This is a very long recap. It’s a little scary how much I wrote. Like, if I ever run a marathon I might as well just write a book about it. That kind of long.
If you just want to know the scoop about the race route and the finish line snacks, I recommend you check out my recap of the first 10 miler. If you want to know what I wore and how many times I cried, keep reading. (Just kidding, no tears on race day.)
Just two week ago, I ran one of my best and strongest races ever on this course.
My back was sore the morning after the race, but I figured that was due to the hills and how hard I pushed myself the day before. Over the next two weeks, the soreness remained. Heat and stretching helped, but only temporarily.
I did a short 1-mile run a few days after the race and things felt stiff and sore. I joined a group run last Thursday planning to go 3-4 miles. I had to stop after just over 2 miles and walk the rest of the way back to the store because my back was in so much pain.
Saturday night I was a mess. I didn’t want to give up on this race or the series because I’ve come so far. I was torn between racing and potentially escalating my injury or dropping out of the race and losing my chance to become a Road Warrior.
Sunday morning, I set out with a goal of just finishing — I would walk, run, jog or crawl — whatever it took to get it done. Finishing the series doesn’t mean running your best race each weekend, and it doesn’t mean every single race will be a PR. I needed to cross the finish line, nothing else.
I planned to listen to my body, stop and stretch if I needed to and not focus on time or pace or put unnecessary pressure on myself. (I also had plans to snap a ton of photos of the course for the blog, but of course I managed to leave my phone at home race morning.)
For the first time ever in a race, I kept my watch covered and didn’t check my splits once. This felt freeing. I’ve tried to do this on training runs before but I almost always cave and check my distance. Focusing on my form, posture and breathing really helped take my mind off my Garmin and made things less stressful. I already knew I wasn’t going to run a PR so why not enjoy it?
I dressed a little differently this time in a long-sleeve half zip top, throwaway gloves and shorts. This was perfect because I could roll up the sleeves or unzip my top while running if I got warm and pull the sleeves down and zip back up if I ended up walking. I kept the gloves on until mile 3 and dropped them off when we crossed by the start/finish area at mile 4.
I managed to run the first few miles and back felt tight but not painful. I told myself I would run until I couldn’t and then if I had to walk the rest of the way, at least I knew I wouldn’t be behind the cutoff time. (This race, and all of races in this series, is actually very walker friendly with a pretty generous 20 min/mi pace requirement.) After the first water stop I began alternating walking and running. I tried my best to run purely on feel and keep my pace as easy as possible. Miles 6 – 7.5 had more walking than I think I’ve ever done in a race, but it really helped my upper back loosen up. With the exception of one very steep downhill and the switchbacks I ran miles 7.5 through 10.
We need to talk about the hill in mile 5. I want to say maybe 5.25 miles in? I neglected to mention this in last week’s recap (I’m sorry!), and when we got to it I thought we were already to The Beast. Nope! This hill is just a little teaser of what’s to come later in the race.
I made a few friends along the way which helped keep my spirits up. I overheard two ladies talking about their almost-but-not-quite injuries and we walked together for a bit chatting about other local races.
Shortly after, I was joined by a coworker of mine (who is a stellar person and also happens to be 29 weeks pregnant and casually running the 10 miler. #beastmode). I was happy to have company and a distraction from how I felt!
We walked the hills and the switchback and kept it at a pretty easy pace the rest of the time. I know I could have run faster, but I wanted to finish safely and uninjured so as not to jeopardize finishing the rest of the series.
And now here we are a few days later and I’m happy to say that I did not have to be carried to the car during or after the race (small victories!).
I spent the rest of Sunday on the couch, but I’m able to walk just fine and my back doesn’t feel any worse than it did before the race. Actually, it might even feel a little bit better?
By the Numbers:
Race Results Say:
- 748 finishers (Down from 882 last race!)
- Time: 2:00:50 (Almost 15 minutes slower than last time, yay!)
- 12:05 pace
- Distance: 10.01 mi (Up from 9.92 mi last time)
- Time: 2:00:56
- Avg. Pace: 12:05 min/mi
- Definitely not a PR
- Longest duration run in 6 months
- Most calories burned in 6 months.
- Coldest run in 6 months.
- Lowest avg cadence in 3 months.
Memphis Runners Track Club Road Race Series:
There’s still time to register for the one or both of our upcoming Road Race Series half marathons. Come run with us!