Okay, so Central Texas isn’t the ice planet of Hoth, but we’re getting the southern end of that arctic air causing blizzards and ridiculous negative temperatures up north. This morning it was 35 with a wind chill of 25 when we got to the high school for the Rogue Distance Festival. For us Texans, it might as well be the North Pole–we don’t get this kind of cold very often. We were fortunate that the cafeteria was open before the race, but as we walked out for the 10K start, we looked at each other like, “What the hell were we thinking?”
So yeah, a pre-race Tauntaun (minus the slicing-open part–that still makes me sad) for body heat, perhaps a windbreak, would have been nice. Or maybe one of these, which requires no actual Tauntaun sacrifice?
I had agonized over my wardrobe choice, mostly because of the 25mph wind. Ugh. In the end, I wore my warm tights, compression socks plus regular socks (my shoes are drafty!), my Nike Pro Combat fleece-lined shirt with a tech shirt over that, plus gloves and a hat. As we waited at the start and the wind gusted around us, I wondered if that was enough.
The other problem I faced this morning? One of the plastic pieces of my headphones snapped in two, held together only by the wires inside. They were fine when I charged them yesterday–and all I did was stick them in my race bag last night. But alas, broken they were. However, since the wires remained intact, I wedged the earpiece under my headband to hold it in place, and it seemed to work as a temporary fix. Phew.
We only waited at the start for a couple of minutes, but even after we started, the situation did not improve right away. The first half-mile–before anyone was really warmed up yet–we ran right into the wind. Ugh.
The first two miles, I felt a little residual soreness in my foot. Nothing sharp, just a little twinge now and then. But after two miles, it completely disappeared. It seems, however, that I traded foot pain for hip flexor pain. I don’t know if the foot thing changed my gait–perhaps I ran more on the ball of my right foot to keep pressure off the outside, and that stressed my left hip flexor? I don’t know. For a 10K it was something I could tolerate; I’m not sure how well I’d deal with that for a longer race though.
I soldiered on. My Race Pace app had calculated the pace I needed to average to PR today (and what would put me on track for 3M in two weeks) so I’d set my Garmin to alert me if my pace fell below that average. The first two miles, I banked a lot of time. The next three miles it alerted me periodically, but I could tell that overall I was staying ahead of it.
The last mile was a little tougher. A couple of times, half-marathoners passed me. Seriously? That’s crazy-fast. And slightly demoralizing. I wasn’t struggling, (and I wasn’t that slow!) but I’d been pushing myself and yet they breezed by me, making it look easy. And then when I turned the last corner, headed for home, a guy with a bike escort passed me. It seems impossible for that guy to be leading the 30K race, yes? But I can think of no other reason why he’d have a bike escort. [Edited: I checked the official results, and while the guy who won the 30K was ridiculously fast, he’s also someone I know on sight, and it wasn’t the guy I saw. So… it’s a mystery!]
The last half-mile headed right into the wind again. A couple of times, gusts were so strong, I felt like a cartoon character running in place. My eyes watered. But I could see the finish, and I accelerated. The announcer called my name, and I hit the timing mat. My Garmin said I ran 6.31 miles, and even with that extra distance, my time was a PR by almost four minutes.
All in all, I feel pretty good about this one. Weather conditions presented a challenge, plus I didn’t know how my foot would hold up over six miles. But I maintained the pace I needed, clocked a new 10K PR, and I feel pretty confident going into 3M on January 19. Bring it!