YuKanRun 10 Mile Race Recap
|July 17, 2011||Posted by Lauren under Running|
Yesterday, I joined Lizzy and Corey for the YuKanRun Race series 10-mile race in Ipswich, MA. Even though Ipswich is a bit of a drive from Providence, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to run a small-town race on the beautiful North Shore with a couple of friends…not when we had plans to go to the beach afterward, anyway!
Okay, it might seem sort of silly, but the truth is that I’ve started and re-started this post about a billion times. I don’t know why, but for some reason I’m having a hard time talking about the race yesterday, and how I felt.
It isn’t because I wasn’t happy that I made the 1.5 hour drive up to Ipswich to get in my long run with a couple of friends. Or because I wasn’t proud of my overall finish and excited when I got to stand on the podium for an Age Group win (first time I’ve ever gotten to do that!).
Corey and I both rocking the running gear that our last wins got us!
And it wasn’t because I didn’t end up having a great day with Corey and Lizzy, and didn’t think the reward of spending time at beautiful Crane’s Beach was worth the pain of an hour and a half of running.
No, the reason why I’m having a hard time writing the post is because the truth is that I was a bit disappointed in myself yesterday. It may sound crazy, since on the surface it appears like the run went really well, but when it came down to it, I didn’t actually achieve the one goal I went into the race with: to have fun and not stress about time.
But even though I may have finished the race feeling a little down, fortunately a few minutes on this beautiful sandy shore was all I needed to sweep the negative thoughts away.
And since I’ve now had time to reflect on the race and move on, I figured that I’d share with you the top 10 lessons the Ipswich 10 Mile race drove home for me.
1.) Small town races can be really fun and much cheaper than the large, popular races, but you do miss out on important amenities.
- Lack of crowd support
- Not enough porta-potties before the race
- Fewer aid stations
- No chip timing
2.) The thought of missing the start of a race may seem stressful, but when there’s no pressure on the end-result, it actually might not be as awful as you would expect.
There were only 2 porta-potties at the start of this race (see above). And even though there weren’t a lot of runners competing, runners aren’t always in-and-out in a jiffy when they’re nervous. I got in line a full 25 minutes before the race start, and waited, and waited…and waited. Because I had driven so long to get to the race, there was no way I could start running 10 miles without making this quick pit-stop first. So I just accepted it. Luckily, Corey graciously offered to run my things back to the car for me while I was in line, but despite that, the two of us still missed the start. There’s nothing quite like seeing a bunch of runners take off on you while you’re jogging to the starting line.
But, surprisingly enough, it didn’t really phase me. I wasn’t supposed to be racing anyway. So we just laughed about it and ran after everyone, totally relaxed.
3.) However -starting at the back might actually be worse for my pacing than starting up near the front.
Since we started off so far behind everyone, Corey and I just ran without really paying any attention to pace. I figured it was a good thing – not heading out with the leaders meant I wouldn’t feel any pressure to stick with them. Plus, picking off runners was kind of fun, so we fell into a groove, just chatting for most of the first mile. Towards the end, Corey looked down at her watch and realized we were running faster than she had wanted to go. Wisely, she fell back a little bit while my dumb self told her I felt good and was going to keep running. When we reached the first turnaround and I saw that I was the 4th woman despite starting so far back, that stupid little competitive voice I was trying to squash started singing in my head, despite my original intentions. So I figured I’d just kept running….and see what happened.
4.) The Garmin can be your best ally, but also your worst enemy.
I decided at the beginning of the race that I wasn’t really going to pay attention to my splits and just run because I felt good. As I’m sure you can guess, this ended up being a mistake. The energy of the race combined with starting at the back made me head out way too fast. And then, when I started falling apart after the halfway point, looking at my pace drop so much only served to drive home the negative thoughts, and made it even harder to enjoy the race.
5.) A person cannot expect to be able to maintain their goal race pace without putting in the work.
Yes, I know this should be obvious. But I have this pace in my head that I think I should be able to run, and it’s so easy for me to comfortably fall into it, regardless of whether or not it’s the smart thing to do. However, ever since the Foxboro 5K, I’ve been taking it pretty easy on the running front. I haven’t raced, I’ve run less miles overall, and have done very little speedwork. So even though a 7:15/7:20 mile was pretty attainable a few months ago, I was not in that sort of shape yesterday. If I had been smart, I would have adjusted what I was doing because of that. But even experienced runners can make rookie mistakes sometimes.
6.) You should always readjust your expectations when you’re running in the heat.
Most of the race yesterday was in direct sunlight, and the temperature was in the 80s. Combined with the limited aid stations (there were only two!), it made the race a lot harder than it would have been if it were 50 degrees and cloudy. So just picture me stubbornly trucking along at a pace much too fast for my current conditions to maintain, with the sun beating down on me. I’m sure you can guess how that story ends.
7.) Whenever I’m racing, my default is to maintain a pace that is comfortably uncomfortable.
It doesn’t matter if I’m racing to train or racing to PR, when the gun goes off, I immediately fall into a pace that is comfortably uncomfortable. That is, I don’t feel completely relaxed, but I also don’t feel like I’m on the verge of dying. Even when things start falling apart during a race, I have a hard time slipping out of that mode. Yes, my pace was slipping, but since I was in a race (even though I wasn’t racing), I just couldn’t slip into a jog. Might sound silly, but there’s just something ingrained in me after years of racing that prevents it. (Yes, I know I’m not doing myself any favors by stubbornly pushing on sometimes.)
8.) When races aren’t going as planned, everything seems worse in the moment than it really is.
Yesterday I felt like I crawled through the second half of the race. I felt so tired and awful that I could swear my shuffled stride was moving no faster than a walk. But looking back over my splits – things weren’t really that bad. Yes, I didn’t run smart, but I didn’t really fall apart as completely as I had thought. The thing is, when your emotions are already heightened, and you’re already feeling exhausted, it’s easy to start being dramatic about it in your own head.
9.) When you feel like you have nothing more to give, you can always dig deep and find just a little bit more.
The last 3 miles of the race yesterday seemed to stretch on forever. My mind agonized over the distance I had left, and all I was thinking about was stopping to walk. Which doesn’t usually happen. I know many people find the run/walk method helpful, but I have never been able to successfully walk through a race (probably because I don’t actually use the method correctly, but that’s another story…). Once I start walking, all motivation to finish goes out the window. I still don’t really know why I felt so low yesterday, but I do know that I haven’t felt that bad during the race since the Cape Cod Marathon last October.
But in my lowest moment, when I wasn’t sure I could push for a minute longer, I changed the way I was thinking, employed every mental strategy to get through sucky runs that I had at my disposal, and dug deep. I broke the run down into small little pieces, and made it all the way to the finish line.
10.) Yes, running sucks sometimes, but every single run you push through makes you stronger.
I’m not going to lie, having two really tough long runs in a row is a bit hard on the psyche. And it can be hard to get past the fact that struggling through a 10 mile run can leave you with a lot of doubts about your ability to get through 26.2. But I’ve done it before. I know that training in the summer can be really tough. I know the heat makes runs feel harder, and I know that I have a lot of time before I toe the line in October. Every time I push through a tough run, I become stronger physically and mentally. And ultimately, it’ll give me the tools I need to run a successful marathon.
Even though things didn’t go exactly as planned, I am really happy I got to participate in yesterday’s YuKanRun race. And any race that leaves you with a medal at the end is ultimately a success…especially when you least expect it!
Time: 1:15:39 Average Pace: 7:34/mile Place: 1/29 females
- 7:52 (i.e. where Lauren starts to fall apart)
Thanks for the pictures Lizzy!