It’s pretty early in the season, so opportunities like this one don’t come along too often. However, I recently was able to race a 10-mile race in one of my favorite locations; the North Park Boathouse loop in Allison Park, PA. I’ve raced out here a few different times, but it’s been a full year since the last time! In the past, I’ve used the race series at North Park as a building prep for the Pittsburgh Marathon. Unfortunately this year, I’m unable to run the marathon, but the races are still nice little “testers” as the season approaches. In fact, the season might already be HERE!
I love racing for a few reasons…first and foremost, it’s always a great opportunity to test your fitness. Regardless of whether you’re in phenomenal shape or if you need to start dialing things in a bit more…races will expose you for exactly where you are at that part of your training. Whenever you race, you should ALWAYS have an intelligent plan, and go after it. Racing brings out significantly more adrenaline than any training session can. So going hard during a race truly is your best expression of where your fitness currently lies. I also like racing for the comraderie. I’ve been coaching with VictoryMultisport for awhile now, and the community is just second to none. We had a handful of athletes racing, and even more there to support and cheer each other on. It was awesome. Race day energy is like no other energy, and it’s even better with teammates to support one another. Very thankful for the VMS crew!
So my plan for the race was really just to go hard. 10 miles is short enough that I can push pretty hard the entire time, but long enough that if I make a mistake, it will count. Well, I made a small mistake, but it really wasn’t a huge deal. I came out a little hard for the first 2-3 miles, averaging about 7:45-7:50 per mile. That’s nothing too fast, but it was a little fast for me where I’m at RIGHT NOW. So I was forced to calibrate a little bit and I pulled back. I ended up average about 8:12/mile and I’m completely happy with that! It was a very cold day, I chose to wear only short sleeves, and at first I was concerned with that decision, but it ended up being a good choice. I heat up fairly quickly, and short sleeves helped me stay cool and controlled.
I love opportunities to truly test fitness. When mistakes are made, however big or small, they’re really just learning opportunities. So for me, coming out too hot taught me a small lesson in terms of where my fitness is right now. It’s not quite where I thought it was at the start of the race, and that’s okay. I have over 4 months until my first race of the season, and tons of time to prepare. In my eyes, the real race season begins when I’m about 4 months away from my first “A” race. My first “A” race is HappyValley70.3 in early July. So in about a week and a half, I’ll begin a 4-month specific prep. That’s what I consider to be the “in-season” and I can’t wait.
For now, I’m just happy I got the opportunity to race and test my fitness! Congratulations to all other racers who got out there and braved the 25-degree starting line!
Onto the next one.