October 11, 2018

10K Gratitude

I set modest running goals for 2018. Run some 5Ks, some 10Ks, and one half-marathon. No *real* pace goals other than a pie-in-the-sky hope to run "very good" on the cooper test.

Morning glories are so cool!  New surprise blooms every day.
This has worked well for me. I've been registering for and showing up on race days and performing as well as I can. I've been slowly improving my speed/endurance and losing a little bit of mass over the year. Essentially, I've been doing a decent job of being a casual runner who is slowly improving, but it hasn't been high stress and, nor has it been a top priority.

Walking with my corral to the start.
The San Jose Rock 'n Roll 10K was a classic example of this year's low-key approach to running. Because I'd paid to register, I'd done more than I would have if I hadn't, including a few longer runs in the 9 mile range as well as a little speedwork and strength work. Nothing hardcore. But consistent 20ish mile weeks with some cross-training and stretching. Occasional tempo runs while I joined F to break up her long runs for the NYC marathon, because her long run pace is my tempo pace (10 min/mile these days).

In our house, turkey chili is served with equal parts cheddar!
After the Break Free 10K, I knew I had a sub 1h02 10K in me. The question I had to ask myself was how badly I wanted it. And the honest answer was not that badly. I biked 5 miles for a lunch outing where I had beer the day before the race and then after several sparkling waters, I had some wine with dinner. I went to bed early and woke without trouble to enjoy coffee and a sugary lemonade before the start.

My AM went according to plan with traffic and parking and port-a-potties and getting into my corral. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't run the first 3 (downhill) miles faster than 10:15/mile and then I'd re-assess.

Sunrise on the hike to Diamond Head 
(Spoiler: A few days after SJRNR we went to Hawaii)

Hah.  I had absolutely no problem keeping it reasonable on the pacing -- I hit the 5K mat about 30 seconds behind goal pace for a 1h05 10K and I really didn't care enough to try to speed up to meet that time. I was just happy to be healthy enough to continue running on such a gorgeous day in San Jose (mid 60s at the start, low 70s at the finish).  I told myself to just keep running by effort so that I was getting in a good "long" run that didn't hurt too badly.

Secretly, I hoped that I could at least keep all miles sub 11.  But, when I saw 11:04 at mile 4 and thought, "That's fine. Just 2.2 miles to go and you're still fine. Keep it comfortable and push on the last mile." I turned on my music and started to slowly increase my effort.

They call it the rainbow state for a reason.
I passed 14 people in the last mile. I know because I counted, smiling internally with gratitude at each one. What I didn't do was count the people that passed me.  I'm pretty sure it was more than 14.

I didn't come close to my sub 1h02. Instead I ran a 1:07:24. 24 seconds slower than last year. But, OH. MY. GOODNESS. Last year HURT. My left leg was starting to get worse.  AND, I ran way too hard at the beginning and seriously slowed in the middle.

Duke's Kahlua Pork Nachos
(Possibly my favorite guilty pleasure food)
This year, by comparison, was so absolutely pleasant and wonderful and enjoyable. I smiled my way through the entire last 2.2 miles. I cheered for every fast person who passed me on their half marathon finish (the out and back makes it possible for people my pace to watch the half marathon play out at the end). I've definitely reached a point in my running where just registering for, getting the bib, showing up for, and running a race is a source of celebration and gratitude. (Even better if you can have post-race brunch with a friend.)

A perfectly acceptable run.
Of course I'd love some fast(er) times. But what I've come to realize about myself is that I'll gratefully accept any finish of a race.  Particularly when my body is in balance and I don't have any exercise-induced pain.  The ones where I am able to push and go faster through the general hurt of running on the edge of my fitness, do, of course, result in a larger sense of accomplishment.  But even the ones like this year's SJRNR where I just use the race as an excuse to do a harder workout than I'd otherwise do, make me very happy.

I'll try to get in a few good runs while enjoying a week of this.
In short, I am grateful for a healthy happy run and a beautiful post-race vacation.


Arvay said...

Everything's better with cheddar!

Biting Tongue said...

@Arvay: True.

Jen said...

Great job and attitude! Hope you’re enjoying Oahu!

bt said...

@Jen -- enjoying it SO MUCH. Big post of Oahu enjoyment to come!