That was eye-opening
Yesterday was the inaugural EQT 10 Miler in downtown Pittsburgh. I was really excited about it. I mean, 10 miles is the perfect distance. It’s longer than a 10k, but shorter than a half marathon, but it’s still double digits.
Having done a marathon, several halves and a bunch of 10ks and 5ks, the thought of adding another distance race to my resume excited me.
Here’s where my issues lie – I set goals. But you say, goals aren’t bad! They’re good!
Sure, sure. They’re good. However, when I set a goal, it’s typically a lofty one, or at least something I’d have to push my hardest to attain.
Matt and I set out for a finish time goal of between 1:30:00 and 1:40:00. That would be keeping sub 10 minute miles. But see, I’ve been doing well enough with running, doing upwards of 5 miles, and keeping a sub 9 minute pace. I work out all the time, spinning and lifting, that sometimes fitting in running is hard. But when I do distances, it’s outside on the hills so I felt like I was pretty well prepared for the race that was coming, and was secretly hoping for a finish of 1:30 or even 1:25.
The course started at Station Square, progressed up the hill to the West End Bridge, then through the North Side, briefly through downtown where we ran across two more bridges, again through the North Side, across the 16th Street Bridge, through the Strip District, to a desolate part of the Strip, then finished by running on Liberty, ending downtown in front of the EQT building.
First of all, what made me laugh was this, listed on the FAQ page for the race;
Is the course hilly?
No, the course is fairly level.
Side bar – When I did my 5k a few weeks ago in Louisiana, the course description was “moderately difficult terrain due to hills.” Let me tell you, in comparison? Louisiana was fairly level and the 10 miler was moderately difficult due to hills.
Fairly level. HA. HA HA HA. I guess in Western PA standards, it wasn’t like we were running up Mount Washington, but guys, it was hilly!
Here’s the other funny part, the hills were by far the easiest part for me, because I could stretch my legs out.
I don’t know what happened or why, but when mile 2 hit, I hurt.
Excuses are not usually in my vocabulary, but you’re about to hear a bunch.
Matt and I started out at a nice clip, (completely up hill, mind you) keeping a solid 8 minute pace. When we hit mile 2, my right knee, which gives me grief every now and again, was angry. I’m talking, shooting pains up to my hip, angry.
Because of this, I started doing the worst thing any runner can do during a distance race – I started counting down the miles.
Only eight more miles. 80 minutes worst case scenario. You can do this.
Then mile 4 happened and not only did I have knee and hip pain, but I started having a side stitch under my right ribs. That sent the pain to my right shoulder.
That sucked so bad. For the first time ever during any race (other than the time that I ran that half marathon merely weeks after giving birth) did I ever want to stop and walk.
I went to the side, stretched it out the best I could and jogged on.
Our check in at the 5 mile point was 45 minutes. We had severely slowed down and I wasn’t going to stop slowing down at that point because the pains in my knee and hip that were in the right side transferred to the left side and that was such a treat.
I feel like I let Matt down because when he slows down to a 10 minute pace, it physically pains him. When we had two miles left I wanted to tell him just to take off without me.
I don’t know what happened. The cold, perhaps? The lack of high mile runs? Starting too fast, uphill?
Either way, on the car ride home I felt like such a deflated balloon. Two long distance races in a row and I had a horrible time. Not once did I have fun. Not once was I my normal self, cheering and giving thumbs up. Not once did I smile. What I did do was wince in pain, say things like, “ouch, ouch, ouch” and pretty much remained silent for the duration.
I hate that.
We finished in 1:34:51 which was still within our goal.
Matt told me that he was proud of me for toughing it out. For not quitting. And yay for that, really. But I’ve never had such a crappy time at a race than I did yesterday.
And to boot, I had the chills for the next 3 hours, and only after I took an hour nap on the couch did I finally feel warm.
So to drown my sorrows I went to the liquor store where I proceeded to buy two bottles of red wine, a Shiraz-syrah blend and a Zinfandel, made salads and homemade gnocchi, served it up with some homemade tuscan bread and had my friend Jen come over (who paced the 1:45:00 group) and we ate and finished off the wine while talking about anything but how crappy I did at the race.
The wine also took care of the sore.
I’m not beating myself up too badly, but it really was an eye opener. I need to get back to the chiropractor regularly. I need to put in more miles and I need to spend all of my free time on the foam roller.
It’s one thing to tough it out for a race and run through the pain, but I don’t want that to become my life. I love running but if I feel this way during every long distance event, I’m going to stop loving it. Something was completely amiss and I’m going to do my damnedest to figure it out.
So on the upside, I have a PR for a 10 mile race. And now I know what to expect. So next year I plan on earning my medal while ENJOYING the race.