Someone opened a can of whoopass today, and it wasn't me. Before I tell the story, I'll get to the punchline. A big fat PW. 1:59:05. 4 1/2 minutes slower than my first. 16 1/2 slower than my best.
I don't have an explanation. I didn't blow out. I didn't misjudge my RPE and take it too easy (there was nothing left to kick at the end- nothing). The start was slow, and I tried to make it up slowly, but it wasn't happening. After 7k, each k got longer and longer and I saw my target slipping further and further away even though I felt strong(ish) and I was still passing people (including this trainer from my gym who has never beaten me- I plan on keeping it that way!) I said goodbye to 1:45 when I hit 10k in 54 odd minutes, and realised I was exactly 1k behind plan when I hit 11 in just under an hour. I thought of Jodi and Rachel, 70.3ing today and hoped that some of my lost mojo was making its way to them!
All I can say is that the trails kicked my butt- they opened that can, and instead of standing up to them, I stepped back and I took it. I struggled with running on an uneven surface and on a slope. I really struggled clambering up a sandy hill (but I didn't walk, like one of the guys I passed. Phew!) I struggled with the humidity, and the absence of my usual nemesis, wind. I would love to run in that forest again- a long training run, perhaps- expectation free. That way I could really enjoy myself. I would love to buy me some trail shoes and get into trail running. I know trail running is a different kettle of fish compared to road running, but I was expecting a fast, fun run today and just scraping sub-2:00 only a few days after my 5k near-PB is a touch demoralising. I am MARATHON training, yet for the first time ever both my 5k and my 10k are BETTER than my half time???
I found out after the race that the course had changed significantly since last year. I think the winning man was 13 minutes slower, and the winning woman (who I know is a faster runner than last year's winner) was I think 6 or 7 minutes slower. My friend K finished in 1:34 last year, and 1:46 (I think) this year. We don't know if it was longer, harder, just a slow day. I saw a girl who I've seen finish in 2:10ish finishing after 2:30. This made me feel better at the time, but it's not helping much now. Right now I'm feeling a little sad.
BUT. Onwards and upwards. We spent a lovely day reading on the deck and lounging on the beach. Right now I'm eating filled pasta and drinking a quiet G&T by myself (Cheers, Wes!). Then, when P gets home we're off to a party- theme is S&A. I was thinking "athletes", but I'm now leaning towards "sunburn". I still can't wait for Rotorua, and I still don't feel like sub-4 has completely slipped away. If my 20-miler goes badly, I will reassess seriously, but for now...
PS- one interesting observation: I ran sans-tunes today, and noticed just how much harder the people with music were breathing compared to those who weren't. Not being able to hear your breath is a great distraction!