I’m not a fan of being unprepared when it comes to racing. I know there are some who like to race “for fun” but my version of fun typically involves racing fast and running well. Racing is hard enough as it is and I don’t need a little voice in my head telling me I can’t do it or I’m not ready when things get tough. I want to head to the starting line feeling calm and confident in my training and ability. But if you’ve been running long enough you know it doesn’t always happen that way.
When my foot started bothering me over a month ago I knew immediately I had to take a significant step back in my training. It was time. I’d had a pretty intense spring racing season with two marathons as well many other races (14 in total) and my body needed a break. And I’ll be honest- I hate taking breaks which is why I tend to race year-round. There were two Grand Prix races that I kept putting off in my mind because I didn’t know how I would handle them. A smarter, more mature runner would have probably scrapped the idea of summer racing all together but I held on to these two races because they were the last ones before the summer break in the Grand Prix schedule. My oldest son wants to complete Iron Runner with me this year (I did this with my daughter last year) so I didn’t have to race it. I just needed to complete the 2 mile and 1 mile race no matter what pace. I gave myself the option of running them with one of the kids.
My workouts leading up to the 2 mile race consisted mostly of cross training: biking at the gym (5-16 miles), strength training, and a few pool sessions. My runs were low in mileage (1-5 miles) on the turf at the football field. I knew I wasn’t ready for a strong race performance so I asked my kids if they wanted me to run with them. They all wanted to run their own race, even Ashton so I decided I might as well just go for it. It was only 2 miles and it would give me an idea of where I was.
Arkansas Runner 2 Mile
Location: Benton, AR
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2017
We left our house around 5:30 and got to the race around 6:45. This was the first year the Arkansas Runner 2 Mile was at its new location by the new city sports complex. The facilities were perfect with plenty of parking and restrooms. I warmed up 2 miles with my friend and teammate Beverly. I did a few strides and my foot was feeling ok. Not in pain but just off. Then it was time to head to the starting line. I really had no idea what to expect pace-wise. Could I break 13 minutes? 12 minutes? I’ve never cross trained this much before a race so I didn’t know where I was or what would be realistic. One of my favorite things about running in the Arkansas Grand Prix series is getting to race with many of the same runners. I know the ones I tend to pace with and it really helps. So for this race I lined up next to the usual crowd and figured I’d try and stay with them as long as possible.
Mile 1- 5:40. I couldn’t believe the first mile felt so easy. The cooler (mid 60’s) weather definitely helped. Once I saw my one mile split my first thought was about the upcoming mile race. I was also unsure about what to do in that one but I thought if I could run a 5:40 split in a 2 mile race surely I could put together a decent 1 mile time.
Mile 2- 5:55. I definitely slowed down this mile which had a lot to do with my fitness level and lack of running. The mile started with an incline and at one point I looked at my current mile pace and my watch said 6:20-something. I focused on picking it up and at least getting it under 6. There was a nice long downhill in the last quarter mile which really helped because I was fading fast. In the last 30 seconds at least 4 guys passed me which would have normally bothered me more than it did. I was honestly surprised I was able to hold on as long as I was.
Official Finish Time- 11:47 (3rd OA Female). Results can be found here.
When I finished I immediately started to head back to find the kids. Abi finished in 14:31. Rocky finished in 16:54. Anna finished in 17:49. Ashton finished in 22:22.
All things considered I’m really happy with how this one went. I was glad I decided to go ahead and race it. Of course I would have preferred being healthy, trained and ready because I think I could have given my current PR a run for its money but I’ll try again next year. I know cross training really helped maintain my fitness (much more than I thought it would). I’m proud of the kids for all wanting to run on their own and doing their best. The short races on the Grand Prix schedule are perfect for kids and this was a good one. Our entire family ran for $30 and that included t-shirts! The Saline County Striders do an excellent job with this race and I’m looking forward to running it again next year- hopefully healthy!