Sunday, February 14, 2016

First Race of the Season!

...meaning first race report of the Spring! I began 2016 racing cross country-style running the LinksRun Cypresswood 5k yesterday evening and was reminded that golf courses are wasted on golf most of the time (I kid, but only kind of!).


While the event ended well it started a little dicey on behalf of poor judgement by yours truly...

It started innocent enough. I did my morning shakeout and foam rolled in the afternoon. Ate my HoneyStinger bar with some strawberries a couple hours out and headed out at about 3:30 to Houston to the supposed golf course.....

Like any responsible athlete, I read the race guide email top to bottom, but somehow neglected to put the address in google maps being under the impression it was the course near the sports med clinic I work at sometimes. It was not. After pulling in and seeing no starting chute or anyone else not in golf attire, I quickly realized that I was on the wrong side of the freeway!

Okay, deep breath time for google maps: I was 30 minutes from where the real race site was and was quoted to arrive at 4:45 for a 5:30 race. I like to arrive to any event at least 60 minutes early, why not live on the edge a little, right?! Honestly, how little I stressed about this I almost found surprising-this must mean my mental game's on point today even though my common sense is not!

Trusting that the voice inside my phone knew where this course was, I ran it hot in my new Camaro to the other side of stupid-long Cypresswood Dr. and reached the Cypresswood Golf Club-complete with start and finish in sight. I ended up having plenty of time to get my packet, jog around for a mile and a half and get my drills in before the start. I did feel pretty in my element as I love racing across the grass and dirt and I feel confident running XC.

I left the spikes at home for this one and went with my New Balance 1500s. Reviews that state that that shoe grips like a mofo are completely true-there was no slippage to be found on some varying topography.

Race and Course:

The race itself went off right at 5:30 and had a pretty smallish field. There were three guys who were quite fast and one was quoted wanting to run below 18:00 and I planned to try and keep them in sight for at least the first part of the race. I have been feeling really confident in my fitness for the first time in a really long time and just planned to just go out there and let my legs do the talking and keep my head quiet and positive.

The course was pretty and rolled for the majority of the race up and down bunkers and fairways containing cones marking the course. I was glad I spent some time running the Flintridge "hills" here in The Woodlands and spending many runs on the Player Course before tee times in the morning as I was really prepared and not really fazed by this.

First estimated mile I was running in fifth overall behind four guys, two of them looked really young and were moving quick up and down the rises. In the first few minutes I overtook one of them and got that surge of motivation that comes with. I then realized that I was moving along very good and was feeling strong-I could keep this pace up! I learned after from a 10k runner who was close behind that we went through the first mile in about 6:15. I didn't feel like I slowed much after that and didn't have much feedback; I think that actually seemed to help as I just focused internally-that and I had Cage the Elephant's "Mess Around" stuck in my head-what a great racing song, btw!

About halfway through the race the course opened up a bit and the fast dudes were gone and I felt more or less solo how I was running. Thoughts started to drift toward questioning if I was going too hard, but the legs wanted what they wanted and I shifted back to just focusing on my form and staying relaxed and more Cage the Elephant. I was surprised with how even my effort was across climbing up and down and sometimes running on a slant. The last mile or so was over quick and I saw the clubhouse behind the final rise. I figured I was going to be under 21:00 with the hills and grass and all. However, I was not...

After running past the clubhouse the finish chute was in view and I saw the clock reading a few seconds above 19:00. I immediately took off with mouth and eyes gaping for the last 150 yards and managed to run a 19:29. This time used to be commonplace many years back, but after my bajillion injuries I had a hard time getting back under 20. Funny it happened yesterday, because besides finishing in front, outcome was not a focus. I just wanted to run hard and not think about it too hard. Process in a real thing, folks. "And no she don't mess around...." 

They had a nice dinner afterward and I walked away with some prizes and more confidence. I texted Coach Doug a couple excited lines giving him credit for helping me get fitter than I have been in years. I've learned to really believe in that fitness after several successful workouts in the past months. I also have to thank CyroWellness Lab, Dr. Derrick and Ray Arroyo for getting me ready to run well the week prior.

Next up is double the distance on 3/19. Resting today-back to work tomorrow.

Congrats to everyone who raced in a jam-packed race weekend!

Stay the course.

1 comment:

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Hopefully, you weren't on the section of Cypresswood where the speed limit is only 20mph! Congrats on winning some prizes!