Monday, September 24, 2012

Ache or Break - Ache Around the Lake 5K 2012

Beautiful Lake Lanier
This was the 7th Annual Ache Around the Lake. A great fundraiser race for our small, local hospital. Every one wins with this race. There are two options - the certified 8K Ache (and it is an Ache) or the 2-mile fun/run/walk Ouch (it still hurts too).

My goal going into the Ache 8K this year was to PR (get a personal record). This was my third consecutive year, and each year I've improved. A good sign. Last year's time was 58:07 minutes. So all I had to do was get 58:06 or better and I would PR.

I trained a lot for this race, followed the Tryon Running Club beginner training plan almost to the "T". I surprised myself with my determination and focus.

Then a week and a half before the race, I started thinking that I wasn't going to be able to beat my time. It is an awful head game. I didn't think I had run enough, or run fast enough, or far enough. The Saturday before we had a training run around the lake. My friend, Laura (who blogs her own experiences at My Healthy Challenge) was my coach for the day. She gave me super racing advise and made me sprint up the hills. Not just attack the hills, but then we ran a little bit more over the top. "I've. got. to. stop." I would gasp. "Not, till the sign", or fence, or mailbox, she would say. Pushing us to go farther. At one point I truly thought I was going to vomit. I mentioned this in passing. She said something like "it's okay to throw up, then keep going"...something like that. Thankfully I didn't toss my cookies, and I did bust the hills, at least in the beginning. I got a little too zealous on one particular hill and I hit a wall for 1/2 mile or so.

She told me to go with the downhills, use the pull of gravity to my advantage, putting time in the bank. I usually slow down at the top of hard hills, to catch my breath, but I started going faster downhill, and practiced catching my breath at the same time.

After this training run I was pumped, I was going to PR! Awesome.

Then about 3 days later, I was worried again. Thinking I wasn't going to make it. My head was messed up. I was driving my husband crazy, so I just let it go. That night we watched the movie "The Vow". I was stressed thinking about the race, and a few other things on my mind as well. The movie was emotional, I cried through just about all of it. And boy, did I feel better when it was over. I slept great, decided I was going to have a good run, and it would be enough. Settled.

I had family coming in, so took Friday off to clean my house. That's the best time to get your cleaning done - when people are coming. I should invite people over more often.

After registration, sporting my fabulous Bia shirt.
Team Leaphart
Saturday morning came really early, like 4:50am early. And I could not go back to sleep. So about 5:30am I got up, dressed, made hot tea and started my breakfast - 1/2 bagel w/ peanut butter, 1/2 banana slices and drizzled honey. The same thing before every race. My sister and nephew were up, fed, and we took off. Met my parents at registration and went to the start.

Just a brief side note -- thank goodness for the porta-potties!

My biggest question early Saturday morning was "Where is the 58 degree weather we had Friday???" It was 70 degrees and humid! Not great at all. I was congested, and had trouble breathing the first 2 miles.

At the race start I was among friends. That is one of the best things about our running club - such a nice, 

supportive community. I honestly don't feel competition with anyone, I was there to beat myself. And to my surprise I was not nervous. I normally feel slightly agitated and anxious before a race. I was the calmest I had ever been before a race, maybe because I had cut the mind game off mid week.

At any rate, my plan was to run my ass off for the first mile and get time in the bank. Then run strong on the hills and fast down them. I ran the first mile and a half without stopping. Up and over "Grunt Hill" - which is one of the worst first hills on a race course EVER. My first mile was 10:26. My second 10-something mile, ever. I was rockin it. Then about mile 2, I hit a wall, had to ease up a bit. But kept going, kept strong.

I caught up with a 60-something guy and we were together for the last 2 miles or so. We'd pass one another, catch up, walk a bit together. He looked over at me and said, you look familiar - what's your name? I told him. Then I said "I think you've probably cleaned my teeth a couple of times." I knew who HE was - a local, retired dentist, who also lived on the lake. We chatted of and on about the course - gasping and grunting through our conversation. At the end I pulled away, seeing that I had very little room to make my PR. I busted the last quarter mile and he came in shortly behind me. When we could breathe, we congratulated each other. Later I checked the finishing times from last year, and he and I were within the same amount of time last year as well. Both finishing a little bit faster this year.

One of my nephews did the 2-mile Ouch - his first race. He started walking, then the running bug hit and he ran/walked the rest of the way. He SAYS he wants to do it again next year with his brother, we'll see. But I'm thrilled that he was there and had a great time!

Here I am - almost to the finish and SMILING! I love the way my hair is catchin' some air.

I can see the end, digging in!

My official time was 57:18.44 - so I beat my time by 49 seconds. I was elated! I saw the clock with 57-something on it and I ran as fast as I could. My friends and family were rooting for me, calling out my name and taking pictures. What more could a girl want? It was a beautiful way to end a race.

What's next?

Have you met a fitness goal lately? Do you need to set a goal? Do you have any races on your "bucket list'?
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  1. You are amazing! Way to be your own best competition!

    Love you!!!

  2. Congrats on a personal record! Looks like you all had a great time!


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