Sunrise 8k #4
On almost every front, this race turned out quite differently than I imagined it would even a couple days ago.
The biggest was that I did not run the race with Mom. Friday night/morning she suffered an intense bout of vertigo that was serious enough to send her to the ER to get checked out around 3 in the morning. She slept most of the day Friday and felt almost back to normal in the evening and today but for obvious reasons. She decided to DNS this race. We were both a little bummed that she wouldn’t be able to run and that she would lose out on the registration fee but then we arrived and there was no registration for her. (She was going to pick it up anyway so she could get the swag-a blanket.) Turns out, I totally spaced on getting her registered. Talk about providential. I can’t imagine what we would have done if the vertigo episode hadn’t happened and she showed up to run, sans credit card. (They did have race day registration.)
As to my own goals, I had just one and that was to focus on the three tips that Brad (Performance Therapy) gave me: lean forward, arms at 90 degrees, feet under my body (no overstriding). I had no plan to look at my Garmin at all through the run. Whatever I ran, I ran.
This time I managed to start much closer to the front than last year. Thus, I experienced absolutely no crowding issues.
I felt really good as I started. My legs felt a bit of fatigue, perhaps from the change to my form, perhaps due to strength training Thursday. That didn’t seem to affect my pace. Before I knew it we were approaching the one mile mark. A volunteer stood reading out the time. When I heard him, I immediately thought “I have no business running this fast. Am I really running that fast?”
Mile 1: 7:37 (the time he read was slightly faster than that because my mile 1 lap hit about .05 beyond where the volunteer was standing
That was also the only point where I looked at the Garmin to see the pace. I had to see whether or not I was really running that pace. Sure enough, I was running a 7:30ish pace without even really feeling like I was trying. Seriously?
I carried on a bit of a internal debate on whether I should actively try to slow down or just keep focusing on the three pointers for my form. In the end I chose the later and the pace surprise kept up for the next two miles.
The first three miles hold a couple rollers but nothing too bad. I noticed that on the short hills in this section I felt really strong on the hills. Turns out that if I’m not wasting effort on vertical motion (bouncing) I have a lot more ability to run strong up the hills.
This mile was also where the sweat started pouring. The weird thing is, I noticed how much I was sweating but other than that the weather did not really register in my mind.
Mile 2: 7:38
Mile 3: 7:34
Then come the hills in miles 3.5-4.5. It became a real struggle to both get up the hills and still maintain the good form. I could feel my form falling apart as I ran but had very little ability to get it back. I don’t think I started too quickly. I think the hills and the weather really got to me. Also, I don’t have as deep a well for short speed as I did when I ran this race before.
Somewhere around 3.75 (pretty close to the 4th mile marker) I lost the willpower to keep running. I was starting to feel a bit nauseated and needed to catch my breath. I ended up walking for about 30 seconds. When I started back up I tried to regain my focus on the three tips but it was crazy difficult. I was ready to be done, feeling quite hot and sweaty.
The last mile and a half of the race seemed to take forever. Around 4.3 I really wanted to walk again but was so close. I bribed myself to make it to 4.5, walk for just a few seconds and then start up and not stop again until the finish. I probably could have powered through it this time but the mental willpower wasn’t there. It didn’t need to be. I wasn’t trying to PR this race or come anywhere close.
This time I walked about 20 seconds before starting again. Only .4 remained but it felt like forever. I know my form was horrible but I tried to pull it together as I approached the finish so I could, hopefully, see a difference in the photos that Mom took at the finish.
Unfortunately, I happened to finish really close behind another girl wearing a similarly colored pink-ish shirt. Mom took plenty of pictures of her but ended up getting me in just a few of them at the end. No worries. The pictures she got were enough to show me that I still need a lot of work on my form. (The picture quality isn’t the best because I had to crop it significantly to zoom in enough to get a good look at my form.)
Mile 4: 8:01
Mile 5: 7:57
Final time: 38:10 (unofficially)
I have to say that I was completely surprised to see a sub 40 time on the clock. I couldn’t remember what my PR was and wondered if I had accidentally set a PR. I didn’t but I did come really close. My PR (also on this course) is 36:26 only 1:44 faster than what I ran today.
I am beyond thrilled with the race effort that I gave today. Yes, I still have a long way to go but this race also showed me that I have come a long way in a short time since I started this functional training. I ran my third fastest 8k without any dedicated short speed training, without any speedwork for the past two weeks actually. The pace in the first three miles felt relatively effortless. I can’t imagine what I’m going to be able to run once I put the work in to fixing my muscle imbalances and making proper form a good habit.
Now to the race review portion:
Registration and packet/bib pick up:
Registration through eventsignup was painless and easy as always, apart from my forgetfulness in registering Mom. Race day packet pick up went smoothly and was well organized.
John Lehman’s races usually have some of the best swag. Sometimes it is a shirt, like last year. Other times it’s another sort of unique item like this year. For example, several years ago when I ran the Green Valley 10 Miler, the swag was a duffle bag that I still use every time I travel. This year the swag was a bright yellow beach towel with the Sunrise 8k logo. It will be perfect for when we go to the beach although I plan on using it much sooner than that as a seat cover after sweaty runs. The swag definitely made Mom wish she had actually been registered.
Pre-Race/Race Morning amenities:
As I mentioned last year, having the start at First Baptist in Simpsonville is awesome. There are indoor bathrooms and a huge lobby for all the various tables to be set up. Excellent staging as always.
This course is no joke. Those are some of the most fun to run. Also, a portion of the course runs through neighborhoods and has for decades. Some years there are several people in the neighborhood who set up their sprinklers for the runners to run through. This year there was only one.
For a race that gets as hot as this, one water stop feels like not quite enough. It’s an awkward distance though so I’m not sure where they could have put a second without getting it too close to the start or finish. There were plenty of volunteers. The course is well marked and there were plenty of course monitors.
Finish line and post-race amenities:
Like last year, the post race food and drink is superb and included grapes. I love grapes post-race. I didn’t grab quite as many as last year since we weren’t sticking around for awards.
I am sure that there were pictures taken at this event. At the time of initial publishing of this post, they had not been posted yet. However, I try to get my posts written as soon as possible after I run so that I forget as little as possible. 🙂 I will update this section as soon as the pictures are posted.
I have to acknowledge that lately I have not been on social media lately as much as I have been in the past. I know that the GTC had plenty of posts about the race, I just didn’t have time to look at them in-depth. As of the time of the initial posting, I have checked out the GTC Facebook page, the event page and the community page for the Sunrise Run and nothing has been posted on any of them regarding race day. I will update this section as I continue to check the pages for the official pictures.
This is one of the best Greenville Track Club runs. Since it is also one of the ones where John Lehman serves as race director, I am not in the least bit surprised that the Sunrise Run continues to shine. (I couldn’t help the pun.) I hope to return next year ready to chase down a PR