I actually have a couple of exciting things from this weekend, but i'll do 2 separate blog entries since both of these events I learned from and truly enjoyed. It's been a while since i've truly done speed work, so I was excited to give speed a shot. My motto has been "i'm built for distance, not for speed," but ya know...speed is beginning to grow on me....
Let me start with the 5K race I did yesterday. I got up at 5:45 a.m. yes, I know, I never get up to swim early and I got up earlier than I do during the week for work. But you know what? Yesterday was "my" day. I had to make sure I did everything I could because I wanted *so* badly to be *fast*. Whatever the definition of "fast" is to someone, I wanted to create my own feeling of "fast." I've always felt slow. And, it seems no matter how i've trained in triathlon, the run....always...fails me. I'm just plain sick of that "ugh, I was slow again," feeling. I realize it's all relative, my fast is someone else's slow and my slow is someone else's fast.
So-on Friday night, before the race, I asked myself what pace and time I would be happy with, and what I would consider "fast," for myself. I came up with the answer of "anything in the high 7:45-7:50 min/per mile range and I would like to finish in the "23's" (meaning, just under an 8 minute mile).
Woke up Saturday morning and I was "awake," not tired, not sluggish. I actually felt "ready." Ate a banana, grabbed my water and I headed to the start. It was a small 5k, very local, no bells or whistles, no timing chip, just people showing up and running. I showed up at 6:30 for a 7:00 start.....I warmed up for 20 minutes and waited. 7:00 came and went, and finally they announced the 5K would start last and so it was 7:30 by the time I lined up to begin. I was slightly annoyed because I ate and drank enough to be "DONE" by 7:30...now I was starting to get hungry and naturally I had to really go to the bathroom and of course there was no toilet paper left! Oh well! Time to grin and bear it right?
7:30 comes and I lined up right at the start, I just figured I might as well start up front and I could always drift back, rather than start at the back and claw my way up if I had to. I started out hard---too hard...my heart rate shot up to 180 (I was aiming to keep in low 170's) and I had to back off. I won't lie, I saw Paula Newby Fraser (she's won Ironman Hawaii and numerous other Ironman's, let's just say for those who don't know--I think she's call the Queen of Ironman). I saw her and I was like "she's fast," .....how fast? FAST people...REALLY FAST! I looked down at my heart rate monitor, it was at 180 and my pace was 6:05 (yes, 6:05). I quickly slowed my pace, feeling my lungs were just not going to make it, but it was fun "toying" with my pace for a few minutes.
I was wearing my heart rate monitor on one hand and Dave's garmin on the other, I was supposed to be taking splits on the garmin to get my heart rate for every mile. And get this: the course was marked in Kilometers.....and instead of using my brain and hitting the "split" button on Dave's garmin at 1k, 2k and 3k, I freaked out in my head and I was like "wait! wait! what mile is this?".........I was an idiot and just kept going and ignored the split button, I figured i'd just get my overall heart rate best I could.
I just maintained, I was pushing..pretty hard....my lungs felt it more than my legs did, I kept pushing and focused on keeping my shoulders relaxed, tried to hold my posture, stride and really just focus on maintaining what I would consider a "fast" pace.
How'd it all turn out? Well folks, I have a "slight" guess because ya know what? I didn't stick around for the awards...not because i'm self deprecating and I don't tend to "place," (which is true, I don't usually place..especially in running races)....but, I had to go to the bathroom! So....I left. And I also forgot to stop my watch, so I only have a vague idea of my finishing time.
So...what is my estimated finish time? 21.50. I couldn't really explain it myself---it comes out to be slightly under a 7:00 minute pace. I know for a lot of you out there, this isn't very fast and why am I *so* excited about this pace? Because.....running is hard for me. I don't "enjoy" it like a lot of runners. It is something I truly, truly have to work at. Swimming and cycling i've always felt much more comfortable with my improvements in those sports, i've seen myself get faster over a shorter period of time. But, running, like I said, is something i've always felt I stink at and I feel like my improvements have happened over the last 4 years of triathlon and I just kept waiting for me to have a day that I just "flew," on my feet.
Yesterday was my day---I finally felt fast. Finally. I was almost as emotional about this silly 5K finish as I was Ironman. Very different distances...very similar emotions. I think it just goes to show no matter the distance or whatever "it," is in life----any goal you have, when you work really hard at something that doesn't come easy--when you finally "get it," it's an awesome feeling. It sounds really silly to use that cliche, but how else can I explain a finish in a 5K to an Ironman? I think it's because both *are* hard, just in different ways and I can appreciate the training i've put into both.
Things got a little more awesome this evening..someone I met up with at the race sent me a blog message......turns out I finished 1st in my age group for the 5k. Ok, so there were probably 10 people in the age group, but ya know what, place or no place, I feel fast, so there!
Thanks for reading!! More tomorrow with pictures!