Last time I posted, I think you could tell I was getting a bit frustrated with the weather and its impact on my training. I should have known better.
This morning I woke up and headed to a 15K race with the expectations of running fast, setting a PR, and having a great time. Then I looked outside, and once again, it had snowed--"only" about 4 inches this time. God had "blessed" me once again with less than ideal running conditions. Nonetheless, out the door I went to make the 45 minute drive to the race.
My original goals for the 9.3 miles was a 6:50 pace, which would set a PR. On the drive up, I decided that if it didn't happen, I wouldn't get mad. After all, I'd be once again running in slush, slipping with every heelstrike. But hey, God had given me some opportunities to run in these conditions recently, so maybe it wouldn't be that bad. Thanks, Big Guy!
After arriving, I grabbed a small cup of coffee (tasted great) and jogged a bit over to the start line. This wasn't a chip-timed event, so I wanted to be near the start line. At the gun off I went and found myself in what was the lead pack! My head was saying "slow down..." and my legs were saying "nahh, let's just see here..." and being the typical male, I listened to my legs. Mile 1: 6:24.
Eventually the fast guys strung out ahead and I settled in to a nice rhythm with 3 other runners, in a single file line, running in the tire tracks on the road, looking for any traction we could find. This continued for the next 3 (ish) miles, when I heard my legs again speaking up. "Come on...we can do a little more!"
After passing the 4 mile mark in 28:10, I finally gave in and, over the course of about a quarter mile (literally...it was that tough to pass when you weren't in the tire tracks!) I passed the other 3 in my group and kept going. I really did feel good!
I slowly stretched away from them, taking a couple sips of gatorade at each aid station and trying to hold on to my pace. Mile 7: 45:35.
Mile 8 and 9 were downhill, and I switched up my stride to accomodate, stretching for that finish line. I was getting to be spent: It felt like my entire diaphragm had spasmed and also frozen--I had a sideache in my spine. But I held on to the pace, passing mile 9 (and completing 9 on the 9th in 59:29--almost nipping Doug at the tape...but not quite.
I had a great kick, surprising myself for the last .3 miles and broke the tape in 1:02:08, for a 2+ minute PR! Woo Hoo! It was also such a confidence booster, as on that slow track, I may have had 2 more minutes in me!
Nancy really did a great job with the post-race, too. Among the loot, I got chocolate, cheese (duh, it's Wisconsin), an age group trophy (Nancy apparently modeled for it), a had from a race I didn't take part in but they had extras for, and some more of that great coffee!
Pictures to follow...