I’m fat and out of shape.
After my last race of 2013, I took a break. I sold my home, and I ended up commuting about an hour and a half each way for almost a month. That left little time for running. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a lot of motivation to get out there anyway. Then the worst winter I can ever remember descended on Louisville with round after round of snow, ice and -17 degree temperatures.
If these sounds like weak excuses, it’s because they are.
20 17 pounds heavier (oof) than I was at the end of the 2013 fall season, I started training for the 2014 spring season, beginning with the Anthem 5k two weeks ago.
The Rodes City Run is a 10k road race that makes up the second leg of the Triple Crown of Running. After one more blast of snow and cold temps from (step)Mother Nature, warm winds brought in temperatures that alerted us that spring is hopefully just around the corner. Around 8,000 people were running the race this year, which starts in downtown Louisville and loops around Cave Hill Cemetery. This year’s course would be a bit different due to ongoing bridge construction. Instead of finishing near Slugger Field, the start/finish line were in the same position near The Brown Hotel on Broadway.
The morning was gorgeous with the sun out in full force. I caravanned to the race with some friends and we made our way to the start line. My last racing buddy, Ryan, lined up beside me in the start chute. It was at this point that I remembered that we would be running directly into the sun for the first few miles.
The race started and I really didn’t have a plan. I’m terrible at race strategy. I usually have a good indication of what I want to accomplish – it’s just that I rarely stick with it. I get caught up in the excitement of the race, take off way too fast, and burn out toward the end. As Ryan and I loped along Broadway, I figured I would just try to run somewhere below a 9:00 pace for the first half of the race to save a little for the end.
As I mentioned earlier, my training has been pretty crappy this spring. I tried to make up a missed long run during the week and ended up with tight calves – which were tightening even more as we approached mile 1. Ryan wanted to run faster than I was going, so he pulled away, leaving me with my own mental, on-the-fly strategy planning. I had spotted a girl with poofy hair running just ahead of me at the same pace, so I decided she would be my race rabbit. I named her Fuzzy because her hair was…fuzzy.
My good friend and local running legend, Downtown Tammy Brown, was cheering runners up a hill shortly, so I broke my silence and yelled out to her. My first three mile splits were fairly consistent, hovering around the 8:50 mark. I had also decided to take a forced, 20-second walk at the halfway mark (whether I needed it or not). When I reached 3.1 miles, I made my way to the side of the street and stared at my watch for 20 seconds as I walked as quickly as I could.
The rest of the race was rather uneventful. I stayed slightly behind Fuzzy the whole time (making up some distance after my walk interlude). There was one other woman I noticed. She was a run-walker, those cursed, erratic racers who pass you, gain about 40 yards and then walk. Repeat as many times as necessary to drive you crazy. Only, when she slowed to walk, she would do some kind of move that I can only assume is affiliated with yoga. She would begin by raising her arms above her head and then slowly extend them out to her sides, not caring at all who was beside or coming up behind her. I wanted to get away from her as quickly as possible, but she kept passing me on her 100-yard dashes.
I was maintaining the sub-9:00 and still felt good as I passed the mile 5 marker. I was hoping to put the pedal down and just burn the last mile, but my calves were so tight that I didn’t want to risk injury or something stupid just so I could say I ran a sub-8:00 split. I briefly thought I could hit sub-54:00 for the entire race, so I just ran as steady as I could. I guess Fuzzy had some juice left because she was nowhere in sight.
While the course change didn’t drastically alter the race, it did create a perfectly straight stretch to the finish line that could be seen for about a mile – and the end never seemed to get any closer. Not a fan.
I crossed the line, still feeling good, but slightly disappointed that I wasn’t crushing these spring races. The lesson here – don’t be lazy.
Official time: 54:40
Hey, it’s a PR by four minutes, so I will take that and look forward to the next race.
Until then, keep running, friends.