Hey friends! The third and final race of my “summer of speed” training cycle was yesterday evening and it was a good one!
The Chickasabogue Park 2 mile race takes place the second Tuesday in August each year at Chickasabogue Park in Mobile County. This is the only local 2 mile race that I am aware of and there is usually a pretty decent turnout. It seems like several people go home with age group state records each year. This year was no exception!
Daniel and I left around 5:15 p.m. to head to the race, which started at 6:30 p.m. It was pouring rain as we drove across the bay, which was not fun. My motivation level was fairly low and the rain definitely wasn’t helping anything. I’m fairly certain that it rains right before this race almost every year (err well … I know it has rained at least 3 out of the 5 years that I’ve run it … so 60% of the time, it rains every time).
We were lucky enough to avoid a major traffic backup on the Bayway and we made it to the park around 6 p.m. This is one of those bare bones, no frills races. The registration is $10 and there are no awards or shirts or anything like that, which is totally cool with me. I got registered and headed out to do a 2 mile warm up with some of our training buddies.
The rain cleared out just as the race was about to start, which was nice, but it also left us with some think, muggy air. As we lined up on the start line, I was completely drenched (partially with rain and partially with sweat). I knew that I needed to run just under 5:50 pace to get the state record for my age group and that was my main focus. Going into the race, I was fairly confident that I would be able to do that, but my confidence dwindled a little bit pre-race. Given the conditions, I knew I was really going to have to work really hard if I wanted to get that record.
The course is an out and back with one turn (well, two turns if you count one on the way out and one on the way back). There is a very slight net downhill on the way out, you hit the turnaround just before the one mile mark (the start and finish are about a tenth of a mile apart, so you don’t hit the turnaround at exactly one mile) and then you have a slight uphill on the way back to the finish.
I didn’t look at my watch much during the race. I’ve found that the constant feedback doesn’t tend to actually help me in the moment. If I look down and see a pace that I think is too fast, I slow down (even if I physically feel okay) and if I look down and see a pace that is slower than I am expecting, I feel defeated and probably end up slowing down then as well. I still like to wear my watch during the races though, because … Strava … and data …
After the first half mile, I was in fifth place overall. I was about 10 – 15 seconds behind the leaders. I came through the first mile in 5:44. I knew that the second mile would be the real test, so I tried to focus on holding the pace as much as possible. This is where I definitely decided NOT to look at the watch. I felt like I was probably slowing down a little bit, but I didn’t really want to know for sure. Ignorance works best sometimes.
With half a mile to go, the biggest blessing of the day came. I got passed! This may seem weird, but it helped me SO MUCH. I was starting to struggle and when this runner passed me, he actually encouraged me to pick it up and to run with him. We encouraged each other the rest of the way (he did more encouraging than I did … I think he was feeling GOOD and I was feeling *okay*). I am so thankful for his sportsmanship! I feel like most guys would’ve just passed me and tried to leave me in their dust, but this young lad (16 years old) decided to help me out.
My second mile was 5:47 and somehow I managed to not run the tangents very well and I ended up with an additional 5 seconds before we got to the finish line. The 16-year-old out kicked me in the end (which I am totes okay with) and so I ended up as the 1st girl and 6th overall. I also got my age group state record by 3 seconds! Phew. Cut it a little close there. I actually missed the age group record last year by exactly 3 seconds, so it’s pretty cool to get it by 3 seconds this year. Several other runners got age group records as well (I know there were at least 4 of us)! Yay!
We ran the course again after the race as a cool down. There is an after-party celebration where they do the Port City Pacer awards from the previous year, but we didn’t stick around for that. It was getting close to 8 p.m. at this point and because of my #mawmawstatus, I was ready to get home, eat dinner and go to sleep!
I celebrated with some state record fudge brownies when I got home. I started a new celebratory fudge tradition after my one mile record a few weeks ago and I’m planning to keep that tradition alive and strong (it’s a delicious tradition :)). I was also actually able to sleep really soundly after the race, which was AMAZING. The past two weeks, I have not been able to sleep at all after the evening races, so that was just a real nice surprise, Clark … a real nice surprise.
That wraps up the summer of speed! I enjoyed pushing myself this summer and training for races that I usually wouldn’t have specifically focused on. I’m planning to take a little break from workouts in the next week or two and search my soul to figure out what it is that I truly want to do next (in a slightly less dramatic fashion than that makes it sound). Stay tuned!