Sunday, October 25, 2015

Monster Run 5K

Lets talk about bad races.  The majority of runners experience a bad race here and there. This fall mine have all been okay, I haven't PR'd but I also haven't had amazing races. I have only myself and lack of training to blame for that.  I wouldn't call my races bad races, just ones that I could improve upon.  Last weekends 5K- I would consider that a bad race.  Sure, I won my age group and finished 45th out of 610 5K competitors, but I could have done a lot better.  Its not that I am a slow runner, by no means is that the case- its that my mental game is weak, my training is not where it should be, and I made huge racing errors.  

With that being said, I still had fun at last weekends Monster Run 5K.  The run is paired with a Halloween themed festival! Prior to the race beginning there is pumpkin carving, kids races and costume contests.  After the race, each competitor gets a free hot dog- the wiener mobile is even there! And there is a movie screened in the park- this years was the kids movie Hotel Transylvania.   A few years ago, Runners World even mentioned this race in their race finder article.  The one difference this year from prior years, is that they now offered a 5 Mile race along with the 5K.

My fiancé and I got to the race around 3:30 to pick up our bibs and race packet (aka t-shirt). We had an easy time finding parking- super rare and super lucky! As we were walking to get our packets, the kid's races were finishing up. We saw parents running with their 2 and 3 year olds, some parents carrying their kids.  It was very cute!  I would say that 80% of the people participating were in costume. My fiancé and I went costume shopping about 2 days prior and deciding on something simple that we could run in.  We ran as skeletons.  Nice part about our costumes is we can reuse them! Which I actually plan on doing for work on the 31st.  

The weather was a bit chilly with a slight wind and intense sunshine! I can't stand to be cold on any part of my body, and since we had time, we took a walk to a nearby Walgreen's so i could get some cheap gloves.  My fingers were freezing and I didn't want to risk that throwing off my head game (which needs a ton of work).  

After getting me gloves, we walked back to the festival and took a bunch of pictures together.  I had fun looking at all the different costumes and I of course was scoping out runners to see who I thought would be a top finisher.  I had told myself going into this 5K that it wasn't about winning, it was about having fun.  My fiancé is a little tired of hearing me beat myself up after races that I don't win, and he just wants to run together and have fun.  I did not have as much fun running this race as I should have. In fact I wanted to scream and cry.  But more on that later. 

With ten minutes until the start of the race (the 5k and 5 miler started together and had different break off points), we went and lined up.  We placed ourselves in the front.  We always do. (hmm, maybe I should change that to take a different mental approach).  There were a few kids (7-8 year olds) who ran up to the front wanting to start first.  Those kids didn't stay in the front, but I'm sure they had fun, and they finished a 5K race which is awesome.  I definitely (when I have kids) want them to race with me.  

Anyways, so we are at the starting line.  There is a giant minion next to us.  We hear the announcer state that "The Minion" is the winner of the previous weekends Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon!  As you can see in the picture below, this costume was huge! (And, he won the 5 Miler that day holding a 5:35 pace in that costume! Insanley amazing!) Hearing that he was the winner of the Marathon, I mentally noted around what pace this guy probably runs at and that I shouldnt go out in front of him.  I wish I listened to myself sometimes.  

The gun goes off and I'm off.  I felt great, my legs felt strong, and next thing you know, I'm running a 6 minute pace and I'm first person overall.  I turn the corner and there is the race truck (the one that leads you the path) and it starts when I get to it.  Part of me is stoked that I'm in this position and another part of me is freaking out that I should not be running in 1st place this soon- or at all.  So, I checked my watch to see what pace I was running at- 5:59. I checked my Garmin Connect results (its an app that connects to my watch and shows me all the results) and it showed me that at one point my fastest pace was 5:11. Yikes! I used to be stoked about that, but with where my training and fitness level are currently, I should not be running at that pace, not even for a brief moment. So I knew that it was time to back off and that I needed back off now. I tried to slow myself, and honestly, after going out that fast, part of me felt like I was just starting to die.  

I went out to fast and i was paying for it.  What in the world was I thinking.  My fiancé knew we were going out to fast, but he knows how in my head I get and let me do my thing.  The first mile started with us going on state street and then turning up a small hill. Once past that hill, we turned to run another 10m to turn up another hill.  This hill killed me.  My fiancé even noticed that this hill was my end game.  

The rest of the race was a great course.  It had flat roads, some downhills and only one more uphill. I have one complaint about the course- there were no mile markers!! I run with my Garmin set to show me my pace, not my distance, so the only way I knew how far we had actually run was if I clicked through all the options on my watch to get to the distance tab to see where we were at- which distracts me and causes me to slow down.  The majority of the race, I had no reference as to how far we had actually gone. 

The last uphill I could hardly breathe and the Police Officer directing traffic even asked me if I was okay since I was wheezing so loud.  Note, this is all because I decided to not listen to myself and go out faster then my body can handle right now.  Lesson learned.  My mistake has also helped me realize where my fitness level is / isn't right now as well. 

After we got up that last hill, I started my routine "go run, go without me" dramatics.  When am I going to learn!  But as always, my fiancé stayed by my side.  I knew we were entering the last mile and would be done soon.  I also should mention- I stopped to walk about 800 times during this 5K- that's how bad my mental game had gotten.  So when we finally saw the park through the trees, I knew the end was coming and that I could not stop.  When we rounded the corner toward the finish line, I gave it all I had and sprinted.  Right as we neared the finish line I hear my fiancé yell for me and we grabbed hands.  We always finish hand in hand. Its our thing.  We do these races together, we battle different thoughts and feelings during the race, but we finish together.  

I finished with a time of 25:31:31  I was 1st in my age group and 44th finisher overall.  My fiancé finished in 25:31:05 (even though we held hands as we crossed the finish, he still crossed it first!) placing second in his age group and 43rd overall.  I know from our first 5K together this spring that we both could have done better (4 minutes better) but we finished, had some fun and did this together and that is what matters.  I'm learning its not always about winning or losing, just accomplishing something and having fun.  Its a lesson that is taking me time, I used to race to win, heck I trained to win- I was always trying to train faster than the day prior. 

After the race I grabbed a water and went and leaned against the back of a building to catch my breath.  I was not used to the chill in the air and it had done a number on my lungs.  My fiancé and I didn't stay for any of the festivities being held after.  Neither of us felt good and the both of us were coughing from the chill in our lungs.  We finished the night with burgers from Red Robin (our after race ritual) and snuggled up watching reruns of Parks And Recreation on Netflix. 

Overall, I really can't beat myself up.  I finished, I finished in a stronger placing then most runners, and I got to add another race completed with my Fiancé to the list.  I had fun overall.  Sure, I wanted to just lay down and die during the race, but I kept going.  I know now what I need to work on for my next race and I need to start putting in the work.  Hopefully I will have a more positive race recap after the next one I run in a few weeks :)

until next time:

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