It's been the season for parties and seasonal baked goods and I've been feeling like I've been partaking in those seasonal goodies too much of late. the parties have all been fun stuff though. Running friends turned regular friends can't be beat. Another fun party saturday night and it was just too much good nibblies and wine to resist. Oh yeah, I'm racing the next morning though.
I wasn't sure what to expect. I've wanted to run the Kirkland 12K's of Christmas for a few years but just never could quite get it on the schedule. This was the year! I was one week out from the Deception Pass 25k trail run but had recovered from the non-race effort quickly. I'd hoped to come in around 8 flat for this very hilly 12k (long course - more like 7.6 miles instead of 7.4) but was thinking I'd be more like 8:15 overall. I'd peeked at the elevation chart and knew this course was basically a flat first couple miles (some up at the start and then down at the 2nd mile) and then rose steadily in mile 3 and 4 to a nice downhill with some subtle up the last miles. My goal was to go out at 8:00, stay under 8:30 for the uphill miles and then just run paying attention to feel and form.
It was crowded! There is a 5k that starts just before the 12k. That start was delayed and so was our start. Not a big deal but it did start drizzling a little heavily and I started to chill. I placed myself firmly in the "jogger" pace and waited for the start. Within the first quarter mile, i'd passed a gal with a dog and was very careful about all the traffic. 7:57 for that first mile was perfect and I felt good.
And then I just raced. I stayed steady on the uphill and was pleased to hit mile 3 in 8:24 and then mile 4 in 8:13. It wasn't as uphill as I'd anticipated yet I still worked on those lessons hard learned in hill repeats last week and earlier this year. I gradually passed people throughout and felt I was in control.
The 5k mark cracked me up. There was a group of earnest carolers singing the Twelve Days of Christmas with a LOT of enthusiasm. I couldn't help but smile and gave Hi-5s to all the kids at that station. That was a nice touch. Woo! and let the downhill begin. Ok, I'm a good downhill runner and I was passing quite a few people. Lean forward, land lightly with no breaking and keep the legs moving. It seemed to go on for quite a while with a few flatter sections. Finally we turned onto Lake Washington Blvd which I knew would be gradually uphill.
This is it. Focus. Breathe. Form. You've worked very hard to get to this point and stay with it. Now, I always start pretending that various training partners are with me and that works very well. No way will I stop now. I got passed by a few guys and passed a few in turn but didn't really see any women around. I'd passed one gal on the downhill around mile 5. Just keep working. I felt like I was slowing and legs were turning to sludge. Finally we hit the final turn and all of a sudden two women are charging past. Oh no! One was the gal I'd passed at 5. I'm happy to report I did beat her to the line. Done!
And what was I concerned about? My cubemate at work (we've sat next to each other for a couple years now) started running earlier this year. She's now done a couple 10ks and a half marathon as has her college-aged daughter who also started running at the same time. I walked quickly until I could run again and started slowly trotting back along the course. I saw K and cheered. I saw RPD and cheered and I saw the friend's daughter and cheered. Where is the coworker?
|coworker working hard!|
She gave me a big smile and took off! We still had a half mile so she kept at it and soon enough we were at the finish. Fantastic! She's already planning her next event and it makes me so happy that she enjoys the racing/running scene.
I had no idea what pace I'd run my own race overall. I knew I'd run well and was pretty certain I'd hit my goal of 8 flat but was more focused on getting back out there. I got back home and checked my garmin. I'd read it wrong at first and was shocked to realize that I'd come in well under my goal 8 flat pace. And I'd run this smart and well paced and did not die on the uphill. Final time was 58:26 for 7:50 pace according to the race officials. my garmin watch had it at 7:45 pace overall. I so did not expect that especially post 25k and while in the midst of holiday festivities. Bring on Nookachamps!
And if you ever need a great way to re-energize your running, volunteer and help out or pace a new runners. It is a wonderful feeling seeing them achieve their goals as well.