Sunday, December 14, 2008

"You didn't even look back!": Jingle Bell Run Race Report

Well that certainly didn't go according to went way, way better.
So I finally dragged myself home from the library at 6 am Saturday morning, fell headfirst into bed, and woke up at 8:45 (45 minutes before I set my alarm, may I add) ready to go...I'm assuming it was something similar to when I was little and would just laugh for hours straight at idiotic things because I was so damn overtired...that was the kind of goofy energy I had. The weather forecast was actually looking pretty good - it was supposed to be 36 or something, so I went with my running tights under my (amazingly badass) orange race shorts, underarmor, and my (free!) Mizuno cold weather top. BF made fun of me because "orange and purple don't match", and just for that I tied an orange ribbon in my hair. Sweet.
So I met up with the other WTCers at 10 and we got our bags and things and went off to warm up. I ran around with Nicole...when she asked me how fast I was going to run this, I said "just like we're going for a run in the Arb.

We got to the starting line and apparently there was no starting gun, no announcements, no nothing...suddenly someone said go and everyone started running. We went through the first mile at the leisurely pace of 7:50 and were talking about Christmas shopping and just basically treating it like a normal run. Except for the one small fact that I always forget when I say I'm not going to try in a road race: if I have a number on, there's no WAY I'm not racing. So right after the first mile mark, Nicole dropped behind me a bit and I started passing people...really not putting any particular extra effort in but if I was close behind someone, I'd try and pick up my cadence a bit to just get past them and then fall back in. Apparently I did pick it up though, because my second mile was 7:25. The 3rd mile of this course is my least favorite of all time, including a long, steady hill for probably half a mile up Manitou Way...usually when I run the Arb I run it the opposite was as they race it so I get to run DOWN this hill...its damn tiring to run up. Hence my 7:43 3rd mile. Still, I passed at least 6 or 7 people on the uphill and I was happy with my situation at that point. When we turned the corner into the Arb I looked behind me and saw Nicole was probably 10 seconds back...I figured she'd probably catch up on the hills in the Arb but to be honest...I didn't really feel like worrying about it at that point. I was on pace for a PR, so my race strategy (run lazy) had changed.

As I passed the 3 mile mark, 2 older guys behind me who I had just passed were yelling to eachother "Let's go! 3 mile race now!" I figured they were going to pick it up and if there's one thing I hate, its being passed back, so I focused on an older man and a girl who looked about my age who were probably 10-15 seconds ahead of me. I caught up to them both and passed the guy, then the girl. A few minutes later, she passed me back on an uphill right around the 4 mile mark, which came up a lot faster than I remembered...gotta love those downhills. I finally got ahead of the girl, who I think ended up being the last person I passed. The race spread out a LOT in the last 3 miles...I had my sights set on "guy in red shirt" and got pretty close to him, but he pulled away a lot at the end. I was getting really tired...I'm sure that whole fact that I didn't sleep the night before had nothing to do with that...and I was starting to feel sick, which tends to happen when I race. But now that I knew that girl was behind me, there was no way I was letting up - I was NOT going to let her pass me.

We finally turned out of the Arb and passed the 6 mile mark...I was verrrry excited to be almost done running, and also pretty pumped because I knew a PR was coming my way. I also knew that the girl I had passed earlier was most likely gaining on me, and when I heard some people yelling for her at the finish, I knew there was only one thing to do - KICK!
It was probably the best kick I've had all year, and I beat her by 2 seconds.

Nicole came in about a minute later, and she wasn't too thrilled with me. Which is totally legit, since I was all "oh I'm not going to try, blah blah blah" before the race. And I wasn't PLANNING on trying, but when I found myself in decent position and feeling good, I figured there was no point in not going for it. The weird thing about the race was I never felt awesome, but I never truly felt was like the quote "it hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse". Overally, I was pretty damn happy with my race and overall time. I got even happier when I got home and found the results online - 8th overall female out of 126, 2nd in my age group out of 49, with the girl right behind me being 3rd...SCORE! I got 39th/266 overall. And that is why I love road races...because in cross country, you can run your best time EVER and get 204th, but in a road race you beat a TON of people. I also like 10Ks at Vilas Park because I know the course sooo well....I've run the Arboretum loop a million times. Weirdly, I also really liked running with the jingle bells they gave us on my shoes, because it seriously made me get into a really good cadence. And I also had the Manheim Steamroller version of White Christmas in my head almost the entire time...very random since its a pretty slow song, and I haven't heard it in awhile...but whatever! So in the end, I'm really glad I did it, even though at 5:30 am it seemed like pretty much the worst idea ever. Not to mention, this made me a lot more motivated to get out and run knowing that I'm not completely out of shape despite being in kind of a slump lately. PRing after an all-nighter...that is just plain ridiculous. WIN.

Jingle Bell Run 10K - Vilas Park, Madison, WI
46:30 (7:29 pace)
Splits: 7:50, 7:25, 7:43, 7:17, 7:22, 7:25
39/266 overall
8/126 women
2/49 AG (19-29)

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