Saturday morning I woke up extra early, met up with Amy, and headed out to Peninsula for the Flap Jack & Jill 15k. I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I’d never run a 15k before, but since I had to get the miles in, I went for it. Originally my goal was to stay at 9:20 pace for the 15k and follow it up with an additional 3-5 miles at a much slower pace.
Amy and I made our way to the parking lot and didn’t realize how far we’d have to walk to get our bib and shirt. So naturally I left my water, iPod and sport beans in the car, thinking we’d have time to get them. Nope! By the time we picked up our shirt and used the port-a-pot, we didn’t have enough time to run the 3/4 mile to the car and the 3/4 mile back. So we decided to forget it, and met up with Jeanne instead.
We lined up and were ready to go. We were near the front so we were quickly pulled with the rest of the pack. After about a quarter of a mile people started to spread out, but we were still at a quick pace. I tried to take in the views since I’d never run that part of CVNP before.
The course was relatively flat and easy on the legs. Still going at a faster speed that I was ready for we started to slow down a bit. The sun was starting to come out and things started to get a little toasty.
We continued on the path, feeling really good. I started to wonder when my legs would get tired, but they kept up. It wasn’t until later into mile 3 or 4 that we started to see the first runners on their way back. I always think this helps to distract me from the run and pull me along the course.
The further we went, the better the views were and we even managed to take a few photos on the run.
Seriously, the views were beautiful.
Before the turn around point I grabbed a bit of water, just to make sure I was staying hydrated. I was still feeling really good despite the pace we were running. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep it up, but I went with it.
We continued to talk throughout our run and managed to keep a relatively close pace for each mile. The sun was still out and we could see a few runners making their way to the turnout point. It wasn’t until mile 6 that my hips started to get a little sore. I’m not sure if it was my hips or the fact we were more in the woods so everything looked the same, but that mile felt like it went on forever. I could feel my energy starting to sink, but knew I only had a little over a 5k left, so I had to hold on.
Once we got to mile 7, I knew I could handle 2 more miles. I kept forgetting about the extra .3, or maybe I was mentally trying to ignore that it would be there. Amy shared a Honey Stinger Chew and it was exactly what I needed to boost my energy.
My legs were starting to feel the pain my hips had and I felt like I was dragging both Amy and Jeanne down. Once we got to mile 8 I knew I could get some water and stretch so I kept my focus on that. Amy pulled ahead of us, and Jeanne and I kept up the pace before stopping for water and a stretch.
I thought I had grabbed water, but it turned out to be some sort of sugar water. Not what I wanted, but it was something. We stayed for a bit to stretch, but didn’t wait too long before heading back on the trail. At this point I knew I wanted to be done. My legs were toast and I didn’t know how I was going to get back. There were a number of times that I wanted to just sit down and stop, but knew I couldn’t give up.
It was probably around this point that I decided that instead of 12-14 long miles, today would end up being another trial. I wanted to find out if the Hermes 10 was a fluke, if I really could run fast. I was running at almost race pace for the 15k, just 12 hours after running my best 5k in over 4 years. If anything I wanted to see how much I could push myself on dead legs, to see how I could handle mile 10-13 of a sub 2 attempt. It may not be logical, but at the time, it was the only thing getting me to the finish.
When we reached the last mile marker, I was excited to be almost done, but knew we still had a ways to go. I tried to kick in it as much as I could, but I struggled to get my legs to turn over. Jeanne and I started to spread out a bit, but I did whatever I could to keep her in my sight. We rounded off the trail and came up the driveway, and I gave it everything I could to finish the race.
Last .34-9:17 pace
I was exhausted, tired and sore, but I was happy for how I had raced. I finished my first 15k, and averaged a 9:14 pace, something I never thought I could do. But really, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Amy and Jeanne pushing me the entire way.
After the race, pancakes, sausage, eggs and fruit were available. I didn’t get the breakfast, but it looked pretty good. Instead, I watched flap jacks get thrown around.
Overall I thought this was a great race. It was the first year, but I hope it sticks around for a while. The race also made me want to run more trails, so looks like like I’ll be getting some trail shoes soon!
AG 25-29: 3/8