Saturday, February 14, 2015

Race Report: Blacksburg Classic 10 Miler

This was my fourth time running the Blacksburg Classic (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015), which this year fell on Valentine's Day!!

I love/hate this race. 

I love it because it's a hometown race with friends, it's a good pre-season race, and it's tough. 
I hate it because it's the middle of February, it's not till 1 pm (e.g. morning of thumb-twiddling), and it's tough! 

Did I mention it's tough?

The first two miles I sought to stick to Coach Jim's plan of no faster than 7:40 miles. They felt surprisingly easy and relaxed with a low-for-me heart rate which gave me a boost of confidence. I let people pass me by (and I passed by three Solar Connexion yard signs! Go solar energy!) figuring I'd patiently reel them in later and I kept telling myself "easy speed." That mantra went along with what we worked on at Thursday's swim session - achieving speed with more relaxation and not always thinking that speed has to mean a redline heart rate!

Coincidentally, race morning I had received some reading material from Coach Amanda Leibovitz of Team MPI about achieving "flow" in sport. It gave me lots to think about, and came in handy since I stopped using an iPod in road races last year and now have to provide my own "on-board entertainment." Some of the thoughts and mantras that filled my head for nearly 75 minutes included:
  • Strong and controlled
  • Autopilot
  • Skills to match the challenge
  • Charge the top half of hills
  • Strong legs from the gym
There's a turnaround at mile 7 and I was grateful for the shouts of encouragement from runners going the other way (I really am!) despite my typical inability to respond in any verbal manner. I heard Linda Vick say "loosen up" and tried to follow her good advice and I got a nice high-five from Marion Childress who leads C & C Runners. 

The last three hilly and windy miles were a gut-check. You want to be done, but you aren't. Ten miles is just a weird distance. 

I worked hard to try to sprint past this guy in the final 200m, but didn't have quite enough time even with his hair-o-dynamic handicap. And to set the record straight, despite what his shirt might indicate, he is not "with" me. Nor am I cupid. Lol. 

I gave it all I had, I ran a mentally strong and positive race despite rough winds, and I got to spend time with friends. Plus I got to wear a fun hat and socks. WIN!!

This marked my third Blacksburg Classic master's victory. Results aren't up but Carla looked and said I ran a 1:14:29. My PR at this race was a 1:12:42 in 2013. So this was not my speediest, but it wasn't my slowest either. It's in the ballpark!

I've missed two races due to injuries, but aside from that you can be sure I'll be at that start line. I may still love/hate it, but I'll be there!!

Congrats to all the runners who braved a cold windy day to run (Sally aren't you glad you ran?!)