Virginia is For Lovers 14k (56:00)

I love all J&A races.  I have always had a good time running them and will drive back to my home town to them.  It was a nice weekend getaway.  It doesn’t feel like this race was a week ago but due to having so many Lake Effect Stories, I decided to wait to post it.  This week I’ll be playing a lot of catch up on race recaps and life.  It did exist in real life, even with a delayed blog recap!

After getting to my house Friday night, Tim and I relaxed and hung out until Sunday.  This is one of the few times I have actually driven to a race (normally dad drives to all the VA races). Since dad was away on travel I had to navigate to the race myself.  After getting lost by following a crowd of cars (who ended up going to Church not to the race) I made it.  We (Tim and I) got there relatively late so were only able to get in 1.25 miles for a warm up.

Stephanie, Mollie and I at the race start.
Stephanie, Mollie and I at the race start.

I didn’t know how this race would go but did know I would be happy with anything between 6:30-6:50 pace.  Except for a few ice patches, and a little bit of wind, the race conditions were pretty ideal.  I didn’t know what a good time would be with not much racing since the summer and racing an odd distance.  I didn’t know if I should race it like a 10k or a 20k…but eventually settled on going with it like I normally do.  I don’t normally have an exact pace I’m shooting for.

Long story short: The first 3 miles I took out too fast (6:14, 6:14, 6:16) then  I regretted it the last few miles. 

When the race started I was in a pack of about 3 girls.  I passed the first 2 at the one mile mark and had one in front of me for a while.  We went back and forth until mile 3 where she took a lead and never looked back.  I would have loved a win but she was holding a faster pace and opening the gap with each mile.  That is what faster runners do.

Mile one and two were very similar and quiet.  I ran both miles at 6:14 pace.  I tried to stay comfortable.  I thought I was comfortable at the time but looking back I think I took it out a little bit too fast.

Maybe if I hadn't been goobering around I wouldn't have had to power through the rest of the race...maybe...
Maybe if I hadn’t been goobering around I wouldn’t have had to power through the rest of the race…maybe…

When we hit the “hill” (around 2.5) at the amphitheater I knew the woman I was running with had taken the lead for good.  Although we weren’t even 5k into the race my mind thought we were “almost done”…which was terrible.  (No Hollie, you still have 5 miles to go).  Also terrible is running through the amphitheater sober as I have had a few drinks and gone up that ramp a few times.  It’s a different experience.

Around mile 3, I desperately hoped I wasn’t going to die.  It really felt like I set myself up for a rough time and blowing up.

I hit the 5k at 19:36.

Mile 4 I knocked out some side fives with Mollie (Oiselle) and a few others.  It was awesome.  I felt my pace slow down a lot but focused on getting to the 10k. (6:33)

At mile 5 I could tell a few females were starting to catch me.   We also hit some mud due to the rain/sleet/ice from yesterday.  I tried to avoid the cold mush but I definitely got swamped.  Around mile 5 I glanced at my garmin and made the executive goal to try and hit the 10k mark under 40 minutes.  It kept me motivated and focused.

Mile 6 I was just focused on breaking 40 for a 10k…which I did and I was pleased.  I was running the majority of the race by myself but knew I had two female who were gaining on me.  I hate the feeling of knowing people are gaining and you are dying (6:36).

Mile 7 I don’t remember anything but some guy getting really close to me.  I thought it was someone I knew.  We are running down a two lane road there is no need to get within a centimeter of me.  (That’s my number 1 racing pet peeve…I think I gave him the look of a daemon child). I am extremely claustrophobic so people getting in my “racing bubble” when it can be avoided is a big deal for me.  Obviously at the start of the race it’s hard but in the middle of a race it terrifies me.

5 minutes later I’m a different person…

As we approached mile 8 all I could think about was holding second.  I heard them talking behind me and gaining with every stride.  They were closing in the gap.  I knew they were gaining.  I knew I had to give it everything I had or I would probably get fourth overall.  Getting fourth wouldn’t be the end of the world but I really wanted to maintain my place.

After mile 8, it was roughly .7 to the end.  I shut everything out and just focused on getting to the finish line.  I couldn’t tell you any of the scenery we ran by because I was in my own world. 

The race ended inside and once we got in there it went from sunny to dark.  It was like a bad acid trip but I did and maintained about 6 seconds in front.

Post race and we are done.
Post race photo

Long story short: I am happy with this race.  I was expecting around 6:30-6:50 (closer to 6:50) but was happy to be well under that. I was happy that I could really gut out the last mile and maintain whatever place I ended up getting.  My average pace was 6:23 which was far faster than that goal.  Not only that but it’s also 5 seconds per mile faster than my half marathon PR.  It makes me (really hope) that a half marathon PR is possible this spring.

Questions for you:

What odd race distances have you run? 

I guess college 6ks and this 14k is all I have.

How was your Valentine’s Day?