Friday, October 24, 2014

Race Report: Tufts 10k for Women 2014

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves.  It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go.  It helps us to find out what we are made of.  This is what we do.  This is what it’s all about.”
~PattiSue Plummer, U.S. Olympian

This “Quote of the Day” was delivered to my inbox on Tuesday, the day after the Tufts 10k for Women.  The timing couldn’t have been better.  The Tufts 10k did not go as planned.  Things happen in life to throw us off course.  I am not good with that.  I am a planner.  I plan for a reason.  Everything in my training has a purpose.  When I got sick and then started to lose sleep and regularly skip runs because of my new puppy, I fell into my own evil trap: my motivation decreases, my enthusiasm lowers, and I am a huge negative self talker coming up with all the reasons why I should skip the race.  I knew it was happening but I could not win the mental battle.

When I was first employed at Cape Cod Rehab, I took the StrengthsFinders 2.0 test.  It’s a really cool activity that we still continue as part of employee orientation.  The gist is that the test finds and teaches you how to focus on your strengths rather than weaknesses.  The reason I am bringing this up is that my #3 strength was “Competition.”  It may be my strength but I also feel like it’s my weakness.  I am so competitive within myself that if I know I am not where I’m supposed to be at in my training or if I know I’m not going to perform well, I don’t even want to try.  It’s pathetic really.  Running is fun.  Some runs are better than others.  We all have bad days.  As long as you have fun doing it, there is no reason to skip the race!  You may even surprise yourself!  (Which I usually end up doing!  #noexcuses right?!)

A couple of texts and phone calls from my mom and dad made me change my mind and head up to Boston on Monday morning.  I was bumming because I left my pup at home (even though my awesome mom went over to let her out and feed her) and that I was going alone.  It was a super easy drive into the city.  I parked in the Commons parking garage—very convenient.  I picked up my number and long sleeve shirt.  Walked around a little.  Found a spot on the curb and rested for a while.  Went back to my car to change into my racing flats and pack away the unnecessary items.  Then I hit up the porta potties and headed to the start line.

I was surprised at the elites running.  Tufts 10k serves as the Women’s 10k Championships on the U.S. circuit but there was little to no PR about the women in this year's race.  Sarah Hall was there (she ran a PR); Jordan Hassay was there (she ended up winning); and other elites Emily Infeld, Tara Erdmann, Jen Rhines, Carrie Tollefson & Joan Benoit were there.

The overall race was great.  I tried desperately to take in all the sights and sounds and allow all the women around me to lift my spirits and inspire me.  My race was not so great.  It hurt.  It hurt a lot.  My legs felt ok but my lungs were suffering.  I coughed quite a bit.  Before I got sick, I hoped to run under 7 minute pace.  My race day goal turned into “just finish.”  The course was relatively flat.  It’s pretty cool because there are some parts where the elites are running on the other side of the road.  It sent a (very brief) burst of motivation through me.  Mile 4 was tough.  I self talked myself into finishing the 4th mile, stopping my watch and walking to the finish.  When I hit the 4 mile marker, I mentally couldn’t let myself quit.  It was miserable but I couldn’t stop.  I thought if I held on to my pace I would be right around the 7 minute per mile pace.  I tried playing the ABC game down Commonwealth Avenue but just like 2010, I got them all wrong.  All I had left was one more right hand turn and a couple of lefts and the finish line was in sight.  Crossing the finish line was a sign of relief but this was the first race that I’ve ever run that I thought that the medical staff was going to approach me.  It took me a minute to get my bearings then I headed through the food tent and grabbed as much goodies that would fit into my free Star Market tote bag.

The rest of the day my lungs felt like I just finished an indoor race at the Reggie Lewis Center.  I made a quick stop at Pinkberry and Whole Foods on the way home to Treat Yo Self.  I love the Tufts 10k for Women slogan: Start Strong, Finish Stronger.  I may not have felt “stronger” crossing the finish line, but I felt great when I got to the Derby Street Shops!

10/11/10 – 51:40
10/13/14 – 43:26 (108, 51/ 963 F2029, 43:26, 7:00, Jen Skiba 28 F)

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