Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thursday already?!

It's been little over a month since I resigned from my job as a newspaper reporter. The plan was to relax for three months and not work, but instead, travel, catch up with friends, organize my files at home, and perhaps do some freelance writing. Then, in the third month, I would start looking for a new job, and preparing for an upcoming move to California (you read that right) later this year.

Some of that happened. I spent three weeks in the last month traveling. To Hawaii. To California.

Then work found me. Since Monday, I've been working 9-6 as a consultant at a communications firm downtown. That's why you haven't heard from me lately. I'll be doing this for the next two months. Possibly longer.

This is a good step. Just one I have to get used to. Different company. Different office environment. Different colleagues.

But you're not here to read about what's going on in my work life. So herewith, a quick breakdown of my experience at the GW Parkway Classic 10-Miler this past Sunday.

Start: My friend, P., and I, were towards the front of the pack. Not with the elites, mind you. But 5-6 rows back from the front. I later realized, too late, that this was still too far forward.

I had to wear a New Balance outfit and my new New Balance running shoes as I was a PR Challenger. However, even though the shorts and shirt were a women's small, they were still too big. As was the cap I was given. I looked like one of Jerry's Kids. That's me and P. at the end of the race, in the photo (credit: Jeanne).

My race goal was 1:20 or under, which I thought was easily doable. The plan was to run 8:00-miles for the first few miles, then gradually quicken my pace to 7:50 or 7:45 for the last 7 miles. I had just taken a cross-country red-eye flight the day before to make it to the race. But I felt OK. Not too jet-lagged. (Foreshadowing!)

Miles 1-3: The first mile I ticked off in 7:16. I did a double-take. That mile must've been short, I thought. (It wasn't.) It didn't feel fast. I tried to slow down, and many people passed me. The second mile was 7:39. Damn it! I slowed down even further, as I did not want to get too tired in the later miles from jumping out too fast. The third mile was 8:04. Better. Still ... I ended up running the first 5K almost a minute faster than my 5K PR. Not good.

Miles 4-7: I held steady at 8:00 miles even though folks continued to stream past me. The course was bucolic, right by the Potomac, and the mild spring morning was perfect running weather. At Mile 6, my legs started getting heavy, and by Mile 7, I struggled mightily to maintain pace. I also hadn't grabbed any water yet, and my throat was parched. The sun gave me headache and my stomach started to hurt. I was frustrated with myself.

Miles 7.5-10: I finally stopped at a water station to gulp down some water. I tried to take a GU but coughed it up. My stomach really, really hurt. So I ducked behind a tree and peed. That's only the second time I've ever had to stop in a race to use the bathroom. Or in this case, a tree. I wasted at least two minutes doing all of this.

By Mile 8, my legs felt like anvils. I could barely lift them off the ground. My pace had slowed considerably down to 8:30's. I saw a friend handing out water at the next water station, and she cheered for me. I just made a face and kept running.

By Mile 9, with the crowds in force now, I was utterly spent. Humbled, I just concentrated on finishing. I tried running faster in the last quarter-mile, and my legs, which had cramped painfully, felt a little better. I crossed in 1:23:38. More than 3 1/2 minutes off my goal time. But much better than my previous 10-Mile PR, way back in 2005, which was 1:31:06.

Good enough. For now.


  1. Congrats on a fabulous PR! I occasionally visit your running blog; your race reports are a delight to read! Wishing you continued success in running, writing, and life...

  2. Sorry to hear the finish was so miserable. Sounds like you were tired and dehydrated, on top of going out too fast... or you could just blame it on the too-big gear ;-)

    Anyway, congratulations on the new gig!

  3. You are so tough it is amazing. The way you manage to run through cramps, stomach aches and heavy legs is really inspring.

    Congratulations on your PR.

    As a Mom I feel compelled to point out that it appears you need a change in diet. Perhaps a few more calories and maybe a bit more carbohydrate (the good ones!), especially before a race. Ben and Jerry's doesn't count.

  4. ooo.. and where in California? North or South? Am I going to get an opportunity to steal Jeanne's coach from her??

  5. Nice job on the PR! That's a huge amount of time to take off! Next time I guess you'll take it out a little bit slower and finish faster?

  6. awesome time! you are so tiny for a small to be too small :)

  7. I noticed your bib number was only 1508 rungs lower than P's. I hope you pointed that out to him :-)

    Good luck preparing for your move to CA. Time to look up marathons on the west coast. Have you run your last MCM?

  8. Yes -- where in CA?

    I already saluted your PR, but from the description, you deserve another. Stomach cramps are the worst.

  9. too late on the water and fuel. that's my two cents.

    pr is a pr though. take it.

    glad to hear somebody found you to keep you employed on the east coast.

  10. you suck for moving...and you were EN FUEGO on sunday! nice job even with the too-big outfit.

  11. Fantastic times! It's hard not going out to fast. Your times are still awesome (even with the pee break)

    (i didn't leave the first comment)

  12. A PR is a PR is a PR... 9 minute at that! Congrats! I wonder what you can do while properly hydrated. The West Coast is eagerly awaiting you :o)

  13. All in a day's work, huh? Quit job. Vacation in Hawaii. PR by 8 minutes. Move to California.

    How are we gonna defend our title at the Lower Potomac River Marathon Relay?

  14. Great 5K PR! But you must have been hurting big time at the end. I've made that same mistake of taking off with the really fast people with the same results.

    On the plus side, you know you can really push much harder on your next 5K and not blow up.

  15. that's cool that you can take time off like that. more power to you and look at the new place as a new experience to learn from i guess!

  16. Congrats on the PR!!! It is so good to set a new high mark for yourself.

    Massage Chair

  17. Way to go Bex! That is a HUGE PR!