My most recent race was the Firecracker 4 in Saratoga Springs on July 4. I ran this race last year with nearly a second-degree sunburn, and have never felt worse running in my whole life. This year, I was in the car heading up to the Adirondacks for much of the day before, so no chance of a sunburn!
My new shoes arrived last Monday – the same brand/model I’ve been wearing since October, but my third pair because of how many miles I put on the first two pair during marathon training. I was excited to swap out my ratty white ones that got me through the marathon but lost a shoelace tip (had to Google this in order to learn the actual name of this plastic tip is “aglet”) and just looked awful and grey and worn.
I set my alarm for Tuesday – my last day going into my client’s office downtown – for 5am and 5:30am, but couldn’t get out of bed either time. Instead, I got up at my normal time of 6am, walked Chip, and decided “what the heck?” and went running. I used my new Mueller Tuffner Pre-Tape Spray, which my PT described as basically skin-safe rubber cement. I actually taped myself the night before and wore a tall sock to bed, but when I got up, I had to kinda peel the sock off my skin. The spray was holding!
I went out for a short, easy, but quick 2 miles and the tape stuck the whole time! I averaged a 9:18 pace and felt really good though tired from not getting enough sleep. And my feet/shoes felt great the whole time, so I know it was definitely time to replace them.
I still somehow got to work on time, but less than an hour after arriving, my company became victim of a cyber attack and I was forced to turn off my laptop for the next 48 hours, and never did gain access to my files/work again before it was time to turn in my laptop at the end of the day Friday. It was a less-than-ideal final week of work as I wasn’t able to properly transition things and close out, but it was beyond my control so I tried to just enjoy the time with my colleagues while we were stuck at the office with limited email and phone access.
I didn’t run again until my next race, though I had planned to. Instead, my dad and I showed up the Firecracker 4 about an hour early to get out bibs and gift bags, hit the restroom a few times, and line up. This was the first year they did a pulsed start, and I have to assume it made a difference but I had a REALLY hard time keeping a comfortable pace for about the first 1.5 miles. I was constantly trying to polite dodge in between strollers and other runners to try and get myself a little space but then I only ended up behind someone who was running significantly slower than I wanted to. This race is great, as I wrote about last year. You end up in a very residential neighborhood pretty early on, and the residents are playing music, handing out water and popsicles, and spraying you with hoses and sprinklers. I actually wasn’t too hot and tried to avoid most of the hoses as there is nothing worse than having wet sunglasses and a runny nose. The steep hill with 1/4 of a mile left is a killer, but I tackled it feeling great. I sprinted all the way to the finish for a new PR and the fastest race of my life (and beautiful negative splits) – an official 37:20 to beat last year’s 40:40, for an overall 9:20 pace. Prior to this, my fastest race pace was a 9:35 in two separate 5Ks. My Garmin told me my 5K time was actually a 28:14 – my fastest ever – and my 2-mile time was a 17:55 – almost my fastest. Neato!
It’s now Saturday, and I have my third biggest race of the year tomorrow morning – the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY. I’m terrified that I’m going to have a terrible race because of how little I’ve been running. I’ve been OK in my recent races, but this is 9.3 miles – a whole 5K longer than anything I’ve done since April. And it’s a hilly course. Fortunately there are 20+ water stops along the course so I don’t need to worry about hydrating during the race, but I’m making sure to chug water and eat lots of carbs all day today.