Saturday's Race - Slow but Beautiful
I left my house at around 6:15 on Saturday morning, bought a bagel, banana and coffee, and hit the road for the almost 90-minute drive to Woodstock, Vermont for The Road to the Pogue trail race. Having decided at the last minute to make Friday a rest day (skipping the 4-5 mile recovery/easy run), I thought my hips might allow me to run the 10K at tempo or near-tempo pace.
The weather was perfect, mid-40's and sunny, with no apparent threat of the predicted rain showers anywhere in the clear blue sky. The location for the race was the nicest I've seen, and the energy of this small event was very positive. I actually ran into a few people I know from "around", and thought I'd run with one woman whom I suspect to be a thoughtful, disciplined runner, in terms of finding and holding steady pace.
I warmed up for about a mile, then stretched, then ran another half-mile with a couple of fast strides thrown in. My hips felt okay, but once I remembered to put my chest strap on, I was worried that my heart rate was higher than it should have been. I lined up for the start still worried about how things would go, and still undecided about how to run this race.
The first mile seemed to almost all uphill, and I passed the 1-mile marker in just over 8 minutes. My mouth felt dry, not a good sign that early in a race. The was 30 seconds slower than I had hoped, and the worst part was that my heart rate was sky high, already around 180 bpm. The second mile had some downhill, and I ran that in about 7:35, better, but my HR was still too high.
At about mile 2.5, in the middle of a long and steady climb, my hips started to bother me. I had to stop to stretch twice during the next half-mile or so, but I plugged on, deciding to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and just take the course one twisty-turny-hilly stretch at a time. I crossed the 3-mile mark in a bit over 24 minutes, unwittingly settled into what I could feel was a pretty slow pace. I ran behind a couple of young women who chatted with each other the whole time. Let's just say that they added to the natural beauty of the scenery. One of them took a sudden fall at about the 4-mile mark, but she gathered herself and kept going. I stopped to see if she was okay, something I wouldn't have done if I had been thinking about my time. I could feel what little momentum I had just dissipate in that moment.
Sunday's Long Run - Unimpressively Steady