Sunday, September 5, 2010

Able to run 7.5 miles in a single hour

I ran the Fleet Feet Summerfest 12K race at Mendon Ponds Park yesterday. With the strong winds and the 7.5 mile hilly course (seriously, the course was a like a roller coaster with all the rolling hills), it was definitely a tough workout.

Like an idiot, I forgot to take an Ibuprofen before the race, but my hip didn't really bother me while I was running. I definitely felt it afterwards though. When my watch read 8:15 at the first mile, I thought I went out too fast and should relax on pace a little bit, but evidently my body heard, "Let's go faster" because I finished in 59:33 (average pace of 7:59 per mile, #61 out of 232).

This was my favorite kind of race, in that it felt like hard work, but not impossible, so I tried to stay relaxed and just keep going. I felt strong the whole way through, and I think this may quite possibly be my best race ever (I'm pretty sure I even beat my Lilac 10K time at the 10K mark of this race). I hope I feel this good or better during the half marathon next week.

Training has a lot to do with it of course (as does eating more), but I think for me personally, the most important factor is that my attitude towards running has changed since my high school and college cross country days. I'm way more positive and upbeat now. Instead of thinking "I can't do this," my attitude has become more of a "Well, I've never done this before, but sure, I'll give it a try."

Now I actually enjoy running, even racing to some extent, and everything just seems more humorous somehow. When my stomach felt a little off around mile 3, I thought "Ok Stomach, throw up or shut up." (Thankfully, it chose shut up.) Just as I was thinking how peaceful the 12K course was through the country roads, I came upon mile 5 and the overwhelming stink of manure. Classic. And then I saw a dog riding on a tractor and passed by 3 horse drawn carriages with riders in old timey clothes, the absurdity of which lent a surreal, almost dream-like quality to the race. After I crossed the finish line, a guy from running group gave me a hug and exclaimed "You're a machine!" Fabulous! 

Lyric of the moment: "In the place where I make no mistakes, in the place where I have what it takes..."

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