Going 6 weeks without a race is too long for me.
After racing today I have discovered that I thrive on racing. I am such a different runner when I race than when I just run. Thankfully I won’t have to go longer than 3 weeks without a race until the end of the week.
I have nothing but good things to say about this race. God knew that I needed the wonderful weekend and race that I had.
For those of you unfamiliar with the peculiar wonder that is Asheville, NC, you must acquaint yourself. I lived an hour away for more than 24 years without visiting. That’s a travesty. Where else can you enjoy the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, wonderful weather, amazing food, and a drum circle that just would not quit?
I slept better last night than I have for a long time in a hotel bed and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to run.
I had no plan going into this race, not from lack of thinking about it. I just couldn’t decide on something. I knew I didn’t want to take it easy; I’m too competitive for that. I also didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment knowing my current fitness level and that the course is hilly.
I decided as I headed to the start line that I wanted to run a smart race, just on the edge of my comfort zone.
We hit the first hill just after mile 2. Since I’m a bit familiar with hills I determined that I would not walk up any of them. Instead I focused on shortening my stride and increasing my arm swing.
Since the weather was amazing (just a nip in the air!) I put off pausing at the plentiful water stations (nearly every mile!) until mile 5. When mile 5 came around I kept running even while eating my chomps because I didn’t feel like stopping.
The scenery was beautiful although I wish we’d been able to see Trout Lake (I think that’s the name) instead of the haze that covered the water.
I felt exceptionally strong when mile 10 came around. Instead of playing it safe and continuing at my current pace, I decided to really race that final 5k. Of course, this corresponded with what several runners described as a “monster” hill. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment having voluntarily run up Paris Mountain several times but it didn’t seem so bad.
I didn’t keep count of my road kill but it felt pretty awesome.
Then came Walnut Street. Ouch. I knew there was an uphill going into the finish but I didn’t realize it was Walnut. The incline is insane especially with a quarter mile left after the “summit”. I was hurting when I finished running up Walnut but I reminded myself that I was racing the last 5k and it wasn’t done yet.
Finally the finish line was in sight. I started to sprint and then saw a woman a second or two in front of me. I’m competitive. I couldn’t help it. I picked up speed and passed her a hundred meters or so before the timing mat.
Too bad she’s the one celebrating. 😉
I finished in 2:06:04 with a hankering for more. For my current fitness level and that course, I’m thrilled with my time. I think this was the best race I’ve run. It’s not the fastest of course, but definitely the best.
If I weren’t going to be living, Lord willing, out of the upstate area next year I would definitely run this race again.
Up next? Moonshiner 5k on September 28.