Lately it seems I only race when it rains. I know that’s not entirely true, there was that one race back in August when it didn’t, but I don’t actually do all that many races so when three of the last four are in the pouring rain it starts to feel like I only race when it rains. Mostly, I don’t mind a good rainy run. When it’s also a cold run, like it was for the Cleveland half, I start to mind a little more.
Two weeks ago I ran the U.S. Only Detroit half marathon (as opposed to the international half matathon that crosses over into Canada) and this past weekend I ran a small 10k put on by my kids’school’s athletic boosters. Other than the rain these two races could not have been more different.
The half was in Detroit and was big. A few thousand people ran. I’m not all the familiar with downtown Detroit so I left home early to find parking, check my gear, & get to the start line. The 10k was at a local metropolitan where a bunch of the midle and high school cross country meets are. In fact, the first meet I coached this season was at this same metropark. AND then three more after that. Plus I’ve run the 5k course there once or twice. And, in contrast to the Detroit race, it was a small race. Maybe 20 people ran the 10k. I heard there were more signed up but apparently the weather was a deterent.
One of the biggest difference’s between these two races was the atmosphere. I went to the half alone so even with the crowds it was just me and my run. There was a time that going to big race in an unfamiliar place would intimidate and overwhelm me but I really enjoyed the experience. Taking in the sights and sounds, interacting with fellow runners, it was out of my comfort zone but actually fun. At the 10k I knew a lot of people there. Some of the middle school runners I coached were running a race, the high school runners were there running or working the event, parents, the other coach, the schools athletic director, and a couple of my kids were there watching and cheering me on. It could not have been more different than the Detroit experience…but you know what? That was really fun too!
In Detroit I didn’t have my best race. The first 9 to 9.75 miles were great. I felt good and was running (relatively) fast. Four miles in I was right behind the 2 hour pacer. I was super excited. “Maybe, just maybe, I’ll PR” I thought as I chugged away the miles in the rain which was alternating between a drizzle and steady pouring. We ran around Belle Isle, which was so cool, and I was still passing people. My pace was still close to the 9:30/mile goal I had set for myself. I was soaked to the bone but at least it wasn’t cold.
After recrossing the Belle Isle bridge, the course winds around by the river front. Somewhere in there right around mile ten I started to feel the fluid moving in my lungs, a subtle but persistent phlegm rattling around as I was breathing in and out. It was driving me crazy. I stopped and walked to try and cough the crap up but it wasn’t going anywhere. It started to feel like I wasn’t either. After that picking my legs up and putting them back down again over and over got much more difficult to do. I tried to rally myself and stay with the 2:10 pacer but there was a small hill in the 11th mile and I just couldn’t .
I did finish the race running but just barely. It was my worst half marathon time yet at 2:12:17…five minutes slower than I ran in Cleveland. I wasn’t really disappointed though. Being sick a few weeks before the race took its toll. I got out of it what I put in. That’s how it works and I ed okay with that.
During the two weeks between the half and the 10k I only ran twice. I took the week after the race easy on purpose, the other week just ended up being busy enough that I couldn’t get regular runs in. I wasn’t too worried about it, I’m conditioned enough to run a 10k without putting in extra training effort and that’s pretty damn cool. The only thing that gave me hesitation was knowing that people would be watching me. As in specifically paying attention to my running. My goal was to not embarrass myself .
I still don’t know what my time for the 10k was but I’m confident I successfully reached my goal. I ran the whole course, pushed myself, and even finished with a kick. I was the 3rd female finisher too which came with a medal And a gift card. My two kids who ran got overall and age group placings in their races too which made it extra fun.
I’m not sure what my next race will be but I’m really hoping it’s not raining…especially since it’ll be in November or even December by then. Rainy race days are okay, cold and rainy a little less so.
P.S.-The results were finally posted and I did get a 10K PR with a time of 57:03. That’s over a minute faster than my last year’s best.