Yesterday was the Newton 10k, a race with a startline that was a mere 1.6mi from my front door, which meant I could hardly miss this one. I've run one 10k before, the Race with Grace, and that one wasn't quite as quick as I was hoping, so despite training through this latest 10k, I was expecting to be a little faster. I didn't realize just how tired I'd be from not resting, though, and the 5k I raced on Tuesday night (don't try this at home, kids), following on the heels of the Billygoat, which was on the heels of 7 Sisters, well, there's been a lot of racing in my recent past, some of it quite long and all of it quite hard. Combined with some travel for work and work itself, I definitely didn't feel recovered. But I took a nap on Saturday, so that should take care of things, right? Sorry, that was a lot of whining. I sign up for these things because I love them!
On the start line, I saw a couple folks I knew, but there wasn't much time for chitchat before we were off. My plan was to start conservatively, but I was having trouble opening up my stride, quads and hip flexors sluggish and unresponsive. I chose the Road-X 233 shoes, which are cool not just because they're flame colored (and I haven't gotten them all muddy yet), but because they have this dynamic faschia band construction, which feels like it gives me a little kick of energy with each step through the stiffer platform. I needed all the help I could get.
I came through the first mile in a depressing 6:45, and I knew it would be a long next 5.2 miles. The road was gradually tilting upwards, and it felt like there was a headwind, though I think this was just my own body moving through still air. The weather was perfect! Maybe 55 degrees, dry and sunny. A guy in a yellow singlet came past me at some point after the second mile, and I was happy to draft behind him for a bit and try to find some inner calm. The controlling part of my personality was really unhappy with the times I was seeing at each mile marker, but the more realistic side of me knew there was nothing I could do to go any faster, and my legs were sending constant messages to my brain that they didn't really feel like moving any more. Luckily, my brain is adept at telling them that actually they feel great, and we have a fun little dialogue, all my body parts and me. Maybe it's more of a whining temper tantrum, but at least there's communication of some sort.
Finally, around mile 4, the road started to tilt downwards, and running got easier. I started to see a lady ahead of me, and the downhill helped stretch out my legs and lengthen my stride. The fifth mile was completed in 6:22, major improvements, and things kept going down after that, so I kept the pressure on, finally feeling like I was flowing along with all my body parts working in unison. This is what running should feel like! A smile may have briefly flitted across my face, before being replaced by the grimace again. I crossed the highway (who put that overpass in my way?!?), and I knew the course from here to the finish, nearly there. Pulling even with the girl I'd been hunting down, I found the next gear, pulled away, turned the corner toward the finish and didn't let up.
I was completely surprised, and very pleased, to see a sub-42min time on the clock as I crossed the line. Results. I ended up in 30th overall, and the fifth woman, first in my age class. I guess turning 30 is good for something, as the top 4 ladies were all younger than 29, which meant I won a pair of socks and a gift certificate. I'll take it!
One more week of volume, and then I rest before heading to Italy for the WRE at the 3 Days of Trenches!