Long story short, this was not one of my favorite race experiences. From a very stressful pre-race experience to a course that was anything but flat, I didn’t leave yesterday with a lot of good feelings about racing or my progress.
I left Lewiston at 7:00 am, plenty of time to make the trip to Falmouth, collect my bib and warm up. When I arrived in Falmouth, however, there was no signage for the race near the address provided and I spent 25 minutes driving around deserted neighborhoods and Falmouth High School trying to find the start. Finally, I saw runners warming up and followed them back to the well-hidden community park. Granted, this was more of a community event, but any signage would have been much appreciated. I finally parked and got my bib at 8:15 for an 8:30 start. Suffice to say, I was not calm, cool and collected as planned.
I jogged a mile in some serious wind to warm up, then stripped off my layers just before the start. The air temperature was great but the gusts of 30+ mph made standing at the start uncomfortable. Thankfully we started only a little bit late so I didn’t have time to fully freeze.
Mile 1: Not warmed up, at all. This was also a visibly hilly mile and I struggled to get comfortable. Because of my lack of warmup and the hill, I was prepared for a slow first mile but was still frustrated to run a 6:21.
Mile 2: Finally up the first incline and into some rollers. Starting to feel a little smoother here and passed a few people as I found a sort of groove. 6:14.
Mile 3: The mile began with a 360 on a side street to turn around and headed back up the hill I had just cruised down. We also started to face the tailwind we’d enjoyed on the way out. I was in no man’s land but started working my way up through the few guys ahead of me to get some protection from the wind. Started to feel much smoother in this mile. 6:19.
Mile 4: Downhill! Legs were feeling great here but unfortunately, we were headfirst into seriously strong wind. Despite my best efforts, my hands and arms were flailing just trying to go forward. When we turned into the home stretch, the wind faded some and I started to kick. I was surprised to find a ton of acceleration and disappointed that we didn’t have much race left. The chute wasn’t marked, like at all, so I had a bit of an odd finish as I hooked left after crossing what I thought was the finish line. 6:05.
Finish Time: 25:04
7th Overall, 2nd Woman.
What I’m Happy About: Despite a bad pre-race routine, I managed to keep my wits about me and not just flip out during the race. I am working on not getting frustrated in the wind and give myself a B+ for not fighting it today. I was really happy to feel like I had a lot of gears left at the end (just wish I’d had them earlier) and to find that I’m not tired or sore at all today. Incidentally, yesterday was also a 4 mile PR of over two minutes. That being said, my only prior 4 miler was a 27:11 in 2008.
What I’m Frustrated About: I’ve had some really good workouts recently even with my legs being exhausted from third year and I don’t feel like yesterday was reflective of where I’m at. Even on Wednesday when I was post-call, I cranked out 1200s faster than I did when I ran my half marathon PR (which is faster than I ran yesterday…) I feel like I’m slowing down despite more speed work but Will assures me that he’s not worried so I’m trying to believe him.
Where I Go From Here: We’re working on finding another fitness test soon, which will probably be the weekend I head back to Vermont (May 2nd/3rd). I’m going to keep focusing on short stuff and speed into the summer, both because my schedule just doesn’t accommodate longer training right now and because I need to figure out how to move faster. In the interim, I need to facilitate recovery to the best of my ability and take opportunities to get off my feet and get as much sleep as possible. I also need to keep working on strength training and remember to drink even during the busiest clinic days.