Going into today, I was tired, sore, and far from rested. I did a really hard strength workout on Thursday, and many of my muscles were still sore several days later. I haven't really done a whole lot of speedwork lately. On top of that, the weather forecast kept getting revised every day this week to suck more and more. Yesterday, snow/sleet fell all day long, and the temperatures were just below freezing, with even colder winds. This morning, it was about -4C with windchill of -8C. There was a bit of snow on the ground and slushy/wet roads. Did someone forget to tell Mother Nature that it's now f$%^ing SPRING? lol. Compare that to two years ago when I did this race and it was 22 glorious degrees!
Kendall and I pre-race
Anyway, getting back to my actual point, I wasn't overly motivated and didn't have crazy-high hopes of being able to PR today (my PR on this course was 2 years ago when I went 1:15.20). I just wanted to get out there and use it as a hard workout, a speed session. Due to the weather, I had to dig out the long tights, layers, and long sleeved lulu pullover to race in- hardly 'speedy' running attire! Larry from swimming was going to be my "rabbit" and set the pace for today, and Kendall was also running with us. They both started out faster than me, but I tried to keep it steady and held myself back from going too hard during the first mile. I eventually made my way back up to them around Mile 2.
The whole race felt HARD. I felt like I was running at or close to my limit, and worried a bit about possibly blowing up in the 2nd half. But I kept pressing on and focusing on breathing and keeping up to Larry in front of me. We lost Kendall just after 4 miles :( When we passed the 5 mile marker, my split was 37:30 exactly (holding 7:30 pace). A thought crept into my mind - how am I going to get under 1:15 if my halfway split is exactly half of 1:15 (i'm not one who has ever been able to even-split a race), but I pushed it out of mind and went on my merry way.
The last 6km of this course includes some long, gradual climbs. Definitely will slow you down a bit and affect your 'average pace', but the last 1/2 mile is downhill, which gives you an opportunity to make up some of the lost time. As I was halfway up the very last hill, a spectator cheering said something really funny - "You're kicking this hill's @$$!". I smiled and in my mind I was like "yeah, totally, that's exactly what I'm doing!". Haha!
This is about 8 miles in, just after cresting one of the bigger hills in the last few miles. Someone should tell this chick that if you're smiling when racing, you're not going hard enough!
The last mile I tried to pick up the pace to make up for 'lost time'. On the last downhill I gave it everything I had and rounded the corner to the finish and finally was done! A 1:14.57 and a PR on the day, a little under 30sec faster. I'm pleased with this for all the reasons outlined above about me not being motivated to race and PR! Also, based on my 5 mile split, I ended up actually negative-splitting the race by a few seconds. This is huge! For me, I've never been able to do that in all my years of racing, as my second half (of 10k's to 1/2 mary) ends up being at least a minute or more slower. So this alone is an improvement.
Next up might be a 10km in May (Mother's day race, perhaps), or possibly even a duathlon (weather permitting of course!).
Got to get back to carrying water & chopping wood, there's lots of work to be done before then!