I went to bed Friday night hoping that the weathermen were wrong and I would wake-up to 40 degree weather. Unfortunately, my wish did not come true. The race started in 28 degree weather and it never really warmed up.
My time goal was to break 1:22. I knew it was a lofty goal and would take a good day with proper execution to run that time. My coach and I agreed to run 6:20 for the first mile, and ease into the pace of 6:15’s/mile. I also know that the course lends itself to a negative split and to not worry if I got to the 10k mark with time to make up.
My first mile was perfect at 6:21. I decided to stay at the current pace and hope that warming up more would help me get the pace down. I bounced around between 6:15 and 6:28 for the first 6 miles, mostly due to the slight up- and down-hills, and I went through 10k in 39:41. I had settled into the pace and started to work through the field, running behind two men that would speed up every time I tried to pass them. They would sprint for 10 seconds, I would work up to them over the next half mile, and it would repeat. During the race I found it annoying, but in hind-sight, I think it helped me because I had something to chase. I finally got past them by mile 10 and worked on the next guy, who did the same thing. I went through 10 miles just under 1:04, needing to run 19:10 for the final 5k to break 1:23. I put my head down, and started to run 6:10’s. Luckily, a guy came up on me around mile 11 and helped push me. Without him to hang on to, I don’t think I would have run as fast as I did. I finished the race in 1:23:05.
While I did not meet my time goal, I am very happy with my first race for USMES. I PR’d by 52 seconds on a very cold day, and my previous PR race was in perfect conditions. I also competed well over the last 3 miles and adapted well to the race in front of me rather than focusing entirely on a time goal.
This race wraps up the 2014 season. While I did not accomplish every goal I set last winter, I think I made many improvements that will help me in the future. I have gotten into a rhythm for training while being at the hospital so much. Before this year, a 12 hour day almost always meant that I would be spent mentally and have an awful workout. Now, I can still focus and have a good session at the end of the day.
I also feel my mentality has shifted this past year. I now see a path to racing at a level which before felt too far away due to a variety of reasons. My coach and I work very well together, and the people around me are incredibly supportive. With patience and hard work I truly believe that I can succeed in triathlon and longer running races. Being selected for the USMES elite triathlon team has also vindicated a lot of hard work which we have all put in.
Thank you, to everyone. I am excited for the winter training ahead and the 2015 season. But first, a couple weeks of recovery, family time, and tests.