I trained all week for my first race over 5 miles. Yesterday’s race was 5.5 miles, which is about my normal training distance. I thought it would be simple, but I forgot about one key item…we were running in the zoo and the zoo isn’t flat.
I started quick (downhill)…I saw paces as fast as 7 minutes flash up on my TomTom. At the bottom of the hill, which took about a mile to truly level out, I reverted back to my 8 to 9 minute miles. I looked up and saw the Fulton road bridge, where we started, and come to find out it was almost 300 feet above the valley I just ran into. The course was hilly the rest of the way and I realized at the turnaround I was going to have to run out of the valley I was in. I was averaging in the mid-8’s by that point and I pulled back knowing the hills were going to be tough. The first few hills back weren’t a problem as I shortened my stride and pushed up them. The last hill was a gasser. It was winding with a steady incline from the zoo floor to Fulton Road. For those of you familiar with the Cleveland Zoo…it’s the hill to get to the primates area. There were three people running ahead of me and I could tell they were hurting. I passed each of them about half way up and pushed hard the rest of the way.
I finished in 50:31 (unofficial) with a 9:07 average. I’m very pleased with the race. Only downside was the person directing us at one of the last turns left their post which forced me to stop and those people I passed up the final hill caught me…I still felt good passing people on the steep incline 🙂
I’m becoming a smarter runner. I wouldn’t have slowed my pace to the terrain in the past. I would have pushed the whole way and probably had to walk up that last hill. Training pays off…physical and mental.
Decide to dominate!