Hermes 10 Miler
Woke up early for the Hermes 10 miler race and drove downtown Cleveland. As I drove downtown the temperature fluctuated between 48-50 with periodic rain spells. After picking up my packet I took off my coat and hoped I could stay warm enough. About 35 minutes before the race I headed out for a 20 minute warm up and took in some of the nice scenery of Cleveland such as Jacobs Field and the Q. On my warm-up I managed to work up a decent sweat but I noticed that the wind was a little strong and my arms and hands were sort of cold. Oh well, too late now! I was getting cold quick and right before the race started, the rain drops started to fall. Great timing!
Anyway, with the bell we were off. I fell in behind some of the women who I knew I was not going to try to keep up with and headed in a loop around the town. I felt OK this mile, just getting warmed up, Mile One 6:38. "Hmmm, this may be a little fast for a 10 mile pace, should slow down." Mile two included a long bridge out towards the West Side Market with a slight uphil grade 7:18. Things sort of were progressing along keeping close to a 7 min mile pace for miles 3 & 4. Mile 5 we were coming back into Cleveland and I looked down at my watch to see that instead of my split button I had hit stop and I was bothered by this. I tried to convince myself that I was not going to let it bother me I was just going to not worry about the watch the rest of the race and I did.
We headed out past Cleveland Browns stadium down to Marginal Rd. I was getting passed by runners so I figured I was slowing a bit. Every woman that passed me troubled me a bit but I just let them go as it seemed like there was still a lot of road ahead. My hands and arms kept going numb and I would smack them against my legs to try to keep feeling in them. As I approached the turnaround, it was good to see all the other racers going back. The two leading females were on each others feet and went on to win 9 seconds apart with a 6:28 and 6:29 pace for the 10 miler. WOW!!! As I hit the turnaround the wind really made its presence known and I could feel myself tiring as I tried to save some energy for the hill coming into town. Finally the hill came and I shortened my stride and made my way up. As I climbed, I could tell my heart rate was spiking and my breathing was labored, but after that I knew it would be pretty flat...thank goodness.
I did my best to pick it up the last mile and managed to pass a few people and had some left for a strong finish. I ran across the line, grabbed my medal and then walked for awhile trying to catch my breathe. I finished in 1:13:45 for a 7:23 pace. I was not thrilled with my performance as I was hoping to stay closer to a 7:00 pace, but I was not going to beat myself up over it as it was still a decent improvement over last year when I ran a 1:17 at a 7:44 pace. So I did a short cooldown run to my car and grabbed a change of clothes and warmed up at the House of Blues watching a decent cover band, with a couple of beers, conversation with friends and grabbing my second place age group award.
Hinckley Buzzard Duathlon
Sunday, after packing up a bunch more stuff than I usually have to bring to my running races, I drove out to hilly Hinckley. It was a beautiful morning and it brought out so many participants that even though I was there early, I had to park at the overflow lot. I grabbed my stuff and threw it over my back and hopped on my bike to pedal to the transition site. Luckily I was able to find a spot open on a rack end so I had plenty of room. Bonus!! There were several CTC and Team ER people so it was nice to catch up with them over the course of the morning. I decided to do a short warm-up with a few laps around the parking lot. My legs were not feeling fresh at all, but that was not a surprise.
We lined up for the race start and within minutes we were off straight up the first decent-sized hill. What a tough start!! Another Team ER lady(who took 1st--good for her!!) was taking the lead and I was content to let her go. I was happy to see AW close to me and we exchanged a few comments as we made our way up and down the hills. Dang, I felt tired. I came around to the transition in around 20 minutes and quickly I was off on my bike...second time outside this year!
Oh and there was that darn hill again and my legs were tired. However somewhere shortly into the bike portion started enjoying myself. I was just having so much fun being back outside on the bike. "Wow, I have missed riding outside and this is such a beautiful morning that I think I could just ride all day." Crap, there goes a chick from Second Sole racing, now I am in third. I figured I bettter quit enjoying myself so much, so I tried to pick it up. It was a 5 loop course and it was crazy the different speeds I was seeing ranging from 12 to 36 all due to the hills!! The cheering section was fantastic and I could tell their encouragement was helping. I came into the bike transition in around 49 minutes. With the mounting of the bikes and a smile to our camera man I was off running up the hill.
Wow, now my legs are really tired. Mental note, time to start practicing bricks after the marathon. I also must have drank too much water mounted in my aerobars on the bike as I can hear it swishing around. I am missing my headphones a bit but I must get used to this for the multisport races. One guy passed me about a mile in and about 1.5 in, I passed a guy who looked like his legs were cramping. I was happy to pass the lap counters as I made my way back past the last two of the climbs and was just in finish mode. A guy running by shouted encouragement and "swing those arms" and I did and it helped. I suppose my form had gotten a little rigid at this point. As I descended down hill there was no one close enough that I could catch and with a look back, no one who would catch me, so I took it easy into the finish with a modest push at the end. I crossed the line feeling pretty good surprisingly in around 23ish for the last 3 and transition.
Even though I thought I could have worked a little harder on the bike and could have done better with rested legs, I was pleased with taking 3rd place overall female with a time of 1:33:13. I was even more excited when I looked up my time from last year to see the improvement over my time of 1:42:16. Holy cow, over 9 minutes!! Sweet!
After the race I caught up my some fellow Team ER members and CTC people who had some impressive performances. One thing I talked about was that my schedule has been a little too busy and I was planning to cut back on my races a bit. 4 races the last 2 weekends has been a bit much and it makes it hard to get in some of my long running training and bike rides that I really enjoy. The next thing I know I heard my number called as they were giving out prizes. I trotted up there and looked at the RD (as I had not been paying much attention as I was talking). "What did I win," I asked. He responded with a season pass to their events. AWESOME, a great prize I can use!!! Now I may just have to reshuffle my schedule a bit to fit in some more NCN races...while I attempt to cut back a bit as I said 10 minutes earlier!!