Discoveries from Sunday:
- I’m out of shape…but not all the way
- My hamstring healing is going better this time around
- Last-minute teammates = awesome 🙂
After a hearty breakfast (thanks awesome AirBnB host!), Fish (my running buddy from grad school) and I arrived at the course. The air was chilly, and an overcast sky promised cool racing weather. We had 90 minutes until the race so we spent some time grabbing our team packet, getting our beer wrist-bands (wootwoot!), and walking around the course.
We were joined shortly by another Oiselle teammate, giving us what we thought was our full 3-people-score team (5 allowed but we’d had some illness and injury hit our team before the race). However, when we went to pick up our shirts the race director had two last-minute entries with her who wanted to join a 5-person team! We happily added them to our Fierce Flyers roster and set off on our warmup to get to know our new teammates and scout out the course.
The course started on bumpy grass, and then went in a sharp-cornered double triangle figure-8 on gravelly single-track around two brushy fields. The hills were mild and we were all excited to race a relatively flat 5k. All of us were in early-season/’running this as a workout’ mode so we did a relatively short warmup before changing shoes and lining up in the grassy field for the start. I skipped my usual drills and strides since I was trying to save the hamstring and prevent myself from going out too fast.
The small field bunched up for the national anthem and then, with a yelled “Go!” from the race director we were off! I tried to find ‘fast tempo run’ pace and followed the lead woman, a speedy young girl in second, and one of my new teammates out over the bumpy grass and onto the single track. I passed my new teammate at around the halfway mark but otherwise didn’t move around much, working to hold a steady tempo without excessive straining. I was paying close attention to my hamstring and was happy to make it through without any twinges or tightness. I got lucky with a clean finish that didn’t temp me to kick, and finished first for the team in just over 21 minutes. The rest of the team filed in close together, making for an excited cheering section as we turned gasping post-finish breath into cheers for incoming teammates.
Awards followed shortly after and we were happily surprised to get called up as the winning women’s team! We got a nice shoutout for winning as a last-minute team, and enthusiastically thanked our ‘ringers’ for joining at the last minute.
Fitness and hamstring recovery takeaway:
After two very-low-mileage weeks I was feeling a bit out of shape, and this race was a bit behind where I thought I’d be back before the hamstring blip. However, I was pleased to be nearly a minute faster than my opening 5k race last year in May – not bad for being rusty! My projected 10k time based on this race is about 30 seconds over the cutoff for the wave that I entered for BolderBoulder, and I’m hoping I can whittle that ‘extra’ time down in the few weeks leading up to the race. I’d hoped to hit the time needed to move up a wave next year, but that would require a full two minutes off of the fitness I’m at now so I don’t think that’s quite a reasonable race-day expectation. My post-5k runs this week have definitely been tough and my legs seem to have forgotten a little how to run more than three miles, but my hamstring rehab has been going much more smoothly, so I hope to get back to actual workouts sometime in the next month before BolderBolder on Memorial Day.