Saturday, Johnna, Lynna, and I made the drive to OKC to trails at Lake Stanley Draper to run the Oklahoma State Games Trail Run.
Johnna was volunteering at an aid station, and Lynna and I were doing the short run (a 4-miler.) I had signed up for the 12-mile race, but my dad and his lady-friend decided to tie the knot at 2:00 that afternoon so even the 8-miler might be hard to complete in time to drive back home, shower, and get to the church on time. Doing 4 gave us enough time, and we could even grab a bite to eat on the way home.
The 12-milers started at 9:00 am, the 8-milers three minutes later, and the short runners three minutes after that. I had the usual "first-mile-sucks" thing going on, and once that subsided, I was too warm so I shed a shirt, head sweating so I altered my buff/hat contraption, and then my shoes were too loose. Whine whine whine. But then, I picked up the pace ever so slightly. At about 2 miles in, I finally caught a walker and I climbed out of last place. YAY!
The zany duo of Beth McCombs and Johnna were at the lone aid station on the course. They posed for a face-stuffing photo, and then I headed out to see if I could finish strong. I had 1.7 miles to the finish line and I made myself increase my cadence and tried to find a quicker pace I could hang on to.
I stopped for a quick picture of the white bike (I wish I knew the story behind this bike.) The final mile by my watch was a much faster pace. I popped out into a clearing and saw that train of runners I had spotted earlier. I may have turned my shuffle into something that more resembled a run. For sure, I had the huffing and puffing noises that are sometimes associated with a hard run. I did manage to pass all of them, and a couple more single runners ahead. The results verify I passed 11 runners in the 4-mile race. 102:33, which leaves a lot of room for improvement. I'm proud of my last mile. I think there's some logic to squeezing out a warm-up run before the race starts. That'll happen in my next short race.
My mile splits
2. 16:50 (included clothing adjustments)
3. 14:40 (included aid station stop)
I'm at a place in my running where I have to look for SOMETHING to hang my hat on. I'm never gonna run at the intensity that I once did. The only PRs I am gonna get are ones where I have not run that distance before. (In this case, my 4-mile PR is 1:02:33.) I did prove one thing to myself--I can suck it up and make my body do what it doesn't want to do. It was a small improvement, and next time out, I want another small improvement in some aspect of my running. Sprinkling in an honest effort in training will help. Last week, I finished a race that I fully intended to quit. Next week, I hope to dig deep and find another piece of inner strength (or stubbornness) within myself. It's a process. I'm making it a process.