The Connection Runners + [workout]

Crim 10-Mile Race Recap

Remember that time I ran a really good race and then never wrote about it?

Of course you don't, because I never wrote about it.

Today, that shall change. The C-Monster is down for a nap (crosses fingers nervously), and I'm using what little energy I have after this morning's (terrible, awful, no-good-very-bad) 18 miler to finally write about it.

So rewind to two weeks ago, on the eve of our fifth Crim 10-Mile race. We arrived in Fenton on Friday evening, just in time to meet up with friends and partake in an all-you-can-eat pasta buffet. I take my carb-loading seriously, even for 10-mile races, and managed to put down roughly 17 pounds of mac-n-cheese.

An old pic from last year because if there's one thing I did poorly this year, it was taking photos.

Charlotte was getting cranky at the restaurant, so we headed back to Kevin's mom's house to crash. Even though we set our alarm for 5:45, we knew Charlotte would be our real alarm clock.

And she was. At roughly 4:30, C decided it was time to wake up and eat. Luckily, she fell back asleep right after, so we got a few more minutes of drowsy sleep before we finally rolled out of bed at 6.

The weather report wasn't looking too spectacular - a lot of sun and high temps - but the humidity was relatively low, and no rain was in sight. We ate a quick breakfast and, after a mad dash to find the car keys, headed up to Flint while Charlotte stayed with Grandma.

Despite wanting to PR the shit out of this race (my old PR of 1:34:48 had stood for 3 years), I was surprisingly calm. Having a bunch of friends there helped my nerves, I think, because we spent the pre-race minutes chatting and hanging out.

My plan was to go out at a rough 9:00/mile pace and stick to that for as long as possible, with the final goal to see a sub 1:30 on the clock at the finish line. If I had the chance, I wanted to fit in a cold beer and a tasty Krispy Kreme along the way, too.

As soon as our corral got the okay to go, Kevin and I, along with our friends Matt and Kara, took off together at sub-9:00 pace. I felt good, but who doesn't feel good in the first 100 feet of a race? I knew that if I wanted that PR, I'd have to hike up my shorts and settle in for the long haul.

The miles looked somewhat like this:
Miles 1-3 (8:49, 8:42, 8:43): Okay, I can hang with this. It feels okay. I want to PR. Life is good. Smile. High Fives. Rainbows. Teddy bears.

Miles 4-6 (8:51, 8:42, 9:12): Pretty sure I'm going to barf. Are we sprinting? It feels like a sprint. Why do I run? Life sucks. Oh no, here come the Bradley Hills. Try not to look like death in running shoes. Angry face. Am I peeing myself? Gu packet. Frowns. Sweat. Daggers.

Miles 7-9 (9:03, 8:53, 8:39): This isn't so bad anymore. I've made it this far, right? Look at the pretty mansions during mile 7. I'd like to live in one of those. I'm more than halfway there. What if I actually do this? That beer is going to taste so good. Drink Gatorade. Run next to Bobby Crim (race founder) for a minute and feel cool.

Mile 10 (8:17): Holy hell, it's the LAST MILE. Panic. Hear Kevin say, "You just need to run this mile in 9:45 to hit your goal." Get worried. Speed up. Too FAST. Slow down. Try to hang on to the pace, want to die. Finally turn the last corner onto the bricks of Saginaw Street. Tell Kevin, "GO!" and sprint the final few hundred meters. Pass two girls and a dude and feel invincible. Wonder if this is how the guys in Cool Running felt when they carried their bobsled to the finish during the Olympics.

FINISH

After: Almost collapse at the finish line. Eat a bunch of popsicles, drink water, and immediately start searching for post-race free beer.

Pretending like we broke the ribbon. We didn't. It was just a dirty leftover on the ground.

Some final thoughts: I PR'd by over 6 minutes, and while that felt pretty awesome, I was honestly disappointed at first. I'd put so much into the race that I wanted more - I wanted a faster time on the clock.

Then I realized that my inner asshole was taking over, so I shut up that feeling pretty quickly, and moved on to downing a few beers in celebration. The race also reminded me why I'm usually okay with running a good old average time: It's really, really effing hard to actually lay your guts out on the course when you need to/have to/want to.

The one thought that saved me during it all was the notion that I'm not the only runner who struggles to get what they want. Pardon the ball of cheese I'm about to throw your way, but during the race I thought of the US Olympic marathoners who ran in London this summer. Just because they can run at a sub-6:00 pace for 26.2 miles doesn't mean it's easy for them. We all have to work hard and die a little bit to get to where we want to be.

And finally - there's something to be said for having to push yourself through tough miles. If running and PRing were easy, I probably wouldn't continue to register for races or suffer through track workouts because the need to chase my own greatness wouldn't exist.

You can judge me for being a jerk about my PR. It's ok. But I wonder: Anyone else ever feel like a hard-earned PR wasn't enough?