Today was the final race of five in the Strider's Winter Racing Circuit. It was a 30 k, or in regular terms, an 18.66 miler. Like I have mentioned before, this series is designed for those that are training for the Ogden Marathon with each length getting longer and they are timed as you would time long runs if you were doing the marathon.
I was really excited about this race, but really had no expectations whatsoever. I am not doing the Ogden Marathon, or for all I know, any marathon in the near future. (I should know in a couple weeks if I got into the St. George Marathon for October). This is also an unconventional race distance, so no PR worry about, and it was a guaranteed PR anyway, right? I also rode almost 50 difficult miles with my Dad the day before, so I knew that I was going into it on tired legs. However, I really like to finish what I start, and seeing as how I have done the other 4 races in the series, I wasn't about to pass up the chance to get some more great race swag and another medal!
I woke up early and headed up to Eden where this race started. It started from the same assisted living place that the buses left from for the half, and used much of the same course. However, this was an out and back course, which was really nice.
The weather forecast for this race was awesome! It was projected to be 40's to start, but high 60's by the finish. I wore capris, a t-shirt, and a throw away long sleeve t-shirt with throw away gloves. This ended up being perfect and I did ditch the throw aways by mile 6 :)
At the start I saw my running buddies. I was able to stay with my friend, Jen for the first 3 miles, but she is a way faster runner than I and I quickly let her go and told her not to let me hold her back. I wasn't worried about pacing, or the pacers for that matter. My dumb watch was working when it chose to, so I really had no way to gauge how I was running other than by feel, which was fine. My ongoing ankle issue hurt for the first 4 miles, then stopped. I was glad that it wasn't worse than that! Luckily, my music held up and I had good tunes the entire time!
The miles progressed quickly until Mile 14. Since the longest distance I have done this year is a half, this was just beyond what I have done this year and my body was feeling the fatigue. It wasn't bad, but I wasn't feeling pumped and energized either. I was faithfully doing my Gu every 4 miles with the water. I was fueling the best that I knew how. I just could feel the strain of a distance I haven't done in over 8 months. I decided that since this was NOT a big deal, it wasn't worth injuring myself further, and it wasn't worth straining too much, so I simply ran and enjoyed it, not worrying about keeping up with anyone, or beating any time. I enjoyed the weather (it was GORGEOUS) and enjoyed how pretty this route was (I mean, really? It doesn't get better than the Ogden Valley). I also had those thoughts that often come into my mind about how lucky I am just to be able to do things like this. I was grateful for the opportunity to even be there, to run, and enjoy such a neat day like this!
I was really proud of the fact that I was feeling as good as I was. I thought about how I had ridden almost 50 miles yesterday and was running almost 20 the very next day, all within 24 hours! I suddenly felt really proud of that fact and that I was physically able to do that! Kinda like my own half Ironman, without the swim portion!
Before I knew it, it was over. It was long, but not as hard as I was expecting. I was happy to see my final time came to 3:07:10, which is a 10:05 mile! Pretty good for someone who was taking it easy, and who hasn't done this distance in awhile, and who had done a killer ride the day before!! If I could maintain that pace for a full, I would have a PR by over 10 minutes! Not like I am crunching numbers for StG or anything ;)
At the finish, we were given a medal for completing the series and a super cool 32 ounce Nathan water bottle. I swear, I love race swag! It's amazing what I will put my body through for some more of it!
OVER ALL IMPRESSION OF THE SERIES:
Now that I have finished the whole series, I must say that I am very impressed. I wasn't expecting much and simply signed up because it was something that I hadn't done before and I had many friends doing it. I wasn't expecting much from Strider's. Boy, was I wrong! This is a well run series, and I would DEFINITELY do it again. All five courses are very challenging, which I think just train you better. They either kill you with the difficulty of the courses (READ: HILLS FROM HELL) or with distance. They give you cool swag. If you do the entire series, your race bling grows by 2. I will definitely consider doing it again next year, depending on what my goals are.
What's next? Nothing until the Memorial Day Classic, also a Strider's race. I will be hitting the bike harder in the next 6 weeks to prep for the Little Red Century ride the week after the Memorial Day Classic. Until then...