What an odd race distance a 7k is. At least for me.
Yesterday, my mom, dad and I set out early and caught the train to downtown Chicago. It was so nice outside, especially by the lake. The sun was hot but the breeze was cool so I was ready to take this race head on.
There were a lot of people there- and I must have been one of the last ones to line up because all of the corrals were filled to the brim with runners. I snaked my way in through the crowd in the middle of the “10min mile” corral. After a quick survey of the people (read: being judgmental) I quickly realized I was in the wrong corral and started making my forward into faster corrals. The sidewalk was narrow and there were too many people. I started to panic because I hate having to run while bumping elbows with people- or even worse- having to run slow because I have no other choice. I realize that I run slow all on my own, but to be paced by someone else and having no other choice annoys the crap out of me. This is a race people- I want to beat you, not be stuck behind you.
The horn went off and people barley started to move. I realized this was not going to be easy, so I just veered off onto the grace and made my way around everyone. At some point, I had to run on the street and in the dirt to get around everyone. For the record, if you’re going to walk in a race- and by all means PLEASE walk in a race, I think it is great!- but DO NOT start in the front of the line- just, just don’t. After about the first mile or so, it started to break up. I was behind a few girls that I was determined to beat- and either the music on my ipod picked up or I got sick of looking at the back of their heads because at the turn around point, when I was running the route back in towards the finish, I saw them still making their way to the turn around at least 5 minutes behind me. Sweet. Keep going.
It. was. hot. The wind must have stopped blowing because I was literally dripping sweat. My body is STILL not used to running in the heat. I’m pretty sure I was sweating more out there than I have in Bikram Yoga. Yikes. I kept telling myself to keep pushing it- this is your tempo run for the week- you’re fine- keep going. My breathing was getting out of rhythm. My watch beeped- mile 3. One mile left. I picked up the pace. 9:13. I was passing people. Lots of people. I was passing more people than people were passing me- but the where the heck was the finish line? There’s no way it’s only a mile away- I didn’t know if I should slow down or not but I knew I couldn’t keep up a 9:13 pace, feeling this hot and this tired, for more than a mile. My watch beeped. Mile 4.
What the heck? I thought a 7k was only 4 miles. WHERE. IS. THE. FINISH LINE!?
My pace slowed on it’s own. I couldn’t even go faster if I tried. I was gassed. I was thirsty and sweaty and I seriously could not get control over my breathing. The damn flag said “6k” so I knew I had 1 more km to go. BUT WHY WAS IT TAKING SO LONG!?
The lady said “just around the corner and you’re done!” so I picked up my pace. 8:30.
I turned the fucking corner- no finish line. Up a hill. No finish line. Finally, two big green flags said “Get Lucky 7k” I passed 5 people on my way to those flags and thought they were the finish line, but quickly realized there were no mats, this was not the finish line. It was still 50 feet away. I slowed to a jog because my vision was starting to close in on me. I saw my mom. I literally thought I was going to collapse in front of her. I crossed the mats and saw my dad with the camera- at least he’d get my collapse on film.
My parents came to me smiling and I had to keep walking because I knew if I locked my knees up, I’d be a goner. I asked for whatever and chugged it. Slowly, the feeling of wanting to puke and pass out passed. I was okay. I just really didn’t pace myself well and I was NOT used to pushing it in the heat.
The final distance, according to my Garmin was 4.40 miles. My Garmin said my time was 42:xx minutes.
I was not happy with my time, I wanted a sub-40min time, but I was happy with my effort. I gave it my all and I have never felt like passing out after a race- so that’s a new one.
Sometimes you just don’t get the time you want, but you can’t knock yourself when you know that you gave it your all.
I have become increasingly more worried for the half. It’s in April. It’s going to be hot. My body peaked with training in the middle of winter. So this is going to be a very hard transition. I thought Bikram yoga was going to help my body become accustomed to the heat- and although it’s definitely not hurting me- there’s just nothing like running with the sun beating down on you in 80 degree weather.
I’m on spring break, and although I really get a break from nothing because I still have school work to do, things to study for, and tumbling to coach, I’m going to try and take advantage of not having actual CLASS and take my runs outside, in the heat. I’ve talked my wonderful father into coming with me on his bicycle for my long run. The problems with increasingly longer runs is that you run out of places to run to without wanting to pull your eyeballs out because you’re sick of the scenery. To be honest, I’m scared of venturing out on a long run and getting sick and being 11 miles from home without help- especially since I run in the forest preserve. My dad could use a bike ride either way 😉