Friday, August 17, 2018

Blue Moon 10k

Going into the Blue Moon 10k on August 11th I hoped to beat my time from the Starry Night 10k in June. I knew I was in better shape than I had been in June but I'd also started speed work and harder workouts which meant my legs wouldn't be as fresh. The kids and I traveled to St. Louis the weekend before and I spent 6 hours in the car after running a 16 mile long run workout which meant my legs didn't recover as well after that run. I was feeling intimidated by the shorter repeats with speed work so I decided on a ladder the Tuesday before the race. It didn't dawn on me until later that I had gone from about 3 miles of running hard within a speed workout to 5 miles of running hard. So needless to say, my legs weren't feeling very fresh going into the race. That morning we had an appointment for Harper because we'd found some lumps in her abdominal area. We found out she had lymphoma and had months (likely weeks) to live. So along with being physically exhausted, I was emotionally exhausted going into the race. I didn't realize how tired my body was until I laid down with Carter at naptime and actually fell asleep laying there with him. I still hoped to run faster than June and secretly hoped I might be able to sneak under 44 minutes, but I gave myself the grace to fail. I knew there was a chance the race wasn't going to be pretty and I wasn't going to let a bad race throw me further into sadness. The race would be what it was. Harper's cancer put things in perspective a little bit. It was hard to focus on a race when I knew my dog was dying.
Wearing our cute race shirts.
Thomas and I planned to turn the race into a shorter long run. We did a 2 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down. We ran a mile before the start of the fun run, watched the kids start the race, and then ran another mile. I normally have no problem getting a mile in before Carter finishes. This time as I was jogging back up toward the finish line I heard the announcer say, "Come on, get the guy in the yellow shirt," encouraging someone to pick it up at the end. I knew Carter was wearing a yellow shirt and thought, surely he'd not talking about Carter. But then I rounded the corner and saw Carter sprinting it in, holding off a woman running behind him. I was so shocked! He finished in 10:17, destroying his previous fastest finish by about 40 seconds!!!! I took Carter to get his ice cream and then was surprised to see Elise coming toward the finish line running. My mom was with her and said not only had Elise not turned around early, like she usually does, but she had also run the entire race! It was the first time she'd ever run the full mile without at least walking, most the time she was carried for part of it. I was blown away when she crossed the finish line in 12:28! I was so pumped after watching them both do such a great job. I had been a bit down and not really looking forward to my race. When I saw them finish it gave me enough of a boost that I thought, maybe it's a good evening for running fast times! I didn't feel like wearing my tutu or my light up vest but I also didn't want to deal with 5k runners not seeing me so I decided to wear them anyway. As I turned my vest on at the finish line it was blinking red which meant it was almost out of battery and barely lighting up. I kicked myself for not checking earlier since it was too late to take it off now.
Carter ready for the start.
Carter off and running.

Elise started off running while holding her Oma's hand.
Carter finishing strong!
He saw that lady later in the evening and said to her, "Hey, I beat you!"
Elise running an awesome race!

Elise was excited to see us!

Jeremy, Thomas, and I were all running the 10k. We took off at the start and my legs just felt a little off. I was surprised that Jeremy and a few women were all quite a ways ahead of me from the start. Normally I get off the start a little better. Thomas was next to me. I knew I'd gone out in 6:48 for the first mile at the Starry Night and had felt great. I hoped to go out a little more conservatively but was a little worried that the pace didn't feel super easy and relaxed like it had the last time. Around the mile mark I passed the first female. I went through the first mile in 6:57. I knew that was 9 seconds slower than my first mile in June but was 9 seconds under 7:06 pace, which was the overall pace I was hoping to beat. During the 2nd mile I felt like I was getting into a good rhythm and I caught up to Jeremy, running beside him for a bit before he pulled away again. My 2nd mile was 7:05. I was excited because that was 9 seconds faster than the 2nd mile of my race in June which meant I was even with my time in June and I knew I had some wiggle room as I'd run a 7:21 for my 4th mile in that race and I was confident I could hold it together better this time. My 3rd mile was super consistent with a 7:04 split. A little before the turn around the battery inside my light up tutu flew out of the skirt. I thought about turning around to get it, but figured it was broken and there was no point in losing time in the race over it. I found it ironic that I hadn't wanted to wear it and now it wasn't working! As I made the turn around I told myself that my 4th mile is always my slowest at this race and if I wanted to beat my time from June, I needed to hold steady this mile and not add too much time.

Waving to the kids who stayed to watch us start.
I started gaining on a couple of guys running in front of me during mile 4. My miles split for that mile was 7:14 which was 7 seconds faster than June so I was pleased. Once I hit mile 5 I told myself it was go time. I caught the 2 guys ahead of me and zoomed past the first one. When I went to pass the 2nd one he took off. The trail we run on is gravel. In the first 1.5 miles of the race it's packed down really well, likely because it gets more use, but the rest of the race the gravel is looser. There are paths on the right and left sides that get more use so as long as you are running in one of those, you are fine. The middle is harder to run on because the gravel is bigger and will roll out from under you. When I went around to pass I was running on that part of the trail. I moved back over and caught back up to him. This time as I went to go around he kept with me so I had to stay on the middle section of the trail. I debated whether I should move over and get behind him or not, but I was focused on time and didn't want to slow down, losing momentum. I could see we were coming up on the turn around for the 5k and I got excited because I knew that meant we just had a mile and a half to go.

I went through mile 5 in 6:57 which I was happy with. I knew I was 15 seconds under pace and as along as I could run 7:08 or under I would beat my time from June. I also knew if I could run a strong last mile, I could run under 44 minutes. I kept catching up the guy in front of me and he'd take off, then slow down so I 'd catch him again, over and over. It was exhausting. I tried to stay mentally focused but I really started to feel how much my heart wasn't in the race during that last mile. I wanted to tough it out but I also wanted to give up. I really felt like I was pushing enough to be where I needed to be and was surprised and discouraged when my mile split popped up as 7:16. I knew I'd blown most of my lead on my time from June and I didn't have much of a chance of running under 44. Instead of fighting harder, I gave up. I let the guy in front of me go. Then when we rounded the corner so I could see the finish line I kicked it into high gear. I saw the clock was just under 44 minutes so I knew there was no way I'd be under 44 but I was pretty certain I would beat my time from June. I ran the last section of the race in 6:39 pace and was disappointed when I stopped my watch and saw I'd finished in 44:13, just one second faster than June. I'd had a 15 second lead on my time going into the last mile and had only run 8 seconds slower that last mile, so I expected to be a little more under my time than that. I think the difference was running the tangents better in June because my Garmin had registered 6.22 in June and 6.24 in August. I know I had a harder time running the tangents this time around so that likely cost me a few seconds. Either way I'd averaged 7:05 pace compared to 7:06 pace at the June race. At least I had a much better race this year than at the Blue Moon 10k last year!
Jeremy sprinting past a 5k finisher.
My tutu rode up so bad the whole race. It was driving me nuts!
Thomas looked awesome finishing!
I watched Thomas finish and he looked awesome! I'd predicted he'd finish around 7:15 pace and he finished in 7:19 pace so I did a pretty good job guessing. His last mile was also his slowest and by a considerable amount which made me feel a lot better. He said weaving through all the 5k runners had slowed him down. It had me too but I've gotten used to it after running the 10k at this race so many times so I didn't notice it too much. I also got to watch mom finish the 5k looking great! I was tired but didn't feel too bad. I asked Thomas if he was ready to run our cool down and he grimaced because right as I asked that his hamstring started to cramp up. We walked around for a bit before running our 2 mile cool down. It may have been the slowest cool down I've ever run because Thomas' legs were cramping but I didn't mind. It was nice to talk over our races and discuss Harper with him as we ran. I had dealt with some burning in my throat during the race which almost felt like heart burn but I hadn't really eaten much that day because I'd been sick to my stomach over Harper's diagnosis. The last thing I ate was half an avocado smashed up and spread on a piece of toast. Thomas said he'd had the same problem and he thought it was because there was newly mowed grass in the area. That would make sense since we are both allergic to grass and had the same issue.
Dad finishing the 5k.
Mom finishing the 5k.
We stayed for awards. They did the 5k awards first. Dad placed 2nd in his age group and 33rd out of 240 overall with a time of 24:09. Mom also finished 2nd in her age group with a time of 33:33 and was 118th overall. Jeremy ran an awesome race, beating his time from June by about 20 seconds. He was 2nd out of 80 overall and 1st in his age group with a time of 43:30. I was first female and 5th overall with a time of 44:13. Thomas ran a 10k PR in his 2nd ever 10k with a time of 45:39. He was 3rd in his age group and 8th overall. It was neat to see Jeremy and Thomas in the same age group again so they were in the age group award photo together. I feel like on a different day I could have run a lot better but I was pleased with how well I toughed this race out given all the negative variables I was working with. I had given up a bit in the last mile but I don't know that I could have done much else. I know on a flat road race 10k I could run under 44 minutes right now, but this just isn't a fast course even though it is relatively flat.


  1. I am super impressed with Elise running the whole mile! You also had a fantastic race under the circumstances - our bodies don't distinguish types of stress, so when you have life stress playing into things on top of training stress, it's all additive. I am a little sad I didn't race the 5K at this one because I could have worn my visibility vest for it. When mine turns red for low battery I always feel like it's angry at me, haha!

    1. Elise blew me away! I know she can run a whole mile with little breather breaks but she's never run a whole mile straight before! That would have been awesome if you'd run it. It is fun to wear the vest for the evening races.