Saturday, March 10, 2012

First Race Reflections

Tomorrow I will be re-running the Taconic Road runners St. Patrick’s Day races.  Two years ago this was my first race ever.  A 10 k that started my journey as a runner, who raced. 

I think back to how I trained to run that race, my approach , my goals and even what I wore.  I didn’t follow any plan and I wasn’t reading any blogs.   I don’t know how I decided how far to go when I hit the road each day.  I didn’t have a watch and never knew my time other than a quick look at the clock when I got back in the house.  I just did what I had always done and got going. I wanted to do it in under an hour.  That seemed doable.  I looked at the race results of the previous year and scanned the names.  When I found the names of some girls I knew from high school, I thought “If she could do that, I should be able to do that”.  I had no idea what a pace would be or what PR meant.

The shoes I wore were adidas, comfortable and pink.  I bought them for those reasons, two summers before when I started taking long walks with my son in the stroller.  They were the sneakers I wore for everything.  No idea how many miles I wore them for.  A pair of pink yoga pants, a green cotton shirt and a hat with shamrock pin completed by ensemble.  I believe I entertained the thought of a windbreaker.  Thank god I did not find one or I might have worn it. 

It was cool and damp, a classic March morning.  I ran my heart out and felt great.  I kept my brother in-law within view just ahead of me and the girls I knew from HS were just behind.  The course is two laps in a park with an out and back at the top of a hill.  As I rounded the hill for the second time somewhere in the 4th mile I realized something.  I have a lot of hills in my neighborhood and run them a lot.  People were sucking wind on these hills and I was passing them left and right! The last two miles were hard but I gave it all I had.  The two girls whose previous race time I had looked up were well behind me.  I passed my Bro in-law somewhere in the last mile and realized that I was faster than I had imagined.  I was overjoyed with a 57:35!

Fast forward to today.  I take my sneakers off as soon as I step in the house!  I record the miles I have covered in each of the three pairs of shoes in the current rotation.  I log my workouts into three separate places, read articles on my smart phone and buy colorful knee socks to run in.  Most of the book marks on my computer have to do with running and my new clothes are all ones I sweat in. 

In the two years since this first race I have run in twenty events and fell in love with distance running. I have picked up a few technical tools of the trade but my running is still ruled by one thing. The time and opportunity I have to run, revolves around the schedule of the little people in the house.
That was always the hardest thing.  And these are the daily questions; "When can I run, if when I have the boys with me all day"? "How much sunlight do I have before Pete goes to work"? 
This year the real bonus has been the afternoon school bus.  It being 20 minutes later this year has been huge!  The window of opportunity I have between getting home from work and the boys arriving home is close to an hour!  An hour to decompress from the stress of the day.  An hour to prepare for the homework and activities ahead.  An hour to get the metabolism going.  An hour to decide what to make for dinner that someone will actually eat! And some days Pete is home too, so he can wait for them!.  So there is now time for the mid week long run if it’s on the schedule!  That really has really enabled me to train for marathon number two during the school year. 
Bus Stop!
All that racing home before the school bus had been a benefit to me.  As a working mom it helps me feel connected to their school day. But it just might be the secret to my speed because I pride myself on getting there on time ;) 


  1. Congrats on coming so far, Heather! I hope the race today went well--can't wait to hear how you did.

  2. Reading the beginning part of this post TAKES ME BACK!!! I swear I knew NOTHING ahead of my first race (also a 10K). I had been in a 10k class and knew a few things, but mostly I knew nothing! I have learned so much!!! I too started with NOTHING, but now can't imagine a run/race without ALL the "important" things (body glide, watch, compression sleeves, body glide, hydration belt, etc). Ha! Those were the days weren't they. Glad to have gone through them and be on this side of it now. I too FELL IN LOVE with racing after that first 10K race.
    GREAT POST!!! Good luck at your upcoming race!