Yesterday morning I ran the Tidewater Striders Distance Series 10 Miler in Chesapeake, VA. I'm so happy I did!
Spring Race Planning
A few days after the Harrisburg Marathon last November, I registered for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, which would occur on March 6. In December, I began plotting out the rest of my spring race schedule. This was no easy task. Ideally I would run a half marathon sometime in late January or early February as a tune-up. And also because I thought I would have the fitness to go sub-1:30.
I searched high and low for a half marathon in that timeframe but the only ones available required getting on an airplane. Greg and I wanted to avoid air travel for the sake of our health but also because it would
My friend Allison had the novel idea of seeking out a ten-miler instead. I love 10-mile races but they are far more rare than half marathons, so I didn't think I'd likely find one. But I did find one. It was pancake flat. Check. It was within driving distance. Check. It was the last weekend in January. Check. I snagged the very last spot and when I went to register Greg, there were none left! He didn't mind though, and was happy to play the role of cheerleader/photographer.
On Tuesday of this week, Myrtle Beach announced that the marathon would be pushed to May. I would definitely not be running a marathon in South Carolina in May due to the heat. This news stressed me out because I had just logged three 70+ mile weeks in a row and I wanted to run a marathon on March 6. Now it was back to the drawing board for the marathon. Time for more research! But, on the plus side, it made me more motivated than ever to race the 10-miler because I knew that race was a sure thing.
OR WAS IT!? On Thursday, the Chesapeake area got a few inches of snow. And the race was held on a paved trail that does not get treated or plowed. The last thing I wanted was to try and race on a course with icy patches everywhere. But how would I know? The temperature wouldn't get above 36 in that area, and I wasn't sure how much sun exposure the course got. I posted a message to the Tidewater Striders Club Facebook page asking if any of the locals planned to run on that trail on Friday morning. Thankfully somebody said that they were going to scope it out. I should note that icy patches would be a deal-breaker for me whereas some people would be okay with dodging them. I am very timid when it comes to slippery surfaces so I would not be able to race confidently if I knew I might slip.
I canceled our hotel room to avoid a cancellation fee. (Chesapeake is a 4-hour drive south, so a hotel was required). I figured if the race was on, I could always re-book it. I went to bed Thursday night not knowing if I would actually run the 10-miler. Friday morning arrived and I still had not packed or laid out any of my race things. This was a first for me! Finally, at around 10:00, I heard back from Facebook that the trail was all clear and no black ice.
I packed for the race and Greg and I left the house two hours later.
Nutrition and Fueling
If you read my Harrisburg Marathon report, you will know that I had major digestive issues which prevented me from running hard. I need to figure out a fueling strategy before my next marathon. Here is what I ate on Friday:
- Breakfast: A large bowl of grits
- Lunch: Leftover chicken stir fry from the night before, included rice and veggies
- Snack: On the drive down, peanut-butter filled pretzels and some sweet tarts
- Dinner: Bread. Pasta with Pomodoro sauce and chicken
- I drank approximately 50-60 ounces of water. No additional electrolytes
- 3 hours before the race: 2/3 of the Maurten Drink Mix 160 + and English muffin with almond butter
- 30 minutes before the race: Almost all the rest of the Maurten Drink mix
- 5 minutes before the race: A caffeinated Maurten Gel
- During the race: No fuel or water. Probably could have used a gel at the halfway point.
I had one of my best nights of pre-race hotel sleep ever. I slept for over 8 hours and I only woke up once in the middle of the night. The sleep was restful and I didn't have anxiety dreams about the race. Why? I think I was so stressed about about my race schedule (both the marathon and the ice for the 10-miler) that once I knew the race would happen, I could rest easy. It used to be that the biggest challenge in racing was the race. Now, it's finding a race that will happen!
|Warming up in my mask|
My 10-mile PR was ambiguous. There were three different PRs I could claim:
- Fastest 10-mile time in a live 10-mile race: 1:09:54 at the Cherry Blossom in 2019
- Fastest 10-mile in a virtual 10-mile race: 1:09:46 at the Virtual Cherry Blossom in 2020
- Fastest 10-miles ever run: 1:09:14 during the Indianapolis Half Marathon in 2019
The race started and I eased into it. I only warmed up for 1-mile because I had mis-judged the amount of time it would take to get my bib, pin it on, etc. But I wasn't too worried because there was nothing wrong with gradually easing into my goal pace and running a negative split.
Once I got to mile 8, the wind really seemed to pick up. I hadn't noticed it much during miles 6 and 7, but suddenly there was a stiff sustained wind. The race got much harder. I very quickly went from feeling awesome to entering the pain cave. Even though the plan had been to speed up, I had to give everything I had to maintain my pace. Speeding up would not be possible. It was time to start using some mental tricks.
That final sprint was very fast and according to my Garmin I was running a sub-6:00 pace at the very end. I think it was that final kick that led to the dry heaving. I definitely would have vomited if there was something to vomit, but there wasn't anything because I had no water during the race. I did not feel nauseous during the race like I did in Harrisburg, so that is definitely progress. I think the dry heaving is simply how my body reacts to a hard effort and if I have anything in my stomach, it's going to come up. I don't think it has much to do with what I have eaten.
I'm calling this a PR by two full minutes. Of course it depends on which time you use as my previous PR, but any way you slice it, I was solidly under all of them.