - more of a road race with a mile or two on trails. Oh, well, could be fun anyway.
It was a pretty small crowd, and as we took off around the lake (on roads), I noticed that it was windy, but had trouble finding somebody going the right pace to draft behind. I wasn't feeling very sprightly, so just kept the intensity down to more of a tempo-y pace, and that was nice and comfortable. When we finally got to the trail section, I quickly passed a couple people, who all slowed down because we were on a trail. What's with that? There was a big hill, but that means there were downhills, and I'm good at downhills, so I passed one more, and was closing in on the 2nd place girl (Jess was leading the race, so I wasn't going to be catching her) when we ran out of race. Course. I think I ended up 6th overall, and third female, and I got a teeshirt, a glass mug, a thing of cliff shot bloks, and a pair of gloves out of the deal - totally worth it!
By Thursday my legs seem to have recovered from all that silly running, and I'm ready to attack this weekend's orienteering relay championships, night-o champs, and ultralong champs!