Run for the Hill of It 5 miler (34:09)

On Saturday I ran my first race post injury. It was no PR, and it was incredibly hot and humid, but it was my first race back in 10 weeks. As I type this out two days later, I feel the same amount of residual pain as if I’m running normally.  I’m still dealing with minor aches but I’ve been carefully monitoring my foot and so far so good.

To the race recap:
I didn’t have plans to run the race until a few day before.  I knew the race existed, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to race.  If I woke up and didn’t feel good, I wouldn’t run.  I made the executive decision on Friday that I would probably run.  When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was a bundle of nerves.  I hadn’t raced in over ten weeks and had no idea how the race would go. I figured if anything hurt, I would just stop. It was only a big deal if I made it a big deal. With that, I headed to Wissahickon park with just my husband and good friend J, knowing my Saturday morning plans.  Race day was extremely hot and humid. I warmed up three miles and sweat through my clothing.

The race went off right at 8:30.  The first mile was exhausting and honestly it was the hardest mile I’ve run in a while.  My legs were tired; it was hot, and I was mentally frustrated.  Why do I feel so bad?  Why is it so hot? Why are all of these people so darn fast? WTF am I even doing here? I questioned everything in the first minute of the race. I ran with a pack, and we hit the first mile in 6:30.  I was pleasantly surprised, but I knew I couldn’t hold that pace. I didn’t feel that fast but I was heating up quickly.

During the second mile, our pack began to spread out.  I was running alone and as third women overall. I had no goals for placing and my dream goal was to run under 35:00 (7 min pace). My primary goal was to finish injury free and stay smart.  Honestly, that will be my main goal for a while.  I ran a 6:45 mile.

The course was out and back.  I hit the turnaround, grabbed water and went back the opposite direction. My clothing was drenched, it was scorching, and it was hilly.  I was in a dark spot and miserable.  I finished mile 3  at exactly a 7 min pace.  I reevaluated my ankle which felt okay, and I continued.  My mental game was weak, and I felt like I had given up.

I ran the fourth and fifth miles by myself.  To be honest, I struggled through those too.  Mentally I was exhausted, physically exhausted and over it.  I haven’t raced a race that hot in a long time.  Possibly since the RNR Half Marathon.  A woman blew by me around mile 4.  She was running fast, and I knew there was no way I could stay with her.  Another ego blow but I brushed it off.  I ran both miles in 6:52.  When I crossed the finish line, I felt exhausted and tired.  I didn’t feel incredible, and I didn’t have a “Runners High,” I just felt tired.

Run for the Hill of It
Image from Flickr

I did a short cool down and went to my car. I had no idea until I looked at my blog post last year but I ran this year 30 seconds faster this year. I do believe it was hotter than last year.  Past that, I don’t have any complaints, and I’m looking forward to getting out there again.

The most important part was my ankle didn’t hurt during the race.  The race itself was both physically and mentally challenging and I was exhausted.  Not every race can be wonderful or a PR, in fact I don’t expect them too be.

Questions for you:
What’s the hottest race you’ve ever done?
Do you like trail races or road races?