Thursday, September 13, 2012

Race Recap: Defenders Dash 11k

Saturday was a day of firsts for me: I ran a mile warm up before my 11k this morning.  I have never run a warm up of any significant distance before a race.   And then I followed the race up with a mile cool-down.  If only I had stretched, I could call myself a serious athlete.

When I was planning out my marathon training, this week called for a 5k or 10k.   Last year, I ran the Defender Dash 5k, this year they offered an 11k.  I decided it would fit perfectly into my training schedule.   I love this race because its a "race to honor" those who defend and protect (be it military, police, etc).  Being that my dad served in the ARMY, I find it really important to show those who serve and protect how much we appreciate what they do.

The line up was kind of tricky, the 5k and 11k went off at the same time but we were lined up behind the 5kers.  They told us that we would get a seperate horn for our start but that it would be at the same time as the 5k.  Unfortunately, the horn didn't go off as it should have for us so I stort of "stuttered" my start... this will be important later.

Waving to Natalie as she cheers me on!
I started off strong, but tried to remind myself this wasn't a 5k.  It is always easy to get caught up in the excitement of the race and go out too strong.  I felt confident though, and I didn't feel like I was going too fast.  Then I saw my mile 1 split and I knew I had to slow down.  Miles 2 and 3 rolled on by, I was loving my position in the race and I just couldn't seem to bring the pace down.  I was running with/slightly behind a group of 4-5 guys, and there were 3-4 people in front of them and then there was me - so I was holding about 10th place and I was the second female.

Mile 1: 8:02
Mile 2: 7:54
Mile 3: 8:04

Then it hit me, my stomach was revolting against me.  I kind of predicted this before the race, I just knew when I woke up my stomach wasn't going to be kind.  Despite the Immodium my stomach was cramping and I wasn't sure I was going to make it.  Miles 4 and 5 were a combination of me pushing myself as hard as I could for as long as I could and then walking to cope with cramps.  I knew I was falling behind the leaders, but at this point I was still in about 10th place and the second place female.... I was confident that I could hold onto that.

Mile 4: 8:52
Mile 5: 8:51

Then mile 6 hit and I truly for the first time ever in my running career was searching for grass tall enough that I could duck off the course.   I suppose I should be embarassed to admit that, but I think it speaks volumes for how badly I was suffering.  And, it makes me proud to know that I pushed through it and finished the race, even if the last 1.85 miles required much more walking than I was okay with.  Even if I watched not one or two, but four women plus one guy pass me in the last mile or so.  I crossed the finish line and that was a huge victory given the circumstances!

Mile 6: 9:54
Mile 6.85: 8:21 (9:50 pace)

Garmin Time: 59:59 - thats my story and I am sticking to it!
Official time: 1:00.01.9 - this was gun time (remember that "stutter start"... it cost me)

"Finishers Medal"

My age group "coin" for 1st place
Overall: 16/ 42
**First in age group**

The truth is I wasn't sure what to expect.  I ran 13.1 miles the weekend before and I just wasn't feeling in the groove of the race.  I allowed myself to set an "easy goal" of wanting to finish in 1:10 or less, but I knew I really wanted to finish in under an hour.    I missed that goal unfortunately, but I know on that day I gave it everything I had and I couldn't have done much better.   When you nearly "toss your cookies" on the person cutting the timing chip off your shoe you know finished with everything you had...

I wish I could have done better, and in hindsight I do wonder if I had gone out slightly slower those first miles if I couldn't have done a bit better over all.  However, you can't redo a race.. just hope to learn something from this one and move forward!

Would I recommend this race?  ABSOLUTELY!  And here's why.. 
  - awesome race swag: NICE reusable back sack, Ellison cookies (a full pack, from a local bakery and they are YUMMY), "finishers medal" for 11k, nice tech tee (though I doubt that is a womens cut, which they advertised!), age group awards 3 deep in both races
  - well organized, all the volunteers were nice and very encouraging
  - love finishing under the American flag
  - money goes to a great cause
  - its a "challenging" course for the area, you don't get many chances to run hills around here (215 ft gained over 7 miles... pathetic to most of you, but for us Hoosier... challenging!)
  - great post race spread: TONS of water, gatorade, oranges, apples, bananas and granola bars

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on taking first in your age group! Sorry you had stomach trouble along the way though.