Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Santa Stampede 2013 Race Report

I did this race series last year.  In fact, last year, the 10k was my first race since breaking my heel.  I had been running for maybe 2 months, but never fast and never that far.  So I was excited but apprehensive.  And I was going to be happy with whatever time I finished with.

Fast forward to 2013, which friends have nicknamed "the year of PRs" for me.  And honestly, it has been one PR after another this year.  Really, freaking cool.

I sat down with my race result spreadsheet (yes, I am a nerd) and went through my paces at that distance.  Last year I ran the 10k in 1:04:37 (10:26 pace).  I did a trail 12k in October at a 10:09 pace, and that included hills and uneven footing.  So... if I did this 10k at the 10:09 pace, that would put me around a 1:01:30 (give or take).  Why not round down to sub-60 (9:40 pace) and make it a goal?  I'm pretty sure I've never ran that fast in even a 5k before.  Sure!  No problem!

Temps were in the 20's when we got there at 8:30 AM.  I was smart and wore sweat pants AND ski pants over my running outfit (capris and socks) and I also wore a hoodie and jacket/scarf (over my t-shirt).  I was toasty warm.  Yay!  (related funny: no one recognized me with all my layers)  I saw Will off for the 5k and went inside the lodge to warm up - I found some friends there, so it was nice to hang out with them during the 5k.  After 15 minutes, I went outside to cheer on Will and some other people from my tri club.  While I was waiting, some poor girl (HS cross country?) turned the corner and started puking.  Couldn't even move out of the way.  Her coach or someone finally helped her to the side and to the finish.  I felt her pain, it is uphill to the finish and it hurts.

Once Will finished, I needed to strip down to my run clothes and do a 20 minute warmup.  I always mis-judge the time and never get my full warm up in (sorry Michelle!).  I did get in 15 minutes and included some strides.  I got to the race start with minutes to spare and made a last minute decision to ditch my arm sleeves.  I was pretty cold at the start of my warmup (I think it was low-30 temps by this point?) but by the end I was pretty warm.  I knew that with pushing my pace, I'd only get warmer and I'd end up rolling the sleeves down.  Better to just get rid of them.  And running cold always gives me more motivation to run faster.
sporting my Colfax Ambassador gear and my
festive elf socks
The race plan was to start out semi-conservative for the first mile, keep my pace around 10:00 and HR around 160.  Then start pushing and after 2 miles, ignore my watch and just run fast.

And that's pretty much what I did.  I ran and found a few people I wanted to chase.  I was trying to stay in control for the first mile but I probably did a bad job.  I just wanted to RUN.

Miles 2-4 were basically "lets see how fast I can run but still breathe".  There were two girls (also in elf socks) with their moms and we kept leapfrogging each other.  They eventually got in front of me but were running at my target pace, so I just used them as pacers.  It turns out it was their first 10k and they were shooting for a 11:00 pace.  Oh, and a podium in their age group.  They provided a nice little distraction for me, which was much appreciated it.
after winning 1st and 2nd in their age group
This year they changed the course a bit, and had us do an out and back on a side trail.  Most of the run was in one direction on the Platte trail, which was great.  You had room to move and could (mostly) avoid the patches of packed snow and ice .  But on this side trail, traffic was in both directions, AND there was packed snow on both sides of the trail so you had no where to go.  To make it even more crowded, they put a water aid station (to service both sides of the trail), which was a terrible decision.  You had people walking through the aid station and other people trying to run past, all very crowded with patches of ice/snow and no room to move.  I think we had ~1 or 1.5 miles of this crap.  Not cool.

Once we finally got to the main trail again, we had 2 miles left and I decided it was really go time.  I left my 9-year old pacers and just focused on running and not dying.  The not dying part is hard because the last 2 miles are a gradual uphill and as a bonus, we had a headwind.  Yay!

I don't remember too much about those last two miles except just trying to run fast enough to hit my goal and not die.  With about a mile or so left, I came across one of my friends (who is speedy) and I passed her.  I was expecting her to pick it up and hang on, but she never did.
this is apparently what I look like when I'm dying
Then more running, trying not to die, running, running faster.  Finally I hit the hill up into Hudson Gardens (who was hosting the race) and I knew I only had 0.25 mi left, mostly uphill.  I saw Will in about the same spot I saw him, he asked me to smile and I was borederline-pukey and all I could manage was to shake my hand "no".  I couldn't even shake my head.  ha!  Then up to the finish (don't die had been replaced by don't puke) and I was happy to see the race clock was under 1:00, meaning I had hit my goal.
game face
Right after the line, some volunteers were cutting the timing chip off my shoe and I was having a pretty lively internal debate about puking there on the spot or if I should find a bush to puke in or if I should try and walk it off.  Lucky for everyone, I really hate puking, so I just walked it off.   And used my inhaler about 20 times because I really couldn't breathe.  But yay - PR!

Time: 59:25, 9:35/mile pace
Place: 33/56 age group, 298/509 overall

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