My body finished racing the Brea 8K about four hours ago but my mind is still racing LOL! To sum up: gorgeous race weather (51 degrees, light wind), well-organized race, slightly hilly course, user error when I didn’t quite manage to hit “start” on my Garmin but that trusty GPS watch still paced me to a PR! In spite of my pre-race jitters and Garmin snafu, everything came together for a wonderful race.
I didn’t sleep well last night (although when I did sleep, I dreamt I was eating donuts and dreams just do not get better than that!) I don’t know whether it was the race jitters, the salt I had with the Goldfish I ate while I watched E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for family movie night, or that little nap I took earlier in the day, but the night was not exactly restful. I should have added to the post on dealing with pre-race jitters: Do not panic if you cannot sleep well the night before the race. It’s the sleep you get two nights before the race that carries you through the event. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.
I got out of bed at 5:15 a.m. and made plain oatmeal and coffee with almond milk. I drank about 20 ounces of water two hours before the race. I headed out the door at 6:50 and arrived at the race at 7:10 (gotta love a local race!) There were no lines at the porta potties (I call that a personal victory already) and by 7:15 I was chatting up my half-marathon running coach Stephanie and my classmate Tina. It helped to calm my nerves to talk with them, and it certainly didn’t hurt to hear about Tina’s 10-minute PR at the recent Tinkerbell half! Super impressive to cut off nearly a minute per mile!
Half an hour before the 8 a.m. race start, Stephanie and I did a warm-up jog around the first little loop of the race course. I like to do a dynamic warm up before all races but I do not necessarily warm up with a jog as well before longer distance races like a half marathon or full marathon. For an 8K, it helps me to jog so that when that starting horn goes off, my muscles are warmed up enough to tolerate a fast start.
In light of last year’s crowding at the start, I positioned myself closer to the front this year, right at the front of the 7-minute mile pack. Those were some dang serious (and nervous) runners and we all took off at a 6-something pace. I quickly realized that was too fast for me to sustain (as if!) and I dialed it back into the 7-minute range. My goal was to keep my pace between 7:39 and 8:00, aiming for an overall time under 40 minutes, and if not under 40 at least under my 41:35 time from 2012. As I said, I goofed at the starting line and did not manage to hit “start” on my Garmin Forerunner 110, but it still showed me my pace and I did eventually start it properly.
The course has some hills, nothing terrible, and I used the downhills to my advantage by keeping my feet quick and light, then powered up the hills at a steady pace, paying attention to keeping my effort level steady rather than pushing to keep up the pace up the hills. Just about halfway through the race there is a hill fondly named “Heartrate Hill” and that steady slow climb challenged me but I knew it would payoff with another downhill after that and we’d be over halfway done. With two miles to go I concentrated on keeping the pace steady in the 7s with only a few dips into the 8-minute mile range. With one mile to go, I pushed hard, and with half a mile to go I gave it my all. There wasn’t a whole lot left in the tank at that point, and I was super happy to round that last bend in the mall parking lot and see the balloon arch over the finish. I could see the clock said 38:30-something and I sprinted to see if I could get in under 39 minutes. I crossed the finish line and celebrated being done and frankly, not throwing up. Hooray for leaving it all out on the course (but not literally all, if you know what I mean)!
I’ve hit “refresh” on the race results about a million times today and finally my official results came up at about 6:20 p.m.:
Chip time: 38:42 (a big fat PR over last year’s time of 41:35)
Clock time: 38:52
Overall place: 431 of 2726
Women’s rank: 95 of 1466
Females 40-44 division: 5 of 180 <— Do you have any idea how happy this makes me?! Happy tears, that's how happy.
Pace: 7:46 minutes/mile = 7.7 mph
"SoCal's Finest Finish" lived up to its claim again this year. The expo boasted the typical water, oranges and bananas, but the main attractions came in the form of Slater's 50/50 hamburgers, Chilled Swiss Oatmeal (a European muesli made with low fat yogurt, rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants, dried cranberries, and skim milk) from Corner Bakery, pizza from California Pizza Kitchen, Rubio's, Jamba Juice smoothies, and Farrell's ice cream to name a few. The expo offered something to please everyone. If chili doesn't appeal to you after a race, you can grab a chocolate chip cookie. Looking for something healthier? Try a whole organic apple from the local market. The only limiting factor for me was how much I could carry in my hands!
After more chatting with Stephanie and others from A Snail’s Pace running shop, I saw Mike and my girls looking for me. What a nice surprise! We got a quick family photo and headed out for brunch as a treat for everyone. TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Brea puts out an amazing brunch buffet. At $35.99 for adults, it cost more than the Brea 8K entry fee, but gosh darn it, the pecan cinnamon rolls alone made it all worth it. And the mimosas. And the cocktail shrimp.
All in all a great race day! I leave you with my favorite race sign from today: “That’s not sweat, those are tears from your fat cells crying.”
Did you race or run this weekend? Tell me about it!