Friday, March 27, 2009

Stanford Invite 10k

AM: 20 mins.
2.5 miles
PM: 20 min. w/u + strides (2.5 miles)
Target: 10k race @35:50 (5:45 pace)
Actual: 36:12 (5:48 pace: 1 mile @5:43; 5k @17:57)
12 min. c/d (1.5 miles)

Total: 10-10.5 miles

I should still be sleeping. As I'm typing this post-dated entry, it's 5:45am on Saturday morning. Our flight isn't until 12:30 and Mike and I don't even have to go do our recovery runs until 8:30, which is, yup, almost 3 hours from now. However, because my body is still out of whack from the time difference and because my legs are literally throbbing, here I am. So, instead of sleeping, I will attempt to recap my day and 10k race.

Yesterday started out quite pleasantly, and unlike this morning I was able to sleep until almost 8:30. When I awoke I peeked outside and was greeted by clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine; by the time I headed out for my shakeout around 10, it was clear this was going to be another positively gorgeous day. I wished I could've run much farther because it was so nice out, but reminded myself I'm not here to merely go for a jog. Likewise, as I stared wistfully outside my hotel (or, let's be real, motel) room window all afternoon yearning to be laying outside at the beach, I had to remind myself I wasn't here for vacation. Which is unfortunate, because I wouldn't mind spending another day or 20 here.

After sitting around all day--and I do mean all day; it was as boring as it sounds--we headed up to the track around 5:30pm. For me this meant more sitting around, just in a different location, but it was pretty fun watching many of the other distance races. To be honest it was also quite humbling to be in the presence of so many talented runners, and to realize that there were literally dozens if not hundreds of girls there who could beat me any day of the week without a second thought. I quickly learned that everyone is fast at the Stanford Invite, with very few exceptions.

I'll spare you the minutiae of the next few hours and skip to Mike's race, which went off just before I was to commence my warmup. He was in the fast section of the 5k--probably the only D2 runner in that section, and one of the few D2 runners in the entire 5k field--and held his own, kicking hard and passing a ton of guys in the final lap to finish in a comfortable PR of 13:46. As soon as I finished cheering for him, I threw on my trainers and headed out to warm up. I was greeted by a truly great surprise when I made it back to the track and started doing my strides: Ryan Graddy and Nick Sarro! Jordan and I ran with Graddy, who is in med school at Brown, when we were in San Diego over Christmas break, but I hadn't seen Sarro since Senior Week almost a year ago. It was great to see them and, later, hear them cheering for me during my race. Definitely made my day.

Ok, now on to the race itself: basically, this was the hardest I have ever run in my entire life. Or, at least, it hurt as much or more than any race I have ever run. I missed the auto time of 35:50 but I can assure you it wasn't for lack of trying. I felt awesome through the mile, comfortable through the 5k, and then the monkey jumped on my piano (or whatever that metaphor is). By 6k I was hurting and desperately trying to keep with my original strategy of staying with a pack. I competed well, passing girls who were falling off pace and catching up with girls who were running ahead of me, but after a while everyone was strung out and I found myself out there in no man's land. When I crossed the line with what I thought was 5 laps to go, I heard Scott yell "6 laps to go!" Um, I cannot quote for you verbatim the thought that crossed my mind in case any women and children are reading, but suffice it to say I was not thrilled. The final mile was absolutely torturous, but I amused myself with thinking of creative ways to sustain an injury and drop out of the race. By the time I hit a lap to go, I was in the red and basically willing myself to keep it together. I passed one girl on the final straight and kicked (if that's how you could describe it) with everything I had, but I had already known for quite some time that it wouldn't be enough to bring me under 36 minutes.

Now that the dust has settled and I've spoken with Scott and Jeff, I can analyze this race relatively objectively. Initially I was crestfallen to have missed the time after putting in so much hard work--and, more importantly, after believing I was fit enough to run it--but I have to look at this as a great first step. This was my first outdoor track race since high school, first 10k track race ever, and first time competing against this caliber of competition. My time was also well below the provisional standard of 37:2x needed for nationals, so there's a strong chance I will get in with this time anyway. As Jeff said, when you look at how my fitness has progressed over the past few months, our strongest feeling should be one of excitement. I have made some huge jumps in fitness and I know I can continue to do so over the course of this outdoor season. I remember running a 10k road race in Dallas almost exactly a year ago and texting Jordan (who I wasn't dating yet but he was so obviously trying to woo me), absolutely thrilled that I ran 37:55 and notched a huge PR (I'm embarrassed to say I don't think I'd broken 39 minutes before). To look back and realize how much my mindset and my personal standards have changed since then...well, it's a great feeling. The glass truly is half full.

Apologies on the length. Photos to come if I feel like it.


Mad said...

You did wonderfully! I am in awe. You should be proud. And pleeaase post pics :) Congrats girl!