I ran a truly dreadful race yesterday. There was a local 10 miler and it was hot and sunny. I may have started out too fast, but even when I got to what should have been a reasonable and sustainable pace for me, my heart rate was just too high and I felt like I was struggling.
The first quarter mile I was trying to keep up with a friend, then I realized he was completely not serious about running easy -- good for him, he ran an awesome race, and got an Age Group award. So then I was solo until about mile 4. I caught up to another friend and ran with him though about 6.5, when I felt like I was slowing him down and told him to go without me.
I slowed and slowed. Ugh. I was feeling miserable. Pissed at myself for being so slow, pissed at myself for being out of shape, pissed at myself for forgetting my hat, pissed at myself for everything. There were a couple very slow miles.
Then a friend from behind caught up to me and we ran the last 1.5 miles together or so. Having the conversation made it much more bearable, and our final mile was actually back to the pace of my first few miles.
Either way, when I finished, I was thoroughly disappointed in my performance. Kind of silly since I truly had no intention of racing it. I'm not in race-ready shape and I know it. I know it's going to take several months to get back there, and I'm just starting that process. But it had just been so hot, and my 2 slow miles were 1 min 30 secs slower than my earlier miles, and that was just so frustrating.
There was pizza and beer at the finish line though, so that was nice. My friend had really run a kick-butt race, so we hung out until results posted. Sure enough, he'd gotten third in his AG. So we stayed to wait for awards. There was a band, and we just grabbed some seats in the shade and hung out, mostly my complaining about some uncertainty that's been happening at work.
Anyway, after what felt like forever, they finally started the awards. Surprise! He'd actually gotten second! And then they read women's awards. I knew my name wasn't on the list, but something must have been wrong. I think most likely the person who was listed as winning my AG ended up with an overall award, but either way, I made the cut and got my little prize. A glass (pictured below). Slim competition I guess; my performance in no way merited the award.
But the funny thing was how the race experience was transformed in my mind in that moment. Even though my finish time remained disappointingly the same, suddenly the AG award made it not so painful, and actually a fun running memory. I swear, I baffle myself sometimes!