On Sunday, March 1, I ran my first real race of the season, the Reston 10 Miler.
I had originally registered for this race with an eye on the Rock ‘n’ Roll (RnR) D.C. half marathon on March 14, thinking this would be a good training run for me in advance of attempting my first-ever sub-2:00 half at RnR. Last year, I shocked myself by running a 2:00:14 at the RnR half – an 11 minute PR. Since then, my goal has been to run a sub-2:00 half in 2015.
I had some great running results last year, including the aforementioned half PR and PRs in both the 5k and marathon. I also ran well during the run leg of Rev3 Poconos. However, since the Richmond Marathon, my running hasn’t gone well. I had knee pain I couldn’t seem to resolve. I changed shoes a couple of times. And, of course, the weather hasn’t cooperated for much running outside this winter. I think all of those things combined set me back a bit. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Reston, especially because the course is known as being hilly. For some reason, I settled on 10:00 min/mile pace as being what I would be okay with. Not thrilled with, but okay with. Any slower than that, and I would not be happy (keep in mind that I ran just under 10:00 pace at the Fairfax Four Miler in January, even though I felt like I was really working during that race).
This was supposed to be my second of two 10-mile races on consecutive weekends, but my race the prior weekend (the Howard County Striders Club Challenge) was cancelled because of the weather. Unfortunately, right up until the last minute, things were looking dicey for Reston as well, with a wintery mix expected Sunday morning.
After the prior weekend’s cancellation, I was watching the weather with a doubtful eye all week. The forecast got worse and worse as race day approached and there was some discussion in my running group (started by me, if I’m being honest) about whether or not the race would proceed. Sure enough, the night before the race, the race organizers announced that while the race was “on” for an 8:00 a.m. start, it could be changed to a 10k if conditions worsened after the start. I was worried (story of my life!) about pacing, since I wouldn’t know at the start whether I was running 6 miles or 10 miles, but there was not much I could do about it.
On Sunday morning, I woke up early and arrived at the race site promptly at 6:30 a.m. to pick up my packet. Packet pick-up was not even set up when I arrived and a number of people were already waiting ahead of me. About 15-20 minutes later than scheduled, packet pick-up finally started, but apparently it was moving too slowly. With just two people ahead of me in line at this point, one of the volunteers announced they would be changing the packet pick-up process by posting numbers at the entrance. Runners would have to look-up their bib numbers before getting in line. I don’t think I need to tell you that those of us who had already been waiting in line for some time at this point were not thrilled. Things ended up getting sorted out, but I have to say I was a bit surprised the process wasn’t better organized, as this is not a first-year race.
In any case, once I got my packet, I put on my bib and headed back outside for a 20 minute brisk warm-up run along the race route. I don’t know what my warm-up pace was because Alyssa wanted me to run without a Garmin, but I felt like I was moving quickly. I felt good and strong, and did physically warm up (it was quite cold). I took off my Oiselle sweats and got in the bathroom line to pee once more before the start. The line was long and time was ticking away. I was worried I wasn’t going to make it to the start on time, but I did – barely – and only because they started the race a couple of minutes late.
The race started and I felt strong. I anticipated that this would be a hilly course, compared to what I am used to and that definitely was the case. I can’t really recall any flat stretches. There were a lot of long slow climbs. I was very happy for all the downhills.
Elevation profile for the Reston 10 Miler course.
I can’t remember exactly when it started sleeting, but I think it was near the halfway point. It wasn’t really bad, and I was warmed-up enough that even with the sleet, I wasn’t terribly cold – I was actually able to remove my gloves. I was, however, worried about slipping and hurting myself, especially on the downhills.
Yes, I was bib number five. It’s hard to make out the sleet in this photo, but it was happening!
You can see the sleet against my black tights in this photo (below).
I did start worrying about whether I had gone out too fast, considering the hills, and around mile 7 I felt myself really start slowing down. Again, I didn’t have a Garmin on, so I wasn’t sure of my pace at that point, but I knew from my watch that I was under 10:00 min/mile pace (I’m really bad at math, so that’s all I can ever go by with the watch). I knew I had to keep moving to maintain that and couldn’t afford to lose a lot of time. I told myself that I will feel much worse during the run in Chattanooga and I will need to just keep pushing. I focused on having fast feet. I told Leslie before the race that I was quitting sports if I had to stop and walk during a ten mile race, so I wanted to keep running. I’m not going to lie that I was ready for the race to be over at the finish line.
I ended up finishing in 1:34:01 (chip), which is 9:24 pace. My pace at the 10k mark was 8:59, so I was definitely right when I suspected I slowed significantly for those last few miles. The good news is that I was able to keep up my half marathon pace for the first 10k. I will just need to hold that twice as long at RnR.
Lots of Moms Run This Town (MRTT) ladies ran the race and it was so nice to see familiar faces before, during, and after the race. One of my new MRTT friends, Kim, came to the race to cheer, despite the weather. I saw her 4 or 5 times along the course and it gave me a boost each time. Thanks, Kim!
This was my first race in the Hokas and they felt good. I’m still getting used to them, but I have high hopes that they’ll work out well for me this year. We are certainly off to a good start.
Overall, I was really happy with my day. It hasn’t been a great winter for me running-wise, so this was a nice surprise. It gives me a bit of a confidence boost heading into RnR and I think that’s really important for me. I’m going to need a spectacular day to go sub-2:00 and this is a good stepping stone towards getting there.
While I’m blogging, I have a couple of other updates.
I’ve, fortunately, tried a few great recipes lately that I thought I would share.
Roasted Vegetable Salad
I recently went on a double date to True Food Kitchen and had the most heavenly roasted vegetable salad. I immediately started looking for a recipe for it, so that I could try to replicate it at home. I tried this recipe from Tasty Yummies and it was delicious! It’s also beautiful, if I do say so myself!
The only variation from the recipe was that I roasted butternut squash along with the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. The recipe also includes kale, pomegranate seeds, and pumpkin seeds. I highly recommend this one as it is both easy and yummy. I am definitely making this again soon!
“Meatball” Pizza with “Parmesan Cheese”
This is actually a combo of three different recipes from one of my favorite bloggers, Minimalist Baker: vegan meatballs, vegan parmesan cheese, and vegan pizza. It was a multistep process getting everything together and it definitely took me longer than I hoped, but it was worth it when I tasted the final results!
My friend just bought an amazing apartment in D.C. and had a housewarming party to celebrate. I wasn’t expecting her to make anything special for me and I’ve gotten used to eating before I leave the house for parties. But a few days before the party, she sent me a text letting me know she would be making veggie chili for me – YAY! The chili was so good and thankfully, she let me take some home and sent me a link to the recipe. This is another one that I plan to make soon!
Monthly Goals for March
As you know, I’ve decided to set monthly goals for myself in 2015, in lieu of making a New Year’s resolution. In January, I focused on eating more vegetables and working on my strength. In February, I added foam rolling after every run and portion controlling sweets.
For March, I am adding (1) portion controlling the sugar in my morning coffee and (2) being in the moment. The first is pretty self-explanatory, so I will leave that one as is, but I will explain the second.
Last week, I tried to run before TRX class at 8:15 and by the time I showered and had breakfast post-run, I left late for class. Then, I hit a TON of traffic driving to class (isn’t that always the case – it’s never a light traffic day when you’re running late!). I ended up arriving a full ten minutes late to TRX class and it basically ruined my entire day because I felt so guilty about it. So, this month, I’m going to work more on being in the moment I’m in. Here are some examples I’m thinking of:
- Taking last week’s example, once I arrived at class, I should have put my morning behind me. I should have enjoyed myself, since TRX is one of the highlights of my week, instead of letting being late ruin my experience.
- If I have a bad morning workout, I want to put it out of my mind before my afternoon workout and not let the negative feelings bleed into another workout.
- I don’t want to get distracted during my morning workout thinking about work tasks that need to be completed that day, or to-dos, like laundry and the grocery store. I want to focus on my morning workout, and my morning workout only, during my morning workout.
- When I have TV time with my husband after dinner, I want to enjoy that time together and not be on my phone checking email, Facebook, or Twitter. I want to be in the moment during our time together, since I know we don’t get enough of it.
This last example is probably going to be the toughest for me, but I think I can do it. This is probably a good time to remind you (and myself) that my standard for these goals isn’t perfection – it’s just being better than the day before.
Those are my two new goals for March.
What are your March goals?