It all started at track on Tuesday night, a day I’d been waiting for ever since finishing Nike–knowing that my goal was to move up into the next fastest wave so I could have hope of shaving the necessary time off my pace to make the 6-hour time limit at Napa.
I was a bit nervous–I was recovering from a cold and had NOT felt well after the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day (ironically, I actually set a PR for a 10K, finishing it in 1:14–though I paid the price later with my cold getting worse). To add to things, I had been having trouble adjusting to my new reading glasses and was feeling nauseous and fighting a headbanger of a headache that day–I wasn’t even sure whether I’d be able to show up to track that night.
But I was determined to run in my time trial and ended up surprising myself. I finished the 5K in 31 minutes and 57 seconds–a full 5 minutes and 30 seconds from my time trial in June! Woohoo! It was enough to get me into the next wave up, a mind-boggling achievement for me, since I had been in wave 1 my first 4 seasons and didn’t move up to wave 2 until last season.
But once elation set in, fear and panic took over. Now I was going to have to hustle ;).
This weekend’s run would be the first test; we were to run 10 miles with our new waves, and wave 3 was expected to average a 10-11 min mile pace. Gulp. I’d never done less than a 13 min mile pace on a long run, so this was going to be a challenge.
We were running on a relatively new trail; I’d been on the trail before, in my first season with TnT’s walk team, but I hadn’t been there in almost 4 years and I had never been there as a runner. It was a challenge in more ways than one.
Fortunately it was a gorgeous run, so it was pretty easy to take in the scenery and not think about the fact that we were running 10 miles–our longest distance since the marathon. I had been experimenting with my new run/walk interval of 4:1, which I first tried it at the Turkey Trot, but this would be my longest with it. I was nervous about how it would feel, but much to my surprise, it felt great! In fact, the run felt really good, up until the end when I started to feel weird things with my Achilles and my ankle. I iced both of these areas vigilantly after the run, but then started to feel some twinges in my knee.
Methinks my body is trying to tell me to relax.
I’m hoping that a few days of rest will get everything back to 100% again, but in the meantime, the run itself did wonders for my confidence. Sure, Julie (who was kind enough to run with me) and I were the last runners to come in, but we finished in 2 hours and 23 min–a pretty respectable time (especially since, according to my Garmin watch, we actually ran 11 miles, not 10 ;)). I didn’t quite get to the 11 min mile pace that we were supposed to be shooting for, but 12:30 is not too bad, and there will be plenty of chances to get there.
This season is going to be great 🙂