This year marks the 2nd year that I’ve done the San Diego Run for the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning. The start line is walking distance from our apartment and the course runs through our downtown neighborhood. It’s a lot of fun to run the empty streets of Downtown San Diego!
Last year, we did the 5k and while I ran at a rather sluggish pace (so, I might have had a glass or two of wine the night before!), I took 1st in my age group.
This year, Steven convinced me to do the 10k. It made sense as it was a good training run at race pace while we prepare for the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January.
Leading up to the race, I wasn’t feeling very confident. In recent years, I’ve pulled back on the amount of running I do regularly, due to some nagging injuries on my good side (aka the Right Side). I still run a few times a week but I spend a lot of my training hours in indoor cycling classes at RUSH CYCLE and find that it keeps me in pretty good shape for running and other endurance events. But for some reason, I was not sure if my training had prepared me for a 10k.
I was a little nervous on race morning but as I threw on my favorite CAF running hat, I knew that even if I didn’t run fast, I’d finish and I’d be running, which was already a win!
I always hate the beginning of a sizable race that doesn’t have corrals as you try to bob and weave around dogs, strollers, and children. Once we got past that, I started feeling my rhythm. Mile 1 was around an 8 minute mile pace. I had an internal debate. My original goal was to enjoy the race and finish each mile under a 9 minute pace. But here I was, feeling strong. Did I want to push myself?
It was then that I remembered my indoor cycling instructor, Sheri, and her motivating words in the past few classes- have the courage to challenge yourself, get outside of your comfort zone, and it is okay to fail. And then, I went for it. With Sheri’s words carrying me, I thought, “Hey, let’s race hard and see how things go!”
One of my favorite things to do while racing is to challenge myself to a little race with the person in front of me and each time you pass a person, race the next person. I think of these as mini-goals. They help me a ton and helped during this race. I also tend to find myself “friends” on the course, meaning other runners who have a similar pace who I can push myself to hang with as fatigue sets in. I found myself running with 2 males for a majority of Miles 2 through 5.
At Mile 5, I knew things were going well and I still felt strong. I pushed myself a little further and lost them (I’d later see them after the race and they’d mention how I dropped them at a water stop, ha!). As I rounded Mile 6, I threw myself toward the finish line. I finished with an average mile pace of 7:44 and in 49:38. A PR! And an accomplishment. You see, I haven’t run sub-8 minute miles in a few years. To top it off, I felt great!
After the race, several people approached me to say that I had inspired them to run strong so I was happy that I helped the others around me to push themselves.
So, my friends, I’ve noticed a pattern. I have some of my best races when I feel least prepared but have been training. I’m not sure how this helps me but maybe that nervous energy is a big motivator on the course.