I went down to the Westfield 10k for the Boys and Girls Club in MA for the first race of the year. I did Montague last year- but it was small and quite a difficult course. I was tempted to see how much I would have improved on that course, but the flat course in Westfield was a sure PR...and I was right. This was also a small, no frills race and I had to go solo as Greg was running the Millenium Mile, but the weather was great and I desparately needed a good workout after a couple weeks of lethargy.
I got there early and did a 2+ mile warmup on the course. It's an out and back and on the way out there is a slight climb for awhile before it levels out...then you get to come back the downhill grade. This felt good even on the warmup.
There were only about 125 people between the two races (there was also a 5K). The race starts in the road -which isn't closed to traffic and they mentioned there wasn't any traffic control on the course so "be careful"...nice. I went out mid pack and tried to stay relaxed. I started to pick people off at about the mile mark and then the 5kers hit their turnaround so I could see who was left. I passed a few more people through the second and third miles. I wasn't particularly thrilled with my 5K split of 24:33 at the turnaround, but was encouraged to see how many people were behind me and that only 2 females were ahead (although way ahead). Anyway, I knew it was level and downhill from here so I just tried to keep pace and prayed the last couple females I passed on the way up weren't closing the gap. I did the second 5K in 23:38 for a 48:11 finish (7:46 pace) and a 2:44 PR. I was pretty consistent per mile and even had a little kick at the end when i saw the clock under 48 minutes on my way into the finish...unfortunately I have good eyesight and that quickly ticked away. No one passed me the entire race. At a point around 4 miles I realized I really didn't need to be huffing and puffing like I was and could just relax and probably run faster - this is what I mean about getting tougher this year! I might have been holding back worried I would poop out, but this is stuff I can only learn with experience.
I'm not sure what this race tells me. Maybe Greg and the boys will have some insight. I still haven't mapped out my races for the year other than focusing on the shorter races to get faster. However, I like to keep the Half Marathons in my schedule - they're my favorite! I will put the full marathon off another year to get stronger, but it does cross my mind every other day.
This week- get organized! Put together more strength circuits and pack down my snowshoe "track" in the yard and try to get out in Pisgah! Most importantly, figure out what's next! It's a process....and I love it!