Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gave it all I had - Autumn Classic Race Report

This morning I did the Playmaker’s Autumn Classic 8k in Haslett, MI. I don’t know why I decided to do this one, except that I was curious and the $20 race fee included a long-sleeved tech tee. I’m such a tech-tee slut. Two weeks ago I did a 5-mile race in 45:36; my previous 8k PR was 46:15 set in May. I don’t really differentiate between the 2 distances since 0.02 doesn’t seem statistically significant (ha!) but whatever. Last week all of my runs were fast and while they didn’t feel hard, I knew that wasn’t a good idea. This past week my legs have been totally dead – tired biking to school, tired running, and then I played a soccer game Thursday night and have seriously been sore since then. My diet has also been poor, so really I was not set up to have a good performance.

The alarm went off at 6 AM, and I had a dream about it – I dreamed that I had done this race last year, and that when I arrived the transition area (??) had been a total disaster. In my dream, I had figured out that if I let the alarm buzz a certain number of times before hitting snooze, and then hit snooze a certain number of times, the transition would be all set up by the time I arrived at the race. Umm…right. Finally rolled out of bed at 6:45, once my dream told me it was fine to get up, and ate some breakfast. My stomach was angry with me last night – crampy and just icky – and wasn’t any better this morning. I had some cheerios and coffee and tried to ignore it. We arrived at the race site a few minutes after 8 and I picked up my packet, then we sort of wandered and stood around until the start. Before the start of the 8k there was a kids sprint and a kids half mile race – they were so much fun to watch. My personal favorite was the little girl who finished last in the half mile – she looked to be maybe 4, and held onto the hem of dad’s shirt the whole way in – so cute. Then, we lined up for the 8k.

Standing in line waiting for the start, someone said my name. It turned out to be the guy who bought my Cannondale back in August and his girlfriend. Made small talk with them for a minute or two, and then we were off.

My goals for this race were to run negative splits, push myself, and have fun. The gun went off, and I went out way too fast. The first little bit until we got out of the park was downhill and I thought I would settle into the pace, so I didn’t worry about it too much. I didn’t settle down, though. The race was almost entirely on roads and sidewalks, and went around Lake Lansing. It’s probably a really pretty course on a nice day, and while it was pretty today, it was all gray and foggy out so you couldn’t quite see all the way across the lake. A local high school XC team volunteered out on the course – they were great with encouragement but I almost smacked one when I was at maybe 3.25 miles and he told me I was almost there. Throughout most of the race I yo-yo’d with another woman. She was running faster than me, but would stop and walk for a few seconds every minute or two and I’d pass her, then she’d pass me again right before her next walk break. With about half a mile to go I caught her again just as she started running, and I suggested that we run in together. About 30 seconds later she stopped to walk again but I didn’t want to stop – I had figured out I could go under 45 minutes. The finish was actually up hill on a dirt (mud) road. Going up the hill I caught the girl in the red jacket. About 15 yds from the finish, I heard her sprinting up behind me – I picked it up, but didn’t have enough left and couldn’t stay ahead of her. It’s ok, though, she helped me shave a few more seconds off my time.

Mile 1: 8:36 (not looking good for negative splits)
Mile 2: 8:38 (ok, slowed down a little)
Mile 3: 9:07 (and there went the negative splits goal)
Mile 4: 9:17 (oof)
Mile .98: 9:02
Watch time: 44:42 (9:00 pace). It was chip timed, but I haven’t looked up the official results yet.

To tell the truth I thought I had made it under a 9mpm pace and was a little bummed to see it was exactly 9, but overall I’m pleased with my performance anyway. Like I said, it was all I had. I’m going to hurt tomorrow, for sure. I met two of my goals: really pushed myself, and had fun. I’ll keep working on the negative splits thing. Going back and reading this, I think the tone of my report is pretty down – it isn’t meant to be. This race was a lot harder for me than any I’ve done before (with the exception of TA ’06). It hurt, but that means I pushed myself and I’m proud of that.

The PR streak remains, but, it’s pretty clear won’t be another until I start training better. So, I’m taking a break from racing – anyone sees me talking about a race before Thanksgiving at the earliest, please remind me of this.

Thanks for reading.


LZ said...

Congrats on another PR. Just found your blog from facebook. :) I read another blog from a girl up around Lansing who also raced the 8K (same age group). You can check her out at

Hope you are enjoying Michigan! I don't know if you are an MSU fan yet, but they did great yesterday against ND! The MSU vs UM game could actually be awesome this year!!!

Emily said...

Hey, thanks, I'll check that blog!

I enjoyed the game yesterday. A friend and I actually were on campus doing work and went out to see the band perform and march to the stadium. I'll be a MSU fan til they play PSU ;)