Remember my story about Shamrock Shuffle? You know, the 8k in which I was crying at the start line during the National Anthem? The one that I didn't get to warmup for and got a calf cramp at the first mile in? Yeah, me too.
So, when I saw that the Rockford MELD race was a 2mile or an 8k, I immediately told Ryan we had to sign up. The fact that there was prize money didn't make it too hard to convince him;)
Well, if there's one thing to know about (female) Rockford runners, it's that Shannon Ring and Jessica Langford are AMAZING runners. The few Rockford races that Ryan and I have done (MELD 2mile/8k and On the Waterfront 5k), these two ladies just CRUSH the competition. I have always looked up to them, and this past Monday gave me even more of a reason to.
This 8k, Ryan and I arrived with plenty of time to spare. One of my athletes was also running the 2mile, so it was good to see her there (and it was nice that she rocked her race too:)).
After warming up and doing some drills and strides, my legs felt ready to go. The rest of my body, however, was another story. Crystal Lake's 4th of July fireworks were the night before, and Ryan and I didn't get to sleep until 11/11:30ish. We had a wake-up call at 4:30am so that we could meet his dad and littlest brother before heading over to the 7am start. Normally, one day of waking up early wouldn't really exhaust me as much as it did, but I think getting in the routine of waking up early and working long days really kind of tired me out. I would bet that this happens to most people when they start a new job, so just prepared myself mentally that I might be a little tired going into the race on Monday.
Toeing the start line with Jessica and Shannon by my side was pretty cool. The last time I did this, I had tears streaming down my face, so to be excited and ready to race felt great! Jessica and I talked before the race and said we'd just try to maintain 6:00 pace. It was already mid/high 70s and was not cooling off anytime soon.
5:59 first mile. Perfect. Felt super easy. Probably should have gone out a little harder (which Cari agreed with as well).
6:00 second mile. Still felt pretty good and we had passed all of the other females, so were sitting 2-3 behind Shannon.
At about 2.25miles, my left calf got what felt like a charlie horse. This was the SAME pain that I got in Shamrock. I didn't really understand, considering we went out at a 5:59. At Shamrock, we went out in 5:45. Jessica started to lose me a bit as I couldn't shake the pain.
At the turnaround, I saw that I had enough room so that I would still place 3rd even if I averaged 6:10s for the rest of the way. I told myself that no mile would be over 6:10.
Mile 3 was 6:02. I was surprised because I truly felt like I was going 10minute pace once that charlie horse hit my calf.
Right before mile 4, Ryan picked me up. He started running with me right when I was really dying. What a guy;) We went through in 6:07. Again, not bad, but just frustrating because I couldn't shake my stinkin' calf!
I told myself that Mile 5 would be faster than the 6:07. Then I remembered that .5 of the last mile is a LONG, LONG straightaway. Gross. So, I just started focusing and really looking ahead. Ryan kept reminding me to use my arms. He later told me that I swing my arms across my body (very inefficient) when I get tired, so that is definitely something that I will focus on in my workouts and even my easy runs. 6:02 for that final stretch.
Overall, 30:11, which is 16 seconds faster than my time at Shamrock, which was over a minute PR. Definitely pleased, but had to sit in a chair right away as my calf was on FIRE.
I saw the chiropractor that was there and he used some trigger point therapy thing and it immediately felt better. On my 3 mile cooldown with my athlete, I didn't even notice my calf.
Still wondering what could have caused it--the heat? I guess as long as it only bothers me in 8ks, I'll take it, but would LOVE to solve this mystery!
The day gets better. Ryan ran the 2mile and won. My athlete had a great race. Ryan's littlest brother, Alex, ran a 13:39 for the 2mile and then won the kids 1/4mile race barefoot, and Ryan's dad ran a good time for himself too! Did I mention that we had a Fast Track Sweep? Shannon won, Jessica was 2nd and I was 3rd. Definitely cool to see all of us in our Fast Track gear claiming the top three awards. Check it out:
Before I end this blog, I want to thank everyone who has been praying for me and supporting me in my quest to work for Saucony. Unfortunately, I heard back from them last week (right before heading to a team workout unfortunately) and they chose to move forward with other candidates. After some tears and a bad workout, I had a wonderful cooldown with some great teammates who really helped me get back up and realize that it is their loss. I still think highly of the company and will always want to be an employee with Saucony, but right now is just not the right time in life. When the time comes though, I know that I will be the best employee ever as I am so passionate about the sport and truly believe that Saucony is a great company, not just for shoes but for all running attire. In the meantime, I have this SWEET job that allows me to continue to educate others (car salespeople, who sometimes are just as challenging as middle schoolers!) and travel all around the US doing so. My boss is AMAZING (duh, he's a runner) and the product that we sell and educate people on truly speaks for itself. I'm a pretty lucky girl:)