First race of this racing year...... my beloved got us a hotel room close to the course. Living 45 minutes from anywhere means that most events are at least an hour away even if we don't specifically travel. With the uncertainty of January weather, we decided to stay a little closer.... not to mention that getting away for an overnight is something we don't do enough of!
I wasn't nervous the night before - this is a departure for me - maybe because 10K is 6 miles. I can't do it fast - but I know I can do the distance blindfolded. I don't know the course - but I'm not usually fazed by that either. For me, the goal is simply to get to the finish line as fast as I can. Which isn't fast - but it's as fast as I can :-)
So - a good night's sleep and I was grateful!
BUTTTTT... the next morning as I look out the window, I see gray, gray and GRAY skies! Did I ever mention that I struggle each year with SAD? Yikes - gray is not my friend.... unless it's my kitty Trouble :-)
So there we go.... the stomach starts churning a little. But I'm okay.... it's still 'only' 6 miles. We drive to the start and I'm stewing about what I ate or didn't eat...drank or didn't drink... am I hydrated enough? Did I eat far enough in advance that my stomach won't be upset? I'm definitely in my head!
The gray is also a little chilly. That part doesn't bother me - I've raced enough now that I know how warm I will be once I get a couple of miles under my belt. But it's misty.... and I have a fleece - nothing water repellent. Boo! Mental note to shop for a water repellent jacket to run in. The fleece is too warm for the race..... and the race shirt is simply a t-shirt which will get soaked. I settle for 2 technical shirts that wick moisture - a long sleeve and short sleeve. Body heat will be preserved and sweat should dry quickly.
Waiting around at the start, I'm nervous! Why, I wonder...... 10K is 6 miles... no biggie! I've been to the restroom... I'm ready to go....and glad for my husband's company. Thanks to him being there, I can wait around in my jacket!
I started out just fine - a bit of a jog. Actually I ran a lot farther than usual... it felt pretty good! The mist never did quite turn into rain and it wasn't really cold - so actually the weather itself was quite pleasant as I was going. The course turned out to be absolutely wonderful! It was in a park.... I LOVED being in the woods. If this is trail racing - then I think I could really enjoy this. Even with some muddy patches and tree roots and leaf piles, I am more comfortable with the footing than I am on curbs and streets! We ran through woods and over bridges and around fallen trees.
My only real issue was that I needed to GO again..... sometimes being older is such a pain! But sometimes maybe it's just that I still don't know exactly how to eat or drink for racing.... I keep thinking I'll learn... and I guess in time I will :-) BUT lo and behold...... NO facilities until I finish! Yikes! It was probably a good thing I was wearing red and it was winter. If there had been some foliage to hide me and I was a little less conspicuous in dress... I might not have managed to make it to the end..... (should I admit this? Yes - I am positive that I am not the first or the last to have this problem or think up this solution)
So - I did my usual pace..... run as far as I can (about 30 - 45 seconds is all my lungs will take as yet) and then walk until my breathing comes back to normal and I can run again. Over and over again....
Mile markers helped me keep my brain in gear...... and when I saw the chute, I broke into a sprint..... I mean, you HAVE to run the chute if you can! And I did..... and then the heaves got me... AGAIN! Heavens to Betsy, will I ever be able to race without all that nausea getting me at the end? I don't know.. maybe some day. It's not a problem I ever had until last fall when I decided to get back into racing more often.. but since November '12, it's been heave, heave and heave some more at the end of races. No food to heave so that's a plus at least.
In the final analysis, I did pretty well (for me). I did the run in 1:23:40. That is a good time for me - and it was first in my age group. Not because I'm fast - but because most people my age aren't out running races in the woods on a Saturday morning.... so I get a reward for showing up and doing my best and I'm okay with that!