Ripping off the bandaid
After not racing for nearly a year (not counting races where I paced other people or ran/walked), I ripped off the bandaid this past weekend at the Summerville Sweet Tea 10K. It wasn't ideal that my first race out of the gate was a 10K instead of a 5K, especially given all of my recent health issues, but it's just the way the calendar worked out.
The race started at 7:00 a.m., so I woke up around 4:15 (ugh) so I could have coffee, eat, and relax a bit. My head was not in race mode at all. It's just been so long since I've raced for me (and not paced someone else) that I've forgotten it a bit and the last thing I felt like doing that morning was racing.
I met my friend, Ashley, and we drove out to the race together and met our other friend, Jackie, at the race. It's almost a 45 minute drive from where we live and we wanted to make sure we had enough time for packet pickup and bathroom breaks before the race. Because heaven knows, I need those bathroom breaks right now!
Based on how I was feeling and the terrible run I had on Thursday when I was so tired I could barely muster a 10:30 pace, which is not a typical pace for me at all, my plan was to start easy and speed up if I could and slow down if I had to. I didn't plan to push to race pace at all since I'm not even entirely sure I know what that is at the moment.
I started off what felt like conservatively and felt really good those first three miles and thought I definitely had a lot more speed in me. I kept a steady, moderately easy pace around 8:35/mile, my breathing was easy and everything felt good. Until I hit mile 4, I thought I'd be able to pick up some speed. I had no intention of pushing too much, but I was at least hoping after I warmed up a bit my pace would pick up to somewhere around 8:00-8:10. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
In mile 4, I got really tired, really suddenly, and had a hard time putting one foot in front of the other. I was also really, really thirsty. I ended up logging my slowest mile there at around a 9:30 pace after stopping to walk at a water stop. Mile 5, I dropped back down to just under 9, and mile 6 was another slow one with some walk breaks at 9:20.
I finished in 56:32 (9:06 pace), which is the exact same time I ran at the James Island Connector Run at 4 months post-baby back in 2014, and the weather was very similar (low 40s and windy). It's also my slowest 10K time ever where I wasn't pacing someone else. Given how I was feeling, I probably should have started slower, but I felt just fine those first couple miles and recently ran a 10-miler at that pace with no issues, plus I didn't expect to hit such a weird wall in mile 4.
I'm not particularly proud of my finish time, but I did what I set out to do: finish. I didn't do what I hoped to do, which was at least run faster than the Bridge Run where I had an asthma attack (52:05). But for my first race back and considering where I'm at with health, life and running lately, it was okay.
I've still been dealing with the UTI that won't quit (seriously) and while I'm not having any physical pain from that at this point, the infection is lingering based on my follow-up visit. I'm on antibiotics that make me really tired and weak, and causes muscle aches (making recovery from workouts harder) - all known side effects - but knock out the infection the best. And because of that, my legs are still feeling heavy, tired, and not recovered from all the vacation walking around the Disney parks.
I'm hoping things improve for me once I'm done with these antibiotics and better rested. I don't think I've got any underlying issues at this point like I did last year, so I think it's just a matter of getting this infection cleared and getting off these antibiotics.
I do need to get in to the doctor within the next few weeks to get bloodwork done to verify that I'm still all clear of anemia issues, but in general, I'm not feeling like I felt last year on my regular runs and my overall pace is faster. I felt awful at this race, but I think that's just the other issues I'm having and not a larger problem.
Once I got over my disappointment with my not-so-great finish time, I realized I was still happy to be back out racing, and I had a fun morning with friends. And I'm going to do some more races in the next few weeks as my speedwork to start remembering what racing feels like.
Next week: the Ultra Chili 5K trail race.
As far as the Summerville Sweet Tea 10K race itself, it was on the small side but very well organized and executed, the course is really pretty and winds through Summerville neighborhoods, and the police officers on the course did a fantastic job. And we got medals for the 10K! This is definitely one I'll be back for again and would consider the half marathon option, too.
Race: Summerville Sweet Tea Half Marathon and 10K
Date: November 11, 2017, 7 a.m., packet pickup available on race morning
Location: Summerville, SC
Medals: Yes, for both the half and the 10K
Course: Road and paved rail trail, looped course, through scenic neighborhoods, starting and ending in downtown Summerville
Cause: Local police, fire and EMS
Weather: 41 degrees, windy
Performace (1/worst to 5/best): 2
Health: Meh...recovering from all of the things, most recently the UTI debacle