What: 4-mile road race
Who: Me and Colin (and Colin’s run club), with moral support from Drew
Time: 49:06 Personal record!
-Mile 1: 12:05
-Mile 2: 11:58
-Mile 3: 12:16
-Mile 4: 12:09
Photos: (click to open larger versions)
Recap: I think I’m still riding the runner’s high from this race. Neither Colin nor I had ever run farther than 3.1 miles before yesterday, and after our not-so-great training run the Thursday before (more on this later) we weren’t sure we’d be able to go all 4 miles. Though honestly, I’m not sure what we were worried about… I ran my entire first 5K without ever having gone more than 1 mile at that point, so an extra .9 miles shouldn’t have been such a big mental hurdle. But it was, and we cleared it with the most awesome figurative jumps ever.
First, the dodgy training run. Thursday was actually pretty warm for the first time in forever (upper 40s!), and I managed to convince Colin to come along to the Shammies’ weekly 3-mile run. I had never done the Thursday run before since I was nervous that, being as slow as I am, I’d get left behind by the rest of the group and would get lost on the new-to-me route. I figured if Colin came with and we got left behind, at least we’d be lost together. It turns out I didn’t have to worry… there were two other runners who had a pace similar to ours, so the four of us stuck together for 2.5 of the 3 miles. Colin’s Achilles had been bothering him again, and my shin splints were acting up a bit for the first mile or so, but I ended up having to stop for another reason altogether. I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t have dairy before running, and thought I was going to pull a Lineker on the side of the road. Luckily that didn’t happen, but it did make for a very uncomfortable and discouraging run/walk.
Fast-forward through several meals of toast, ginger ale, and Pepto to Saturday morning. It was gloriously warm(er) – upper 40s to low 50s – and cloudy, threatening with the rain that would arrive later in the day. I was SO happy to be able to wear something other than thermal layers and hoodies and ear-warmers! We showed up a bit on the later side, and because I had signed up so late I didn’t get the fancy swag (cool tech shirts) and was instead offered the choice of a cotton t-shirt with a terrifying jester on it or the very last Homer Simpson hat:
(This race was part of LOCO’s “Will Run For Beer” series, hence the hat and the vast number of people wearing socks that said BEER on them. I actually don’t love drinking beer after running, but I have so many t-shirts and a hat seemed useful, so I went with it… though it ended up causing me issues during my sprint to the finish line. More on that later.)
Colin and I decided to run this race very slowly, not wanting to aggravate our recent niggles and also hoping that rationing energy might help us run the full 4 miles. It was actually pretty tough trying to keep our pace slow during the first mile… I felt almost like I was doing comedy running, or exaggerated power walking, and I had to keep reminding myself to keep it slow. It made a difference for our niggles, though; Colin’s Achilles didn’t bother him much at all, and my shin splints were only vague hints of pain rather than full-on like they have been. And for the first time in a long time, we were running slow enough that we could carry on a full conversation without being out of breath and struggling.
Probably the best effect that came from taking it so slow is that, when we made it to the 5K mark, we both felt like we could keep going for quite a while, and knew for sure that we’d be able to keep running the rest of the race. Colin even declared that he was enjoying running for the first time ever. I was so pumped about that! I’d had a few happy running epiphanies but Colin had yet to get any enjoyment out of it, so it made me happy that he finally liked something about running. Huzzah!
As we rounded the corner for the last .1 mile of the race, Colin decided he wanted to finish strong. He accelerated and just kept going, and I had to sprint at top speed to try to stay with him (MapMyRun lists our best pace at 4:51 min/mile… holy cow!). As we neared the finish line, I could vaguely make out the guy with the bullhorn cheering us on, getting all excited about how fast we were going and yelling “faster! faster!” and the spectators and other runners by the finish were all cheering for us too. I would have soaked it all in and let it carry me victoriously over the finish line if my silly beer hat hadn’t been catching the wind and trying to fly off my head (d’oh!)… my finish line pictures will probably show me sprinting with my head down at an awkward angle, hands grasping at the brim as I tried to keep it on. I did manage an arms-aloft pose as I crossed the line, though.
We were both so giddy afterwards, wearing our medals proudly and totally stoked that we successfully ran 4 miles and had enough energy to give it all we had at the end. That probably means we could have pushed it harder during the rest of the race, but it was so enjoyable taking it easy that I don’t even mind knowing that I could have gotten a better time. We had fun, and Colin enjoyed himself while running for the first time, and I wouldn’t trade that for a minute or two! Plus, the great thing about running a new distance is that your time is an automatic PR. Wahoo!
We celebrated our good run by adding another notch to our diner tour – the Agawam Diner in Rowley:
It was a diner with a lot of history (which was written out on the back of their menus… I love that), and it was in a town that shares a name with my beloved childhood piano teacher, but all-in-all the diner was a disappointment. The food wasn’t great and the coffee was nasty (and I love crappy diner coffee!) but we tried not to let the sub-par diner experience ruin what was an otherwise fantastic morning. Now that I know I can run 4 miles, I can’t wait to make a habit out of weekend long runs so I can watch our mileage start to tick upwards!