I trained for 20 weeks for this race. All 20 weeks weren’t filled with hardcore workouts and mileage (I also ran a relay, a 5k, a 1M race and an 8K during that time), but a big chunk of this spring was definitely focused on a PR in Bayshore. I wanted this spring to be focused on gaining speed and thought Bayshore would be a great culmination of the training, especially since my PR (1:38:30) is over two years old.
I had some really great long runs and workouts during the cycle. I ran some of my fastest 400’s ever, felt super strong in the 6:xx’s on tempos and threw down a few 800’s at 3:13 at much less than max effort. My “easy” pace was suddenly 10-15 seconds faster and, while the long runs were shorter than in marathon training, I was cruising in the 7’s towards the end of most of them. I felt strong and fast. I even drafted a post called “Breaking Through” about 2/3 of the way through the cycle, because I felt like I had finally emerged from the plateau of the last 2 years. (I never posted because I didn’t want to jinx it…which is completely ironic.)
As I am sure anyone reading this post knows, being fit and ready definitely does NOT guarantee a great (or even good) race. But I have to admit, I Am not really that shocked. As the move and new job stress ramped up in the weeks leading in to the race, my body felt off. I chalked it up to normal taper problems when 2 miles at goal race pace felt like max effort, but deep down, I had a feeling that travel and stress were taking their toll. Still I was hopeful and honestly, I thought a PR was kind of a guarantee.
During race week, when Coach told me he thought I should be around a 1:33, averaging 7:00 – 7:10/mile, I thought he was crazy. Looking back at my workouts, I know exactly where he came up with those numbers, but I had major doubts. My gut told me it wasn’t in the cards.
Brad and I made the 5+ hour drive from Chicago to Traverse City on Thursday afternoon. We didn’t arrive at our hotel until after 11, but I slept past 9, so I had plenty of “night before the night before” sleep. Race eve was relaxing and everything went smoothly. I was in bed the night before the race before 10 p.m. and slept pretty well. (In short: plenty of sleep, no stress and plenty of food/hydration).I was surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world and was super excited for what race day might bring.
I hung out at the start with Jenny, Manny, CT and Kristy before warming up about 25 minutes before the start. I was SO GRATEFUL for Kristy sharing an extra layer with me during the warm-up after I checked my warm clothes. It was COLD!We lined up toward the front about 5 minutes before the start. With zero warning, a horn sounded and we were off, straight uphill. I ran the first (all uphill) mile in 7:43 and the second mile was almost completely (steep!) downhill in 7:10. And that was the last mile I ran at goal pace.
I hung right behind Kristy at 7:15 – 7:20 for a couple of miles. By mile 4, the same effort was 7:20+ and by mile 5, I could barely hold 7:30. I tried to stay positive and even took a Gu, hoping for a boost, but I knew that the race was gone. My legs were absolutely dead. I was toying with the idea of jogging it in and just having some fun, when I saw Jenny at mile 6.5. Unfortunately, she was having the same kind of day and was standing on the side of the road waiting for me.
The rest of the race WAS HARD. Running at what should be marathon pace, took every ounce of effort. But Jenny and I ran every step together.We bitched and complained and laughed and took beer shots and walk breaks. It sucked, but it was a blast. If I am going to blow up in a goal-race, I certainly would prefer it be with one of my favorite people by my side.
We finished in 1:41:57, 7:46 min/mile
I don’t have much else to say about the day. It isn’t how I hoped it would turn out, but the weekend was an absolutely blast. Manny killed his half (and beat us…which we will NEVER hear the end of!). Elizabeth and Holly both got their BQ’s and Elizabeth had the breakthrough race that I knew she had in her. I am so proud of and happy for all of them.
My body felt like it had run either much further or much faster than it did. My shins were incredibly sore the next day from the steep down hill in mile 2, but other than that, I wasn’t really too sore, just stiff and tired.
How can you beat this…Onward!