New Year and a Race Recap

“Change gears as we change years.” -from my “Believe I Am” journal

Like most people, I see the new year as an opportunity to start fresh with everything.  Even though my training season is already in full swing for the year, I still like to take a minute to check-in with myself and reflect.  What can I do to start this year off right, possibly make it even better than last?

My answer quickly came in the form of the local New Year’s Day 4 Miler.  Why not? I have an unusual love for the challenge  and pain that comes with a race road.  I also wanted to use this as my internal reminder to take risks this year.  Make things hurt a little, push myself, grow as an athlete.

Race day came.  I didn’t sleep great the nice before, I was having trouble eating breakfast, my hip didn’t do it’s usual morning pop, it was COLD.  My mind was wandering in the wrong direction.  Should I really be racing today?  Then I remembered my goals.  Take a risk, push myself, grow as an athlete.  Racing was going to hurt, but when pushing yourself to your limits, it’s supposed to hurt.  With that, I was off to race 4 miles!

The nice thing about this race is that it was small, around 84 finishers. This meant, parking was close, picking up my race bib was quick, and the bathrooms were clean and easily accessible.  All of these things definitely ease the stress on race day.  With about 45 minutes until race time, I did a good 2.5 mile warmup on the course route, mentally noting turns, road conditions, and the strong winds, especially on the last portion of the course. Hm, wind.  I don’t enjoy wind.

Once back from my warmup, I headed inside the Big Flats Legion, where the race was being held (also a nice feature on a cold winter race day), to stretch and make one last bathroom stop.  Twenty minutes prior to race time, I put on my racing flats, sipped on a mixture of Gu and water, did a few more strides, and then headed to the starting line.  With a few quick directions from the race director, we were off.

I got quick, felt smooth, and my breathing felt steady.  The first mile is always interesting, feeling out the pace of the group, the course conditions, debating if I wore the right clothing…

Luckily, I felt right on with the first mile.  The next two miles, however, were tricky.  This wasn’t a 5k, it was a 4 miler.  How do I pace myself for 4 miles?  5k pace, but a little slower?  5k pace and hold it a mile longer?  After going back in forth in my mind about what strategy was going to work best, I decided to keep pushing myself near 5k pace.  I found targets in the race to pick off one by one.  By the end of mile 2, I found myself in third place for the females.  Knowing the last mile was going to be completely in the direction of a headwind, I worried I would fall off of pace a little.  I did.  It was tough.  I fought as hard as I could and a couple of times found myself feeling as if I was running in place.  I was putting out so much effort, yet not going nearly as fast as I should be.  Mind over matter, I knew the finish was close.  I didn’t, however, know how close the fourth place female was, and at this point, I knew I deserved the place I was in.  I wanted top 3.  I even had my sites on second place, I could see her.  Only 10 seconds up from me.  Darn that wind.  I pushed up over the bridge, the only real hill on the mostly flat course, and towards the finish.  ”Pain face” is all I could imagine people seeing when I ran by them.  It hurt.  I didn’t care.  That is why I was there.  Take a risk and grow.

I crossed the finish line completely fatigued, but content.  I did what I came to do.  2015, I’m ready for you!

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27:55, 8th Overall, 3rd Female, 1st AG

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Big Flats New Year’s Day 4 Miler Complete Results

The local newspaper wrote an article about the race.  I was lucky enough to get a small mention at the end of the article.

A special thank you goes out to my coach, Mary Eggers, who always get me well prepared for my races, my Valor Triathlon Project teammates who inspire me every day, and my newest teammates from Coeur Sports for letting me be small part of their amazing group.

I don’t post every day, so follow my training, racing, and other daily adventures through my Instagram and Twitter!

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