Happy St Patrick’s Day (a little early I guess!)

Tis the time of year for green beer and leprechauns!

That means it is back to Tanners in Kimberly for the St. Pat’s Run!  2 years ago, my running partner Matt and I did this run in single digit temperatures and last year we missed it as we were all in Arizona for spring training and ran the Kiss Me I’m Irish 5k/17k in Phoenix.  This year it was back to WI temperatures but apparently mother nature decided to make a deal with us.  Although it may not have been the mid 60’s we ran in last year, it was not the freezing cold from 2 years ago!  mid 40’s was perfect in my book!

I actually did not sign up for this race until yesterday morning.  I think this was the first time that I ever signed up at the last minute for a race!  I had 8 miles on the training calendar anyway so I decided to go with Matt and make it a 10 mile morning.  What was I thinking?!?!  This was going to be my first run of more than 6.4 miles since September of last year!  But I also was going to use this run to see where I really am with training, to determine which distance I would tackle for the Dick Lytie Spring Classic at the end of the month.

I will be honest, this morning when I woke up, I was not feeling it!  For some reason I was more anxious/nervous about this run than I have been for any, that I can remember, in a long time.  Why, not really sure.  I was hitting the course today with my long time running partner that I have not actually been able to run with since last summer, the weather was awesome and the sun was shining.  I had a feeling it was going to be a very mentally challenging race for me today, as well as physical.

For this run, the 10 mile course runs with the 5k up until almost the 3 mile marker and then splits and heads out to the CE Trail.  My biggest obstacle on courses like this is that I automatically find myself trying to keep pace with the 5k racers… and end up going to fast at first, and then end up running out of fuel in the tank too soon. I fell into a comfortable but faster than normal past over these few miles, but I knew that was going to happen.  Running with the 5k runners, as well as trying to keep up with Matt’s long legs does that to me every time!   I figure if I hit those miles a little faster and have to slow down a little, I can still maintain and overall nigher average pace in the end!  When we hit the 5k/10 mile split, I had just averaged a 10:35 pace.  Very respectable in my book, knowing that I had another 7 miles to go.

 Matt ended up a little further ahead of me in those first few miles, but Now that the crowd had thinned out significantly, Matt slowed up just enough so that I could catch up.  We were ready for the second part of this adventure and we were able to fall into pace with each other. I knew that I was still keeping roughly the same pace, but was not sure how long that was going to happen.

This course runs along the trail in a very quiet area of town.  Even though it follows along one of the major highways through town, it’s still fairly peaceful  to run.  One of the things that we forgot about tho was now many hills we had to go up and down along the trail!  At each point that the cross streets ran under the highway, we had to go down the hill to be able to cross the road… which meant that we had to go back uphill once we crossed the street!  I looked at those hills as an opportunity to push myself!  There was not going to be any walking up these hills today!  I hit each one with a purpose and didn’t slow down until I reached the top.

I also made a point never to think of this race as how many more miles I had left to run.  I tackled each mile as I came to it, only worrying about the 1 that I was running.  Once we got to the point where we headed off the trail and into a residential area (around mile 6) I could feel the miles getting tougher.  I, however, was not going to let that stop me.  I was still keeping a sub 11min/mile pace!  In fact at that point, by slowest mile was 10:49!  Just as I started to feel myself slowing down, I passed 2 friends along the course.  They were coming back out of the residential area, heading back onto the trail.  Just seeing them and hearing their encouragement, gave me that extra boost to keep pushing along.

Matt and I curved our way through the residential area and before long were back out of the trail.  This also mean that we were down to just over 2 miles to go!  The nice part of the return trip on the trail is that it is slightly more downhill than up.  No, it’s not all downhill but it seemed like the up hills were longer on the way out.  Then again, maybe it was just the mental game we were playing to keep ourselves going!

It was also at about this point that I could really start to feel it in my legs.  They felt like they had lead weights on them!  Legs don’t fail me now!   In the end, our pace in those last few miles did slow a little but in the end our slowest mile was still at a 11:06 pace.

We crossed the finish line with a time of 1:46:48!  Average pace: 10:41!  This ended up being my fastest average pace for any race over 6 miles!  I never thought I would have been able to keep up that pace for that many miles, but we did it!

In the end, I am so glad that my husband and Matt helped to convince me to just go and do this race!  Mentally, I needed it!  Plus it was awesome to get back out and run with Matt again.  Running with him challenges me on so many levels!  He has been able to keep up on his miles over the last few months, where as I have had trouble getting the miles in.  Keeping up with his long legs is the other.  Have you ever tried running, and keeping up with someone that is nearly a foot taller than you?  Try it sometimes!  It will definitely push you to run faster, just to keep up!

What’s next?  Well, 1st,  after this race, I decided that I am going to sign up for the Dick Lytie Half Marathon in 2 weeks (EEK!) and I will not let those hills scare me.  2nd – I can’t wait to run Indy in May with Matt.  Our Goal for Indy 500 Mini Marathon?  Finish in under 2:30:00!! (I’ve only done that once before!)

Here’s to the start of an awesome 2015 and all the miles to come!

What’s your current goal for the year and when will you accomplish it?

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