Monday, August 24, 2015

South Lakes 10k (and post injury running)

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I ran the Potomac River Running - South Lakes 10k this past weekend (here's my post from last year about it). Last year I talked about getting out of my training comfort zone, and since then I have LOVED adding races at a tempo pace after long runs. I think it's what really helped me push at the end of my marathon and go sub 4! But a little of something is a good thing, but as I learned early this summer, too much can be bad. Very bad.


I had a pretty great late spring race season, but I was feeling like I had lost some of my top speed, having not PRed in a shorter distance race in YEARS! With that feeling, I just kept focusing on my long runs and sticking to my training plan. I ran exactly 100 miles in May, followed that up with 113 miles in June, consistently sticking to my training plan during vacation, but July is when everything all went down. First, on July 1 I felt amazing and ended up running 7 miles at a great, quick pace on my own when I only had 4 planned. I ended up running every day that week, ending on Friday with a long run of 10.7 miles. The next day, on July 4th, Reid and ran our annual 5k together (PRR's Firecracker 5k, with Lauren again!), and I wasn't feeling fast at all. The plan was that we were just going to run by feel, I even joked that there was no way I was going to PR. However, I did PR (and Reid and I got our couple PR) with a time of 24:18.

Riding the high of beating my 28 year old self by 13 seconds, I pushed through and ran near daily at faster paces than I had ever trained at. It was stupid, because what started as a mildly sore hip/adductor, turned in to me barely being able to walk. I kept running for 2 more weeks, took a week off (without skipping my long runs), tried to return to running, did PT, all with no improvement. It took taking a full 19 days off from running (and PT) to even feel a little bit better. So while everyone else was inching up in their marathon training mileage, I was resting and recovering.

The Wednesday before the SL 10k, I did an easy 5 miler with the Mom's Run This Town (MRTT) Reston/Herndon girls. It was a painful first mile, but all in all, I felt pretty okay afterwards. Then I ran again on Saturday with my TNT marathon girls, it was a down mileage week, so a good one for me to jump back in on. Again, my first mile felt tight and sore, but as I warmed up, my stride felt more natural than it had in WEEKS! It was incredible! I also had Penny with me, so I had something other than my pain to think about. I ended up running around a 10:30 pace for most miles with Lauren, Erin, and the pups (Penny and Lycan). But I still wasn't sure how my 10k would go coming back from an injury and running long the day before.

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Just like in 2014, I woke up a little stiff and sore from the previous day's run. I still had a little of the injury pain, but all in all, it seemed to really be getting better from getting back to running! I got ready for the race and stretched out by waking over to get my packet with Penny about an hour before race time. Then I foam rolled until Amanda came over so that we could head to the start. We met up with Crescent in the pace corrals, and I thought had decided to start together, but it didn't really happen like that. Apparently Amanda and Crescent did run for a bit together, but split off after a few minutes.

I could only think about two things during the first mile of the race. 1)Just get through this mile and loosen up and all of this will feel better and 2) this feels so hard for going this slow.

Luckily, just as I'd hoped, as the race went on, the miles got easier. I had planned on running 90:30 second intervals, but it just felt hard on tired legs, so around mile 1.5, I switched to 60:30. I stuck with that until the big hill just before the 4th mile marker, where I switched again to 45:30, what I had run the day before, but I also continued to run the course and felt tired, but okay. Right around mile 4 I decided that I would just try to finish the race comfortably, running the intervals hard and pushing my walk through every walk break, the way I would at the end of a long run. I let go of the idea that I would run a fast race, thinking that if I could just run steady, I would be under 55 minutes.

South Lakes 10K 8-23-15-0681
South Lakes 10K 8-23-15-0890
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Turns out that as hard as it felt, it was worth it because I still managed an 8:35 average pace (even though mile 1 was around 9:30!) and came in at 53:21. It certainly wasn't my best 10k, but also wasn't my worst. And considering I am coming back off of a pretty painful injury and nearly 3 weeks of rest, I'll take it!

Here's hoping that as I can learn from my mistakes and be a little smarter about the rest of my marathon training this season! But at least I learned that even in a little bit of pain, I should be able to do my other double long run/race weekends that I have planned this September. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't at least complete them, let alone run some with some speed.

Along with a lot of racing and running this fall, I am also considering spending more time on my businesses, my photography, and this blog. September is going to be a hard month, but I think writing about it and sharing the day to day will be helpful for me. But who knows, maybe my next post will be in October, when I write about my fifth marathon. :)

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