On Sunday I ran my second 10K in 4 months. The first one was in June on Father’s Day. My time for that June race was 1:00:39, a 9:44 pace. A 9:44 that I had to work for, struggled for. And so it began. A summer full of struggles. And, although I went on to run 3 additional races between that one and Sunday’s race, they were primarily about survival, just making it to the finish line. There was no strategy, no final push at the end and a lot of heartbreak.
Yes, I was beyond being caught in a stormy sea this summer, I was in a Tsunami. A mix of physical and mental limitations that prevented me from moving forward with my running. After the problem was identified and I sought therapy for it, I was coming to realize more and more that the physical symptoms were being driven primarily by my mental frame of mind. Distress from not being able to perform causing stress and physical tension. This is really a blog post in itself and surprisingly one I’ve seen on many, many other running blogs. (I’m not the only mental case out there)
I want to put that aside for now and talk about Sunday. Sunday was a PR for me, but it was so much more significant because it was the first time in I can’t remember how long, that I was able to manage a race. I was in charge, not my physical problems or mental baggage. Since things turned around for me, I’ve been running good – really good. Every week I’m getting a touch faster and feeling more confident so when I lined up on Sunday, I KNEW I was going to PR. It was the greatest feeling in the world and one I won’t take for granted again. I’m not angry about the summer I had though. I pushed through the hardest of runs and at the end of the day, it made me a better runner, a smarter runner and an extremely grateful runner. I find myself embracing the pain when I push simply BECAUSE I CAN. Every run is a chance to do better than the last.
“There will come a day when I cannot do this. Today is not that day”
To summarize this quickly, miles one and two were fast at a 7:51 and a 7:34 respectively. The third mile leveled out a little and it actually felt a little warm to me as we headed down Fifth Avenue, much warmer than the forecast projected. I was pushing my pace and I felt it, but I still felt relatively good. I slowed to an 8:00 pace and knew I had one more faster mile before the Birmingham bridge. I sped up again in the 4th mile to a 7:43 and prepared for the uphill bridge mile. It’s not necessarily a steep hill, but it is long and it comes after 4 miles of hard work. I made it a goal not to slow my mile pace over an 8:15 knowing it would start to affect my overall pace. I managed that pretty well ending up with an 8:17 for the mile which wasn’t too far over.
Then it was go time. Another downhill until it leveled out to the finish. I knew I needed an 7:55 or faster to PR and YOU NEVER SLOW DOWN ON A POTENTIAL PR. I started moving faster and was determined to make this my fastest mile. It was at a 7:23. I was moving pretty good and feeling great. I made the final turn and saw that I was going to PR AND BREAK 49 minutes so I gave it one last push to cross at 48:54. 11 minutes and 45 seconds better than my June 10K time, and 30 seconds faster than my 2011 10K PR. I ran faster than I did 4 years ago and that’s pretty awesome. Plus, I finished 17 out of 337 in my age group!
Some other highlights from Sunday:
I shared the course with these lovely ladies who ALL raced well Sunday!
AND…..I got to say hello to my college roommate whom I haven’t seen in 23 years. She told me she was coming into town for the race and I told her text me when you get to the start line. J it was brief, but so nice to see her. What next? Of course I plan on making this most out of this great running streak, possibly the beginning of a whole new level for me, and continue to work and drive forward. I have my goal race, the half marathon in 16 days where I will be looking to break my 2013 PR of 1:50:02. AND…I’m hoping it’s by more than 2 seconds. I’d love to see a 4 in there.
For some reason, I can always remember the exact details of every race I’ve ever PRd. Do you remember all of your PR’s very distinctly?