What a weekend! It's Sunday evening- finally time to rest!- and though I'm feeling pretty thrashed, I'm also finding myself feeling pretty satisfied with what my body put up with and allowed me to do the past few days...
I was entered in a 10K today (sent my entry in several months ago)... but I wasn't sure that I'd be doing it because of that calf injury I had. I've been back running for about 2 weeks now but without any speed work at all I just wasn't sure that I wanted to go run a 10K... I was pretty sure it would be ugly and a big part of me just didn't even want to know how bad it was going to be... Is it better to just think that you're way slower than you want to be or to actually go prove it to yourself?
Rewind to yesterday... I showed up at the group ride, thinking that maybe I'd be doing the 10K today... so maybe I'd just cruise through the ride without going too hard... but then Sandy said she was going to run the 10K but wasn't planning on holding back on the ride to save herself for it or anything. I can be such a sucker for peer pressure so of course I say that I'll go with the same plan. (Raise your hand if you think this is a good idea! Lol.) The ride was fast as usual but it wasn't actually all that hard until the last 15 miles or so when it became a complete free-for-all with 6 guys racing and trading off taking fliers off the front. It was nuts. In my head I knew that there was no need for me to play their game... I did not need to dig that deep or work that hard... but for whatever reason I just could not let myself get dropped. I was going full throttle at 100% and then another guy would fly off the front and all the other guys would respond so I just dug deeper and went 110% to cover the attack and then got to spend a few minutes back at just 100% effort before ramping it back up to 110% again. Yeah. Nuts, I know. After like 20 minutes of swearing under my breath while killing myself to hang on, I figured my 10K was screwed anyway so I might as well finish myself off on this ride, so I pushed as hard as I had to and held on to those guys 'til the very end. I was thrashed as I carried my bike up the stairs to my house, but went for the 30 minute brick run with Nalani anyway. ('Cause what the heck, right? That 10K is going to suck regardless- might as well make it as ugly as possible by running today too. Ha!)
As we were running yesterday I was joking about how the 10K today was really going to be a nightmare. Nalani asked if I would truly be disappointed with a slow 10K given my recent calf injury combined with how hard I had just pushed while riding... an interesting question, really. But that's the thing. You can have all the most valid excuses in the world but that still doesn't make it ok (in my mind) to run a slow 10K, you know? And I know I've said this before, even if your excuses are real, I still hate them.
Regardless of the fact that my legs burned like mad every time I walked up a flight of stairs, I resigned myself to running this morning and drove down to the race start with two of my neighbors who were also running. It's the only all women's running race of the year so something like 2000 women show up and it's a great atmosphere down there. I jogged a little to warm up, chatted with some friends before the start, and then just ignored the way my legs felt and ran after they signaled us to GO. Anyway, the short of it is that I didn't have such a terrible race today. It probably helped that my expectations were very low- but I surprised myself in my ability to run a steady pace that was faster than my 'best case scenario' pace I'd decided on before the race. In fact, while this was not the fastest 10K I have ever run, it may have been the smartest and the most evenly paced. In fact, I ran the second half 10 seconds faster than the first half (maybe a first for me?), and all my miles were very steady and evenly split. In the end I was only just over a minute slower than last year. And while I clearly had no speed and could not pick up the pace, I did feel like I might have been able to sustain it for a while longer. So I'm pretty happy knowing that my running isn't quite as far behind as I thought it was.
The best part of the race was going down with my two awesome neighbors. Erica pushed Nico in the jogger while Christina ran alongside her, completing her very first running race ever! Hanging out with new runners who are just getting bitten by the bug is super cool. Christina wasn't even sure she could run 6 miles in a row, but she did it today and was so proud of herself at the end. Awesome.
Anyway, currently my legs feel exactly how you think they would feel after a weekend like that, and an ice bath is not going to cure them overnight. I'm looking forward to a couple of easy to days to let my body come back from that effort this weekend. Phew!