It’s been kind of tough figuring out the next race journey since I’ve missed the timing on the usual Des Moines racing milestones for me being Dam to Dam and the Drake 10k. In fact, the day of the Drake road races series this year was a race day runner’s dream for weather. Just perfect. I ended up going out for a run that day after the kiddos went down for a nap and realized there was no way I could have sprung out of bed and ran 6.2 miles and felt good about a performance. I came home winded after a usual loop.
I remembered a race I did in 2012 in Columbia, MO, where I had the goal of running a 5k faster than my normal pace. The uncertainty clouds lifted. Bam! Perfect. This can be my new goal. My fingers flew to Google to look up my finishing time. My finishing time was a 9:05/mile pace. What. The. Actual. Fuck. In my current running world, this is fast. I’m lucky if this is a sprint pace for me. And then to actually try to beat that time had me more than concerned, however, having something to at least train for gave me a little more perspective and motivation.
I’ve continued on my early morning Trek class schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as doing strength/weight tabata workouts during the week and at least run on the weekends.
Trek class pre and post run selfies.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Trek class is now going outside on the track. It’s mainly a mixture of intervals and some plyometrics. Doing speed work has been hard. It’s not something I come to naturally. Your brain says, “Stop! This shit sucks!” and your body is like “yes, what your brain said is true because your heart will explode out of your chest.” I’m also the slowest runner in the group, which doesn’t bode well for motivation. The last couple of weeks, I will say I have been noticing some small, incremental changes in how I have been feeling when I run. I think being mindful of my race goal of being faster has helped push me a little more on the track.
I took the walk option between the sprint sets.
In the meantime, this brought the need to get some new gear. Again, over nap time (noticing a theme here?), I went over to Fitness Sports to get a new pair of shoes. I had done the Brooks Shoe Finder recently to check out some other options besides my Mizunos. I felt a little guilty about switching brands, which I voiced to the patient salesperson, to whom replied “they [Mizuno] aren’t paying you, are they?” Touché, Mr. Fitness Sports. I tried on the Brooks Ghost and it was a good fit. Plus they were about $30 cheaper than my last shoes. I thought I had a rare find on my hands, but learned they were the best selling brand in the store.
Did you want a sexy photo shoot? I’ve got you covered.
On June 1, my race day finally arrived. It was perfect running conditions, I was appropriately coffee’d, fueled, and plenty of time for race day nervous poos. Columbia is far hillier than Iowa road races, but I had been preparing a bit for this. We actually started uphill on a cobblestone road. The race was somewhat smaller than I was used to the Des Moines area extravaganza and I found myself towards the front of the pack. I got a little amped about being out in front for a hot minute, then this subsided as the rolling hills started to kick in.
Towards around the first mile, I took a look at my watch and realized I wasn’t going to hit my pre-kid, pre-bourban pace from 2012, but I wasn’t disappointed. I was having a good time and excited to be at a race again. I will always feel like it’s a cool thing to have a city shut down the roads for a pack of runners to take the streets for a few hours. It was inspiring and a little emotional watching the half marathoners finish. I don’t know why I always get a little weepy and I can’t really put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the hours of training, dedication, time, energy, chafing, and broken toenails it takes to prepare for one day is sort of intimate to witness.
Or maybe it’s the shared crotch sweat smell. Probably both.
Either way, it felt special to be a part of and reinvigorating to look forward to new goals. I’m still not sure what’s around the corner, but happy to have the first race on the books.