Talk about an emotional roller coaster! The week leading up to this year’s Wharf to Wharf my mind was all over the place. As I stated in my earlier post regarding this race, I knew that I wasn’t where I wanted to be mentally or physically, but I also knew that I had some good training under my belt that should get me to a Top 100 finish. Michele (my awesome running coach), writes my workouts and race plans on Sundays. I had an entire week to wrap my head around the race plan, but there was still a nagging voice in my head that said, “It’s impossible…. you are so out of shape! You can’t possibly pull off a PR, let alone run close to what you did last year!” Then, I had days that my mind said, “You got this! You’ve been hitting your paces at the track, so just start to believe in yourself and do this!” I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…. here’s how it all went down:
Race morning, I made plans to meet up with some Santa Cruz Endurance teammates at Meg’s house. Meg wasn’t running because she was kicking some marathon booty in San Francisco, but her house is about a mile from the start so it serves as a perfect warm-up spot (plus, the parking situation is pretty darn good there too). Since the race is point-to-point, Adam dropped me off at the start so that I didn’t have to battle traffic to get back to my car later. I’m thankful that he didn’t drop me off sooner because I wasn’t fun company race morning. After a hug and a kiss, I was out of the car and ready to warm-up with Bob, Bob, and Jaime (yep… two Bobs).
After our short warm-up, we found a little known about restroom (and no… I won’t share this location… sorry, I love you, but Bob, Bob and Jaime have threatened my life if I divulge the secret spot). After the quick restroom stop, the Bobs and I headed to an empty parking lot to do some quick strides before entering the corrals. On our way to and from our strides, we were able to see other running friends and teammates and give a quick smile, hug and good luck message. Then, we were in the corral and there was no real turning back.
While in the corral, I was still trying to figure out how this race would go down. I figured that I would at least try to go out with Michele’s paces in mind (6:25) and see how it went. The first mile was a lot of weaving in and out trying to get around the runners that quite possibly should not have been in the Elite corral. Mile 1 was 6:30 pace, but I was feeling okay with that considering how much I had weaved. The second mile includes the first hill of the race. Mile 2 ended up being 6:30 pace as well. I have a tendency to look at my watch a bit too much so I turned it to show only the clock after this mile. Mile 3 has a couple of hills and my time slowed to 6:41 pace. It was shortly after this that I started to think about Mile 5 coming up.
(Side note: Adam informed me on Saturday that he decided not to go to the race this year. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this news took out of my psyche. I had been preparing myself for not seeing Zeuf at her post, but I had not even started to think about Adam not being there either. This news really made me sad, but I too have to understand that he knew and loved Z much, much longer than I had, and he had the joy of manning Mile 5 with her years before I came along. It totally makes sense that he wanted to do something else that day too. He made plans to go on a bike ride with the dudes, and he was right… this was my race and my results did not directly depend on where he was at on the course.)
I didn’t pick up my pace much during Mile 4 and ended up with a 6:40 mile and then… Mile 5 came up. At this point in the race, I honestly didn’t want to run any longer. I wasn’t tired, my body didn’t hurt, I just didn’t have the heart any longer. Mile 5 was a whopping 6:51 pace. When I passed 36th Avenue, it was quiet. I told the folks standing there that this was Zeuf’s mile and that cheering was not optional. I’m guessing the fans there understood because they did begin to cheer. I picked up my pace a bit after that and finished the last mile in 6:33.
My official race time was 40:00 good enough for the coveted Top 100 (56th female). You can find full results here. With an average pace of 6:39, I was pretty far off of my actual race plan, but when it was all said and done, I really thought that running a 6:40 pace was where I was at mentally in this race. When I reflect on this year’s Wharf, I look at it as closure. Closure that I needed from the achilles and broken hand incident, closure from the lack of cross training, and closure for Mile 5.
- “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Quoting tennis great Arthur Ashe, this was the perfect mantra for 2014’s Wharf to Wharf.
- To the young lady that received card #99…. your joy and excitement after your finish still has me smiling today. You, young lady, have a very bright future in running. Thank you for the reminder that running really is joyous and should be celebrated. (Looking at the results, Kate Tavella placed 98th overall. She is only 13 years old!)
- And by celebrated, I mean…. with Mimosas (once you are 21, of course)!
How was your Wharf to Wharf experience? Have you ever had a mental block while running? What is your strategy for fixing negative thoughts?