During our extended stay at the beach, we ran a lot. Two of those runs were races that we always do–the Beachpaper Firecracker 5k and the SSRS Women’s Classic. One week apart, two 5ks. Two different approaches.
The night before Beachpaper, we were hanging out with Charrissa and Derek, who were in town to spend an awesome fun filed weekend at the BBC. Charrissa and I were talking about running, mostly my running, my approach, and why I feel like I’m faltering. I talked about how I feel like running is something that comes SO EASILY to everyone else, especially everyone on the internet (sorry fellow bloggers). Everyone else seems to get faster, and I stay the same. Charrissa convinced me that 1) I need to stop paying attention to everyone else and focus on MY running and 2) i’m not picking realistic goals/targets for my races, which leads to failure/me beating myself up about my performance. She helped me pick a realistic goal for the next morning (8.25 first mile, if I felt good, push it to 8.20, but this is training, so no being upset if it didn’t work out) and I felt a sort of strange calm.
The next morning I executed the plan, well beyond my expectations. It was a steamy morning, and I haven’t always done the best with humidity. But I started out a little too fast and then held on to the pace, finishing in 26.02 (and tie with my PR from March). I was SO happy with my performance. If I can run that fast in not so great conditions, it means I must be getting stronger. I hope! Charrissa and Derek did even better, taking first and second in their respective age groups. I really feel like it was a mental breakthrough for me. When the race got hard and it started to hurt, I pushed through instead of letting myself slow down, which is what I normally do. The real goal helped. Lesson learned.
A week later we were back in Rehoboth Beach to race. This time it was just Noel and I, and we were squeezing the race in before the BBC Fourth of July parade. Yes, it’s crazy, but we need these races to qualify for the series, thus the reason we keep going. And it’s fun.
My established goal for this race was to treat it as a tempo workout with about an 8.40 pace. This was figuring in the fact that it was blazing hot and that I would be marching about three miles with the band in a few hours, and didn’t want to wipe myself out at the start of a very long day.
This race always has a split start, and I was happy that the women were going first again this year. Seems only right, since it is the Women’s Classic! I took it relatively easy from the start and hit my tempo pace. By about halfway through I was really glad that I had this strategy, as I kept a nice even pace while everyone around me started dying. I’m generally doing much better in the heat and humidity this year (I think it’s the extra training) but it was a big mental boost to feel so good in the race.
No age group awards for me at either race, but there was some serious confidence boosting. Which may be just as important.