We traveled to Kentucky for Christmas. I managed to get two runs in, but the hills were something I am simply not accustomed to. And I was still a bit ginger on my knee. I did a 4.5 mile run and a 5K while there. I was feeling a bit better with the knee, but surely not up to my standards. I suppose I was just pleased that I got two runs in. So, we travel back Thursday night and arrive back at home around 7am on Friday morning. It was a busy day, but we stayed at home for the most part.
Saturday morning, I wake up at 6am. I did manage to get to bed around 9pm the night before. I thought that would be sufficient, but I was still quite tired at 6am....definitely felt as if I could have slept another 3-4 hours! I have my shakeology (haven't had it in a week and my stomach was all messed up while I was out of town), so I was glad to have it back as part of my routine. Donned my running apparel and off I travel to Palmetto.
The race was at Sneed Island Preserve. Even though its a mere 4 miles (as the bird flies) from my house, I have never been near the area. It is in Palmetto...enough said. :) While I admit there are some nice areas of Palmetto, some of them are downright pitiful. There really is no reason to go over there, so we generally do not...except to get to St. Pete. I cross over the green bridge (over Manatee River) and head west. Parking is in a large open grassy area, quite suitable for today's crowd. I arrive around 7:15.
I actually volunteered to help work the registration booth. So, I'm busy for the next 1+ hours handing out shirts, bibs, bags filled with goodies. Before you know it, its 8:40. I run my stuff to the car, and then make the 1/2 mile walk to the starting line. There is no way the preserve (or any that I know of) can handle the parking requirements, so the trek is necessary. That being said, it was perfect for warming up for a run.
At this point, I don't know what I'm feeling. I know I felt unprepared. The runs in Kentucky (while much harder than the race this morning) left me feeiling anxious. If I couldn't even run 3 miles in Kentucky hills without stopping, how could I run here today? I know that wasn't accurate (if you saw the hills, you would understand), and yet I couldn't shake this. The last 5-mile run I did was Thanksgiving! My knee sidelined me for quite a few weeks, and even though I had been running for the last 2 weeks, my groove simply wasn't there. I had the expectation of a longer run than the Thanksgiving run, but wasn't sure how off I would be.
So, I am one of the last to cross the starting line. The shotgun was actually heard well before I saw the starting line. Note to self: next time I volunteer, definitely leave the booth 30 minutes before the race starts. I wasn't too stressed though, since this was a chip-timed start.
The first mile or so, I was passing all of the walkers. Remember, I was one of the last to start! After 1.5-2 miles, I had to walk a tad. I did this ever so often throughout the race. My drive wasn't there and I wasn't sure why. The course was great though. The markings were right on. The pacing was great. At each mile marker, someone was telling you the time. The water stops were at 3ish and 4ish miles, which was fine for this length. All in all, the race was well-equipped. But, something was still off for me.
About the 3.5 mile marker, I asked myself "Self, am I not doing well because of physical or mental reasons?" I think I was just assuming that the lax attitude I was taking was all a result of my knee and the fact that I wasn't physically ready for the challenge. But, my answer surprised me. My leg was fine. My breathing was ok. My determination and mindset were not ok. It was all mental at that point. For the rest of the run, I actually ran the whole way. Now that I knew that my issue was me and not my body parts, I had no problem pushing myself. Final time 56:46 minutes. An entire 6 minutes off of my last 5-miler. Pitiful, right?
Now, I don't mean to be too harsh on myself. Afterall, we did drive 12 hours (I drove about 7.5 hours of those) throughout the night and had no rest other than that just 24 hours prior to this race. So, while I know my mind wasn't ready for this effort, I have to think that some of it was me simply being tired.
Its interesting what you learn from yourself when you race. Some of the races are quite inspiring. Some of quite humanizing. This was definitely the latter.