Thursday, September 28, 2017

Corndog Challenge 5k

Last year was my first year running the Corndog Challenge 5k, read about it here. I was the first female finisher in the challenge so I won 2 megaride passes to the state fair. With a megaride pass you can go to the fair and ride unlimited rides for all 11 days of the fair. The cost of one is $75. Carter had so much fun at the fair, he's been asking me for months when the fair will be coming back and when he gets to go again. Once the information came out about the race, I found out no one else in my family would be able to run it because they were going to be out of town for a wedding that Ty and I weren't going to. I was tempted not to run the race, but I just had to try for the megaride passes for Carter. 
Before the race last year.
I ran 18 miles the Sunday before the race and it didn't go super well and my legs didn't recover as quickly as usual. I went ahead and attempted a 6 mile tempo run that Wednesday. Ty was out of town so I had to run in the evening when Thomas could come over and watch the kids. That meant running in 95 degree temps when I'm used to running in the 60's during the early morning. I was prepared to turn the 6 mile tempo into 4 miles if needed but it started off okay. I planned to run the first mile in 7:30 and then gradually ease the pace down as I went. I was again having trouble with my Garmin telling me the wrong pace. It said I was running 7:40 pace and I told myself if I needed to run a 7:40 first mile to get the whole workout in, then that was what I'd do. Instead I went through the first mile in 7:18. Had I known, I probably would have slowed down and gone out more conservatively to make sure I was able to get the full workout in. I got out to 2 miles and was feeling good so I decided to go ahead and run out to 3 and go for the full 6 mile tempo. But during the 3rd mile I could tell I wasn't going to be able to finish out the full workout and my 4th mile of the tempo was terrible. My legs were burning and I was pushing to finish in 8:05! After that I was really worried about the race on Saturday. My legs weren't recovering well and I was pretty sure the race would be awful. I figured I could run 7:30 pace for the race for sure but was a little skeptical that I'd be able to run anything faster than that. I looked up previous race results for the past 6 years and outside of the last year when I won in just over 21 minutes and another year where the winner broke 20 minutes, the winning time was usually around 23 minutes. I felt pretty confident I could do that.

I usually don't go into races with place goals, I'm always shooting for time goals. You can control your pace, but you can't control who shows up on race day. I hate when I put the pressure on myself to win a race so I can get a certain prize. That backfired at the Runway Run where I hoped to win so I could get a membership for the family. I tried not to do that to myself again but I really wanted to win those megaride passes for Carter. I ran my warm up and then headed to the starting line where I saw a runner I know from lots of other races. I've always beat her but our times are close and I figured with my legs being fatigued, it might be close. I saw her bib was for the 5k so I knew I didn't need to worry about her. Then as they prepared to shoot the gun a tall, skinny girl who looked to be high school age came up toward the front. I glanced over to see which bib she was wearing and saw her shirt said "Oklahoma Meet of Champions" which means she was either a state champion or runner up in track or cross country. Then I saw her bib was for my race. I knew there was a slim chance that I could beat her. As we took off she shot out in a commanding lead and I tried to hold back and go out conservatively because I didn't want to crash and burn especially with having to eat a caramel apple, drink a mimosa, and eat a chicken and waffle!

For the first mile the Meet of Champions girl was out in front with a few guys around her. Then there was the lady I know from other races and her friend close behind her and I was a little ways back from them. The caramel apple station was set up wonderfully and the volunteers did a great job. They handed the cup with the caramel apple slice in it to me and I was able to grab it and continue running. It took me a while to get the whole apple slice down and I'd say I worked on it for a good quarter-mile or so. I went through the first mile in 6:48 and passed the woman closest to me. She was in the regular 5k. During the 2nd mile I started really catching up to the lady in front of me but I also knew she was in the regular 5k so I wasn't too worried about catching her. We went through the mimosa/orange juice stop and they were set up so far out off the course that I didn't even notice them. My 2nd mile was 6:59. Around that point I passed the lady in front of me. I could see the top girl had at least a minute lead on me. I figured I could kill myself trying to catch her and probably not do it or I could focus on maintaining the gap that way if she threw up or something, maybe I could catch her. I wasn't pushing really hard but I didn't let up either, I'd say I was maintaining my effort.

I started wondering when we were going to hit the mimosa station because I hadn't seen it yet. It wasn't until I was approaching the chicken and waffle station that I realized I must've missed it. The chicken and waffle station was set up oddly as well. They were set up on a curve and as I was turning the corner they were on the inside of the curve. Instead of handing me the chicken and waffle, they just held out the tray and I grabbed one. The chicken fell out of the cup so I ran back and actually had to stop to get the new cup. I was determined to try the chicken and waffle though and I was glad I had because it was so good! The breading on the chicken was sweet almost like it had some syrup in it and I really enjoyed it. I had an even harder time getting it down than the apple, especially because I missed the drink stop so my mouth was dry. I didn't swallow the last bite of it until I was rounding the turn to the finish line. My last mile was 7:26 but I know would have been faster had I gotten my chicken and waffle passed off to me a little better. I was pleased that even on tired legs and eating food I was still able to finish in under 22 minutes with a time of 21:51.

I ran my cool down and tried not to be too discouraged I hadn't won. I was just disappointed that I had placed 2nd overall in the race but wouldn't get the megaride passes even though I beat the top male who would get megaride passes and I had beat the top female in the regular 5k who would also get megaride passes. I knew on fresh legs I may have been able to keep up with the top female but I also knew she likely would have outkicked me at the finish if I had. I didn't realize how disappointed I was to not have won Carter megaride passes until I got home and saw Ty and started crying. I know it was silly to cry over not winning a race, but I was just so disappointed I wouldn't get to experience the fun of the fair with Carter again like we had last year. It was so much fun! I was quickly able to let the loss go and focus on other things but in the moment it was a big disappointment. I was 2nd out of 208 overall, 2nd out of 128 females, and 1st out of 31 in my age group.

I was impressed with how quickly my legs recovered from the race. I never really felt sore and decided to go ahead with my planned 15 mile long run the following day. I was solo for the run since Thomas had just gotten back to town the night before. I was a little bummed to be alone so I decided to try out a different route from the house that I knew would be decently hilly. I figured it would be good practice for the Route 66 which has some decent hills. The course ended up having 1,350 feet of elevation gain! I really enjoyed myself though and felt like all the hills made it more fun. I was so glad to be able to get my long run in the day after a race and am excited for my first 20 miler this weekend!