When I got up this morning at 5:30, it was already 63 degrees and I sort of knew I was doomed. I really, really don't run well in the heat and to me, anything over 60 degrees is "heat." By the time the race started at 8:30, we were in the 70s and I was mentally readjusting my goals. My new #1 goal was not dying, so - w00t! - totally aced that one.
The 10K course was two loops of the 5K course, so my plan was to start off somewhat conservatively (near- or sub-8 pace) for the first loop, then let 'er rip for the second one if I still had something to rip. The plan fell to shreds when I hit Mile 1 at 7:24 - Hello? Go out too fast much?? I attempted to reign it in for Miles 2 and 3 (7:45 and 7:48), but by then the damage was done. I was reduced to a walk just after passing the 5K finish, then two or three more times before I even made it to Mile 4 (9:15). I cursed myself for not bringing my own water, even for "just" a 10K, because I was so hot and thirsty. I grabbed two cups at the aid station, drank one and threw the other one at myself in an attempt to cool off, which helped a little. Mile 5 was 8:46 and Mile 6 I managed to whip up a 7:58. I totally forgot to turn off my Garmin until after I meandered away from the finish line, so I'm not sure what the .2 pace was; it could have been a crawl, could have been a sprint. Hard to say. Final time was 50:47, an 8:11 pace. Waaaah!
Yes, I realize this is still a perfectly respectable pace and in fact, was fast enough to earn me 4th in my AG (The Hubs and I joke that I am the Queen of 4th Place - seriously, it doesn't matter if my day is awesome or crappy, I seem to come in 4th every single time). Okay, I'm getting over myself. Right now. Here I am, getting over myself. *sigh*
Speaking of The Hubs, have I mentioned how awesome he is and how much I love him? When I was all bummed at the finish, he assured me that I had done great, blah blah blah, and then asked, "Did you learn anything from this race?" Who else but another runner would understand that that was EXACTLY what I needed to hear to turn this experience around? Love him.
So, what did I learn?
- If I even suspect that I'll need water, I should bring water. Carrying 16 extra ounces of weight isn't going to slow me down as much as being hot and thirsty slowed me down.
- I need to eat before I run. It may surprise you to know that I always run on an empty stomach, even long runs of 20 miles or more. Today's total bonk at Mile 4 suggests that I should change that habit.
- I can't expect to run fast if I haven't trained for it. I knew that whole lack-of-speedwork thing would bite me in the butt, I just didn't know how much it would hurt. Ouch!
- Not every race is going to be a PR. Trust me, this is a lesson I've learned many, many times, but it still bears repeating. I will live to race another day. Um, next Saturday to be exact!
How do you deal with a disappointing race? Let yourself wallow for a day or two? Put it out of your mind? Get yourself a pick-me-up ice cream?