thursday: 2.5 miles am w/ middle schoolers, 8 miles easy [with a few walking breaks due to be completely lost]
saturday: alex devinny memorial 4k, kenosha, wi.
sunday: 7.1 easy
monday: 5 easy
thursday's run taught me an important lesson: make SURE you know your route well if you're planning on running in a new place, especially the complicated twisting neighborhoods of brookfield, wi. i had planned on doing an easy 5.5 miler, partially because i still felt like crap from wednesday's speed workout, and partially because i wanted to take it easy before the race on saturday. i pretty much felt like crap from the very beginning but figured i'd be fine. as it turns out, i missed a turn completely, and then decided to take a different road that i figured would eventually take me back to the same place i wanted to go...unfortunately, whoever planned brookfield decided it would be a good idea to include lots of dead ends and circular roads, which is how i ended up running/walking in circles for about 15 minutes, only to finally come out about a mile and a half further away from my start than i had wanted to go. needless to say, i was not at all pleased with the situation...my legs were shot anyway, and so much for saving it for saturday. ah well, next time i know to memorize my route before i leave.
so race report! the alex devinny memorial 4k, held at the parkside cross country course in kenosha. this was one of the races that i absolutely was determined to do for a couple of reasons: one, because parkside was the site of my first cross country race ever, and also because the girl who the race was in honor of was a phenomenal runner [i saw her race when i was a sophomore and it was just amazing] who died very young of an eating disorder, and the money made from the race went to promote eating disorder awareness/research...which i think is a great cause, to mention it seems like a fitting tribute. anyway...digression. it was also fun because my friends nicole and claire, along with a couple others from the club were racing - nice representation of the wtc!
i got to the course at around 8:15, registered and warmed up with nicole and claire. it was really fun to have the true cross country race atmosphere as opposed to just a road race, plus wearing spikes was exciting. :) the overwhelming majority of the runners were high school and college age, which was also cool and definitely gave it more of a cross country feel. the parkside course is one of the hardest courses i've ever raced on, pretty much the entire first 800 meters are uphill, and the last 1200 meters involves going up and down hills through a back forest...not exactly fun. i immediately started feeling it within the first 200 meters of the race that it was going to be pretty painful, but once i made it up the first monster hills kind of went into cruise mode for awhile. passed a few people around the 1200 mark, and i actually have no idea what my mile split was since i forgot my watch and apparently the guy calling splits was wrong, but oh well. claire caught up to me soon after the mile mark and i managed to run with her while passing people for another 1200 or so. i was actually feeling pretty good going into the last 3/4 mile of the course, but that's where it hit the fan, just as it did 3 years ago the first time i ever raced there. the hills in the last part of the course absolutely KILLED me, and i was so frustrated as i watched claire pulling further and further away with each hill. my legs felt absolutely shot. despite that, the only people who passed me besides claire in those backwoods were a girl and a guy, who at first i was really angry because they passed me and they were talking, like having an easy conversation...except for then i realized that the girl runs for wisconsin, and i assume she was basically running the race as an easy workout. frustrating, yes, but i'm no d1 distance runner. i also had absolutely NO finishing kick, which was frustrating because that's usually where i'm pretty strong. i still finished in 17:55 or 56, which is only a couple seconds off my 4K pr, and that was run on a MUCH easier course, and at the end of a full cross country season, not in the middle of a summer of half marathon training. i ended up 6th in my age group (claire was 3rd, and was only like 20 seconds ahead of me) and 61st overall, so not too bad. and it was a lot of fun going back to the 4K distance, although seriously, i feel like every race is equally painful. 4k..5k...6k...4 miles....no matter the distance, its going to hurt. a lot. and if it doesn't...you're not really running hard enough. i guess my only complaint is that my pace was just about the same as it was for the 4 miler...which is kind of stupid...i mean, you'd think that my pace would be faster over only 2.5 miles? but i guess i have to look at the circumstances...i've been sore this entire week, and of course there are the hills to consider.
i feel like for this cross country season, i need to work on my pacing/race strategy. i seem to have this barrier, no matter the distance, that i canNOT go under 7:05/mile. i really think i'm capable of holding sub-7 pace over a 5K at least...i mean, if i can run 4 repeat miles with the slowest being 6:54, i feel like there's no reason i can't run 3 7 minute miles back to back. i think it has a lot to do with two things: my first mile, and my extreme slowdown usually in the second mile somewhere. i think if i'm going to get to where i want to be, i NEED to learn to control my first mile. yes, eventually going out in 6:45 will probably be a good idea (maybe even by the end of this cc season? i hope so.) but for now, i feel like going out a few seconds slower might help me in the long run. but maybe not...maybe i'd slow down the same amount so it wouldn't help at all. ah cross country...painful painful painful, and the only way you can fix your mistakes is by racing again.
this race got me excited about the upcoming cross season though. some of the races we're doing might be 6k, which kind of sucks because 6k is a damn long way, but having done the 4 miler i feel a bit better about being able to hold a decent pace.
and other than that, running has been going decently. i was irritated yesterday because i couldn't get in as long of a run as i wanted to because of family stuff, but oh well. i decided not to double up today just to give my legs a bit of a break, but i'll be back into it hardcore this week. racing saturday i think reignited my motivation, so hopefully the midsummer slump i've had the past couple of weeks is over. :)