Nueces 25k

25k?! What??? Why would a LONG distance runner race a 25k?

Well, I’ve been injured. For way too long. 9 months with no training and little running. When I decided to come down to Texas to run this race, it was because I wanted to do a race that was out of my comfort zone in a  lot of ways. And I am going to be honest. Not much about this 25k comforted me. In fact, only 3 things soothed my mind prerace. (1) This race is short. I have to focus hard and hurt, but it should be over before 150 minutes of my life pass. (2) Joe, Joyce and  many other Texas runners who support me more thoroughly than I can put words to will be there to catch me if I fall (in many senses of the word ‘fall’) and (3) the best thing I can do for myself as a competitive athlete right now is race short and out of my comfort zone.

When I woke up Saturday morning at 5am, many mistakes from the past week were running through my head. The biggest was the hard 9mile fartlek run I had done Thursday on an empty stomach. As any athlete less than 3 days out from a race will tell you, an empty stomach alone is a no no. Throw a very hard NINE mile run on top of that and you have stupid. But what is done is done. I ate my yummy muffin and drank a Java Monster while dressing for a race..and trying to let the mistakes go.

5mins before 7am I left my room (a stone’s-throw away from the staring line and shared with a few other runners) and went to the starting area. The photographer at the starting line recognized me and asked me to come up onto the line. I voiced a desire for a few guy friends to toe the line with me and complied. We were off.

My plan was to run easy for about 10mins and then start to pick it up. By the time I crossed the finish-line I wanted to be spent and running all out. After maybe 30seconds, 2 girls passed me. There were also a few guys in front of me (I thought 7ish).

About 4miles in I noted that some of the runners closest to me were slowing down. Following my race plan, I picked it up and watched for the girls.

Here is where I will touch on the course. I had never seen Camp Eagle before this race. But many running friends of mine had. All of them told me that this course is harder than Bandera. More rocks, longer climbs and loose dirt. Along with less flat. But something deep down in me thought they were wrong. I figured it would be like Bandera…only I was off. This place is awesome. Brutal, beautiful and I’d say not like Bandera. Like Bandera, it is super technical and super fun. A super challenge. Not like Bandera there is loose dirt and a Colorado-like climb. Only with more rocks. I loved it wholeheartedly. Running on it hurt. Quite the challenge to try to run hard on that course.

But I still tried! It is easy to play “what if” during and after a race. But “what if” is stupid. NOW is what I had then. And I ran as best as I could in the NOW that I had. That feels good. I didn’t get my goal of sub 2hrs. But I DID try. I didn’t win. But I did amazing considering the training I haven’t had and the years of training I did have before I broke my foot. Basically. I gave what I had to give when Joe said “go”. As an athlete I am proud of that. So often my mind holds me back during a race. It is so easy to back off a little and no one but me ever knows. I can honestly say that the only way I *might* have run better on that day would have been knowing where the runners ahead where.

But boy did I have a push going with the 2 guys I ran the middle 11 miles with! 🙂 I so love being a girl. 🙂

I crossed the finish in 2:02:11, 4th finisher and 2nd girl. 2mins and 59seconds after the 1st finisher. Not bad! The best part…I think I get to start training next week!!! I am scared to even type that before it happens. But I do think I am going to get to train again. Soon. (((((LOVE))))))

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