Well, this isn’t the first race I have done since surgery but it’s certainly the first one that I can even say I was SOMEWHAT fit to race. For those of you who don’t know what the Paris Mtn. Road Race is, it’s a 12.4 (20km) run that starts out with mile 2 going up and over Paris Mountain. I did this race last year, and swore I would never do it again. Last year I decided to go in blind and not really know what climbing for that long was like. I didn’t do too bad last year considering it was a training day. Last year I finished in 1:44:07 and 3rd in my age group (25-29). Boy were those the days . . . I was in an easy age group, still had a tailbone, life was grand. Just kidding! Anyway, back to this year. I was somewhat trained for this race and actually did my first training run up the mountain last weekend. I took it slow, and just wanted to make it to the top without walking. I was successful at the no walking on the training day, but not so much on race day. I remember thinking last weekend that I had lost my mind yet again.
Race morning was pretty cold, but most of us crammed into Forrest and Regina’s Xterra and passed the time by picking on each other. You know, I just realized that I must like to punish myself. Sitting in a car being harassed and picked on, running up a mountain that is 3 miles uphill. Wow, what a revelation. Anyway, I had my ipod confiscated (Forrest) before the start so I remember hearing all the nervous chatter. I just wanted to go crawl back into the car and pretend that I did the race so fast everyone just missed seeing me. That was not going to be the case.
The gun went off and I started the garmin. I really wanted to start out easy because I remembered how the mountain can kill the last part of the race. You may have a huge uphill and huge downhill, but after that you also have tons of rolling hills with a long incline up poinsett to finish. I didn’t do too bad up the mountain, but I did allow myself the pleasure of walking 3 times for 10 seconds per walk. I used to train Jeff Galloway style and know from experience that if my heart rate gets a little too high if I walk for a few I can recover and get back to my pace. This strategy allowed me to get to the top, and then to the bottom without overdoing it. I have to say I was passing some people from mile 7 to 10. I was starting to really feel good, which I didn’t expect. About mile 10 I started using positive affirmations because I know the last bit isn’t a lot of fun. There were a couple more hills where I took the 10 second walk again which I wasn’t happy to be doing but whatever keeps me moving forward. By mile 11 I allowed myself to look at the garmin and see my pace, 8:23. This would be cutting it close to come on target for making the same time as last year, but I was sure going to try. By mile 12 I knew that I wasn’t going to make it. I saw that I was at 1:41 with .4 miles to go, and I didn’t have it left to push. It was truly all I could do finish without walking again. I did finish, and I was kind of proud of myself. This is the closest I have been to being back to normal. I am not there yet, but there is still hope and that’s what I needed. I finished in 1:45:17 and was 7th in my new and competitive age group (30-34).
Tons of people did a great job on Saturday. Jeff had a PR of 1:43, Regina made her goal finishing in under 2 hours, Lisa finished feeling good, Susan finished without laying in the middle of the road, and an old Team in Training athlete Jolene Parker did a stellar job for her first Paris Mountain run!