Last Saturday marked round three of the Striders Winter Running Circuit in Ogden, and a beast of a course it was! This infamous 10-Miler begins with the same course as the 10K two weeks prior---not an easy course, to put it mildly---and then adds insult to injury by throwing even more hills in your path over the next four miles. As my client Miriam said, it's the kind of course that chews you up and spits you out. I love it. And hate it. It's the perfect way to kick off a Saturday morning!
My mantra was similar to two weeks ago---what goes up, must come down! This rings especially true in the last 4 miles. Mile six to seven-and-a-half is a long steady grind where you just have to grit your teeth and get it over with. The legs and lungs are burning no matter what kind of shape you're in. Once you hit the pinnacle of the climb, there's a nice bombing downhill section for about a mile and a half. This is where patience paid off and I was able to make my move. There were two girls up the road who I'd been tailing for the entire run, one of whom went into the race with about a minute lead over me in the overall cumulative race series. I'd managed to stay within striking distance through the first 10K, but then they made a bit of a break going up the long grind after mile 6 and I was uncertain whether I'd be able to reel them in. Once we hit the downhill though I noticed they were coming back to me and I decided to open up and go for it. It was hard work, but it was really fun blasting down that hill! I took the lead at mile 8.5 and was able to build a gap and hold it through the finish line.
This was a great run for me on many levels. I believe it is the first time I've actually won a road running race---woohoo! I covered the distance almost 3 minutes faster than last year. It was a great tune-up and confidence builder for the REV3 Costa Rica triathlon this coming weekend. And the experience helped reinforce the principles of patience and perseverance, and of simply staying relaxed and having fun.
Albert had a good day too. His strategy this time around involved a few glasses of wine the night before (we had friends staying with us for the weekend) and a more conservative pace over the first few miles. It paid off and he ran well, nabbing 2nd place for the men and feeling much stronger in the final miles this time around.
My client Miriam also ran, along with her friend Phaedra and a few others from her running group (the Runagades). I had warned Miriam about the severity of the course beforehand, but you really have to experience it firsthand to appreciate how beastly it is. She handled it well (although she's very hard on herself) and placed in the top 20 women. Way to go Miriam, Phaedra, Mark, and Lloyd!
A really nice touch (ha, pun intended) this time around is that there were free massages offered after the race. Albert and I took full advantage, and then we went home and I sat in my Recovery Pump boots for an hour. Or slept in them is more like it. I could get used to this whole art of recovery!