Time for another race report! If you don’t want to read the whole post, I ran 18:18 on a hot, hilly 5k course, was the third runner for the team, and felt pretty good but there were spots I could have been tougher.
Anyway. Two consecutive weekends of hot, hard races make for some tired runners, but our next race is not for three weeks, so we get a bit of a break. And a nice hard training block 😉
This weekend, we traveled to UVA for the Panorama Farms Invitational. Panorama Farms is beautiful, with rolling hills, mountains in the distance, hot air balloons in the sky, and a live bluegrass band…but the course is notoriously hellish and hot. I ran there twice last year- the first time was the worst race experience I have ever had, and the second was regionals. Not the greatest #mems.
We left campus yesterday afternoon. Our van had to stop for a desperate emergency bathroom break 4 miles from the course…we almost made it! We ran the course (and added on to get to 5 miles), did drills and strides, rope stretched, and had our team meeting. After that, we went to our hotel, had dinner, went to the grocery store, and prepared for the morning by setting up our flash tats, ribbons, spikes and uniforms, etc.
This morning, we woke up at 6 am and went for a quick pre-dawn shakeout run before rope stretching and eating breakfast. My pre-race breakfast: oatmeal, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, plain Greek yogurt, and coffee.
We headed to the course a little later. Had a Picky bar and Gatorade. The men’s race was pushed back before ours to avoid the heat (how is that fair!?), so we watched them start before rope stretching and warming up.
(Our team does a lot of rope stretching.)
After an 18-minute warm-up, drills, and strides, we were soaked in sweat. It wasn’t actually that hot, but the sun was blazing. But that was to be expected! Luckily, throughout the past week, our coach and ourselves put a lot of emphasis on hydration in preparation for this race, so we were all full of water and Gatorade and electrolytes. Which resulted in 47 bathroom breaks, but at least no one passed out!!
Our goal today was to pack up well. We were running without our #1, but we had two great workout groups. The gun went off and we got out well, rocking the new uniforms. I found myself leading the team for the first 2k in about 20th place, running with women that I had never been near before. That was pretty cool!
We started hitting the hills at 2.5k, and two of my teammates passed me on the massive hill at 2 miles. I lost a few places but kept reminding myself how much better this race was going than last year, which was actually very helpful. I definitely could have fought better from 3k to 4.5k. On the last steep hill before the finishing stretch, someone screamed, “YOU EAT HILLS FOR BREAKFAST!” at me. I looked up and saw our teammate that graduated last year, with whom I spent all summer running. Seeing her was the best. I laughed. (For a millisecond.)
The last 400 meters is one continuous uphill straightaway, and I kicked and caught the girl in front of me. I soon discovered I had kicked a little too aggressively when I tied up 50 meters from the line and the girl passed me back. Oh, well. Crossed the line 18:18 for 25th place overall and third on my team.
After the race, we cooled down for 40 minutes to get to long run mileage (a little under 12 for the day) and then ate pumpkin muffins with upset stomachs. We’ve done more intelligent things. I got to briefly see my mom and brother, who had driven the hour and a half down to watch me race, and they brought me fresh vegetables from our CSA along with freshly baked cookies! It was great to see them for the first time in a month. My mom also ran a race last weekend- a 20-miler to prep for her upcoming marathon! She crushed it, finishing second in her age group on a pace that converts to a marathon some 25 minutes faster than she ran last year!
Takeaways from the race: 1) I am finally starting to believe that I can run “up there” with women that I couldn’t before. 2) Adequate hydration and preparation help to avoid bad heat exhaustion situations 😉 3) I need to work on not getting complacent or mentally giving up on the hardest parts of the course. 4) Our team has depth, yo! We had the smallest time spread from 1-5 and 1-7 out of all the teams at the invitational. We had eight runners across the line before any other team had seven. Even without our #1, and with a girl from our top 5 DNFing due to an asthma attack, we still got fourth overall. Not. bad.
I’m either going to get in the pool tomorrow or do a short recovery run. Looking forward to a solid training block before Penn State, focusing on school (oh yeah, forgot about the fact that it’s #midtermszn), and “not getting too high or too low,” as my coach says.