Leprechaun Chase 10K

The 1st Leprechaun Chase 10K in Des Moines proved to be a very fun race this morning and I am very happy with my time!  My overall pace was 8:02!  I was pretty surprised with myself, given that I haven’t done a lot of speed work post P.F. Chang’s Rock n’Roll Phoenix Marathon and I haven’t done any speed work without the aid of a treadmill in months due to snow and ice.  What makes me even happier is that I was able to run my goal pace despite less than idea running conditions.  Yesterday was near 60 degrees here and this morning we were greeted with temps in the 30’s with 14 mph winds and gusts up to 29 mph, according to Weather Bug.  Here’s a snapshot of what Weather Bug reported post-race… conditions kept getting worse:

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I didn’t really know what to wear for the race with these conditions, but I did sport a little bit of Irish!

Not quite sure why this turned out so fuzzy!  Whah! :(
Not quite sure why this turned out so fuzzy! Whah! 😦

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I made a race time decision to throw my jacket on and boy, I am so glad I did!  I met up with my friend Kate and her step-daughter before the race.

me, Kate, & Megan pre-race!
me, Kate, & Megan pre-race!

The first mile felt great!  We were slightly against the wind, but my legs felt fantastic!  I was running a sub 8 min/mile pace and I kept telling myself to slow down so I wouldn’t sputter at mile 4 or 5.  At this point, I thought we were going against the worst of the wind… was I ever in for a surprise!  After a quick out and back between mile 1 and 2, the wind slammed into us… hard!  At mile 2 was a slight uphill that I run a lot with my friends and for some reason always gets me.  Not today!  I pushed myself up it and didn’t think twice!  And, after cresting the hill, we made a slight turn, putting the wind at our backs!  Whew!  On the stretch between mile 2 and 3, my mind started going a little funky on me.  I wanted to slow down.  I considered just pushing it to the 5k mark and then taking it easy for the next 5k.  But, the nagging voice of reason in my head knew that wasn’t the solution.  I needed to push myself.  If I felt it feeling “easy” that meant I wasn’t working hard enough.  So, I bucked up and ran harder.  At this point, some of the guys, who started 5 1/2 minutes after the ladies, were starting to catch up and pass.  One observation from this morning: guys are noisy!  I could always tell when a guy was coming up behind me because their feet hit the ground hard and loud!  And their breathing was loud and labored.  Not that I was running all lady-like.  In fact, I was spitting up phlegm every half mile or so.  I did have the courtesy to check around me to make sure I wouldn’t hit anyone :).  So, maybe that was a little more lady-like…

Alas, I digress.  At mile 3.75, we were crossing the bridge at Greys Lake.  The wind was brutal, coming at us sideways.  At one point, I was blown to the left, unable to maintain running in a straight line against it.  I just kept on pushing, my legs starting to feel like jello.  Once off the bridge, we turned onto a bike path that would take us in to the finish.  The wind was still coming at us, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what it was on the bridge and I knew it would be manageable.  I looked at my overall pace and knew I could maintain it or push it down even more on the next 2 miles.  Until we got to mile 5.  We were now in the open, running alongside the river, with no protection.  And those gusts, up to 29 mph, were now picking up and hitting us.  I felt like I was running in place.  I started thinking I was losing steam. My side started with an ever so slight cramp.  I knew I could either give in and take it easy and complain later or I could dig deep, push it, and feel great amongst the pain later.  I chose the later.  I mean, really, I can do anything for 1 mile, right?!?  The gusts coming at us form the side was nothing compared to the last quarter-mile of the race.  We turned and were now running straight into it.  A volunteer was at the corner, bending down to meet me at eye level, yelling at me that I was a “lean, mean, green running machine and to finish strong!”  That was the kick in the rear… errrr, I mean inspiration I needed.  Again, I knew I could slow down and complain about the wind, or I could push it the last quarter-mile and feel good about it later.  I pushed as hard as I could and made it across the finish line. Very relieved and happy it was over! 🙂

So what better way to celebrate a great run?  Well, Chuck E. Cheese, with my favorite gal of course! Cheers! 🙂

 

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