From the moment I left Denver (after a 45-minute line at security of course), I felt like a spoiled baby. The race organizers, elite athlete coordinator, and hospitality at the SACTown 10 were beyond comprehension. I did not have to think of a single detail about food or hydration my entire stay. I’m sure any runner can agree how hugely awesome that is! My pre-race run was so scenic alongside the American River, I debated running back a mile with my phone to snap pics. I also met some pretty cool folks, some of whom happen to be world class runners. Though I think I played it "cool", my insides were totally fan girling at dinner sitting next to Sara Hall and one of her daughters. Sounds like a pretty awesome experience right? It was!
This race was a “first” in various aspects. It was the first time I've stood at a start line since the Olympic trials in February, and the first time I would cross the finish line since November 2015. It was also my first time racing as a Hudson Elite athlete. I wanted everything to go as smooth as it had the day leading up to the race. Well, the world had other plans...
To start with the positives:
Pro #1: My legs had some pop in them. An exciting feeling since I'm smack in the middle of a marathon buildup.
Pro #2: Coming down from altitude is AH-Mazing!
Pro #3: Miles 1-7 were splendid, average around ~5:50, running along as the fifth place Female.
The race was actually 10 miles... At around 7 miles, I caught a nasty side stitch. Now, if you've never experienced one of these killers, consider yourself #Blessed. Mine was under my right diaphragm. It felt as though someone had shot a staple through my right lung. I felt trapped in my body (imagine a Mime stuck in a box, white gloves and all). A shuffle jog, and several failed forceful breaths later, I ran a 6:47 mile. The rest was a slippery slope. I finished in 1:01.14, not obtaining either of my placement (top 5) or time goals (sub 60).
Runners are never (perhaps hardly ever) completely happy. In college this experience would have set me back mentally more than anything. I would question my training and fitness. Now, however small, I look for the positives and use those as a stepping stone to continue to build confidence along my journey. I'm thankful for:
1) how strong I felt
2) how smooth my turnover felt in the middle of a marathon build up
3) the generosity of the SACTown organizers
4) how green and beautiful California is!! I also found my very first Orange tree. Jaw dropping!
Back to work. Just 7 weeks until Ottawa!