After 3-1/2 months off from running and racing, I have finally returned. For the first time in as long as I can remember I woke up with butterflies in my stomach...what's up with that? I think it was a mix of noting being up so early to run on a Saturday in a while, and the thought of getting out there and running again - uncertain of the outcome and how my foot would handle.
After a tame winter laced with 60* temps and warm weather running, mother nature blew in an Arctic front for race day. Race time temp was 18*, 16mph winds, and wind chill of around 4*. Wow, hello winter. I over bundled so I could stay nice and warm till race time (and through the race if I chickened out of my running tights). After check-in, warm up mile, and some stretching I decided I could be strong and ditch the warm-up pants. After all I have run in much colder then that before, just not this year. And in the end - I was happy that I ditched the pants, while my legs were a bit numb at the end of the race - they would have been burning if I hadn't.
I decided to do the race like a long run (it was a 5 mile race and I had 6 on slate for the day, so worked out great) and test out the galloway method in a race. See how I handled it mentally to stop and walk as I was passing people. I ended up lining up at the very back (bad idea) and spent the first mile picking off runners on a small paved path, wide enough for 3 people. It was slow going, lots of running on the grass, and quickly passing when there was a break in on-coming traffic. Since I was running so slow (around 10:45 pace) for that first bit, I ditched the walk breaks in lieu of trying to gain a little more ground and not lose it. Finally at 1.5 miles, I was able to shed enough people that I felt comfortable settling into my pace and intervals. The path was rolling hills (see steep ups and downs, great for the quads and hammies...). I did what I do best and pushed up the hills and floated down the back side. Each 1 minute break came at a great time on the hills - usually at the crest so I could catch my breath for a moment. I didn't really pay attention to the pace I was running or walking. I knew for galloway to work you had to push your running pace more then normal to make up for the walking so I pushed outside of my comfort zone just a tad, but that was all. Not knowing where I was going or how the trail laid out, I really had no clue how far into each mile I was - so it kept me guessing and from getting bored on the run. I did start feeling fatigued around mile 4 so I pulled back the pace just a tad, but not too much. I knew I only had 2 intervals left and I had no intention of walking at the finish line so I knew I needed to make each step count.
The last 1/2 mile was a killer. You passed by the finish line as you went out on a loop - really, that close to a heater and you make me run another 1/2 mile???? I didn't think I would ever make it, but I finally made it to the last turn and headed to the finish. My lack of speed work kept me from sprinting to the end, but I did end at exactly 49:00! Nice.
One look at my splits below, and I can't help but smile. It's amazing what type of speed you can put in each interval when you walk every 4 minutes. And I was able to make a game out of it towards the end, picking out the person I wanted to catch before the next walk - knowing they would pass me again momentarily but then I would be back off. I think if I can keep myself away from the idea of being passed is bad, then this might really work in Dallas - I'm excited to try it out on a longer race!!