Continuing on with the Runner’s World Weekend festivities…
The races. We should probably talk about those. Obviously the main reason I was in Bethlehem.
Lauren and I woke up around 6am and went downstairs to grab breakfast. I made myself a cinnamon belgian waffle (SO good) and brought it back upstairs to our room so we could eat while we got ready. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to figure out what I wanted to wear for the races. It was chilly but I knew running in long sleeves would be too much. We met everyone downstairs at 7 to walk down to the start of the 5k.
Because most of us weren’t taking the races seriously, there was no warming up involved. We made our way over to the porta potties where there was almost no line (and they were still relatively clean!), took some pictures, and got into the corrals. The first race started at 8am.
I hadn’t planned on pushing any of the races. I’m still nursing a mysterious injury and was hoping to make it through all 3 races (5k, 10k, half marathon). As soon as the gun went off for the 5k, I knew there was no way I’d be able to finish a half. My calf was aggravated from the first step but it surprisingly went away until I crossed the finish line. It was after that first step that I decided to see what I could do with the 5k, take the 10k easy, and scrap the half marathon all together.
My first mile was around 7:30, I think. I wasn’t wearing a garmin and didn’t really pay much attention to my splits, but I vaguely remember thinking that I could hold that pace for all 3 miles. All I remember about the first mile was how much I had to weave in and out of people. I probably tacked on a lot of extra distance doing so, but I started out in the 8:30 corral so I had a lot of catching up to do. I wasn’t shooting for a PR, so it didn’t bother me, it’s just something I remember. In Boston, I ran most of the races with other bloggers, whereas last weekend everyone kind of did their own thing so I didn’t really run with anyone.
Mile two came just over 15 minutes if I remember correctly. I was starting to get tired at this point but I was taking note of all of the scenery. The course was truly beautiful and is exactly what I would picture a Pennsylvania fall to look like. The leaves were still colorful and the ground was covered with them. I may have been riding the pain train, but I was enjoying myself immensely. The last mile was really hard. I ended up finishing in 22:49, about a minute slower than what i ran last month. Considering that I haven’t run more than 2-3 times in the past month, I’ll take it. Lauren said she thought the course was a little long, but I’m happy with my pace regardless.
After the races I met up with all of the other bloggers, found my boyfriend, and met a girl from November Project Philly! That was probably a highlight. She took a picture of me towards the finish. Once a member of the tribe, always a member of the tribe.
It was really cold but luckily they left the Arts Quest building open so we could stay warm for the hour between races. My calf was bothering me a decent amount so I tried to stretch but I was okay once the 10k started. We managed to get most of the bloggers in one picture…
I knew I wouldn’t be able to push the 10k so I just decided to run it “easy.” I forgot that my “easy” pace is not the same as it used to be so I was trying to run 8 minute miles which felt hard. Mile 1 was already painful and I came in around 7:45. My calves felt okay; I was just tired. I haven’t run that many miles in over a month, so trying to do 9+ miles in one day was stretching it.
I’ll be completely honest- I was pretty bad with the negative self-talk for most of the race. As much as I enjoyed the scenery, I was too tired to care for the 10k. I just wanted to be done running. I continued pushing and stayed right around 8 minute pace for all 6 miles, but I can’t say I had a great attitude about it while running. That had nothing to do with anything Runner’s World did. It was me feeling frustrated with myself for the fitness level I was at. I know I shouldn’t have been, but I was.
The 10k course was just as gorgeous as the first race, and at least 10 times as hilly. The course was really windy and every time you turned a corner, you would think you’d have some reprieve from a hill but really another one was there to break you just a little bit more. I know some people did PR, but I don’t think I could have done it on a course like that, so I give those runners major credit. It was NOT an easy course. Pretty, yes, PR friendly, no.
I crossed the finish line in 50:50 for an 8:11 pace. Because of the winding roads, I definitely didn’t follow the tangents and likely ran significantly more than 6.2 miles, but without a garmin we will never know. I’m very happy with that time even though it’s nowhere near a PR.
I finished the race, once again found my boyfriend (who also ran the 10k… 10 minutes faster than me), and chatted with the other bloggers before heading back to our hotel rooms to shower and find food so we could go to the seminars.
Last part coming tomorrow- I promise!
Disclosure: Runner’s World sponsored my involvement with the race (hotel, meals, seminars, swag bags, races, etc), but all opinions are my own. I had planned on running these races before I was invited back and if it fits in my schedule, will do one of their festivals again next year.
Have you ever run a race after taking a lot of time off running?
Favorite season to run races in?