My second official Texas race is on the books. I had been looking forward to this race for a few months. Quite a few local runners had mentioned how they really liked it, and that it was a great course. I was feeling pretty excited to test my fitness because I hadn’t raced a distance longer than a 5k since my last marathon earlier this year in Feb. This was also going to be my first 10 mile distance race, and I was excited to see how this distance would feel.
The week leading up to race I was getting really excited, but the weather here in Texas is still very warm and humid so I was nervous, and having a lot of self doubt that I would be able to push myself in these types of conditions. I have been struggling to hit paces in some of my workouts because of the weather so the self doubt was really doing a number on my mental game.
My diet stayed the same during the week of the race, but I did up my water intake, especially Wed, Thurs and Fri of the week. I wanted to make sure I was really hydrated since it was going to be humid race morning. I did try one new thing —- The coffee taper— have you heard of this? I first heard about it listening to a podcast with Neely Gracey. This is where you eliminate coffee (all caffeine) 4-5 days before race day, and then when you have coffee or caffeine race morning your body will be super responsive to it. Well, I knew I could not do 4-5 days. I figured 2.5 days would be a good try for me. So Wed morning I had a really small cup of coffee and then I didn’t have any caffeine after that…..well let’s just say by Thurs afternoon I had the biggest raging headache of my life. I ended up having to take an ibuprofen that night to go to bed, and I rarely ever take ibuprofen! Friday morning I woke up and ended up having a cup of coffee with my breakfast. Who am I kidding, I am not a pro athlete! Sometimes I like to pretend I am! HAHA but there is no money on the line come race day so life is too short for me not to enjoy my cup of coffee!
Friday – Day before Race
Breakfast : English muffin with PB / coffee
Lunch : Salad with Quinoa patty
Snack : Cocoa Almonds / Cashews
Dinner : Chicken enchiladas and a ton of chips and salsa
Epsom salt bath
Saturday – Race Day
5:30 am – Wake up time – Dressed and made an English muffin with PB and 1/2 a banana and coffee. Stomach was a bunch of nerves but managed to eat most of the breakfast.
6:30 am – Drive to the race with the family – Drank some of my NUUN with caffeine on the way.
7:00 am – Warm up run – Found an HEB (grocery store) on my warm up route and took a quick restroom pit stop.
7:20 am – Start line – Had a gel about 5 mins before the start.
7:30 am Race Start!! I was actually feeling pretty calm!
Mile 1-3 (7:22, 7:17, 7:26)
The first mile I felt was going to be so slow! I had gotten blocked in behind people at a few places, and that really slowed me down, however I think it was a good thing. It prevented me from going out way too fast in the beginning. The only time I checked my watch during the race was after the first mile. I really wanted to trust my body and run by feel. The next two miles I was still feeling really relaxed, almost too easy, and I was worried I might be running too slow, but I kept telling myself there is still a lot of race to go and not to get too excited and speed up yet.
Mile 4-6 (7:23, 7:21,7:19)
I was still feeling really good during these miles. I remember thinking this feels a lot easier right now than some of my training runs I have done. I wondered if I wasn’t pushing enough, but I told myself I was going to wait until mile 5 to start kicking it up a notch. I also took a gel at mile 5!
Mile 7-9 (7:12, 7:21, 7:16)
My goal for this race was to finish strong. I didn’t want to go out too fast and not have anything left for the last few miles. I was able to start picking up the pace a little bit around mile 5 and even more at mile 6. Mile 7 was one of my best miles, but then mile 8 I hit a wall. My legs turned to jello and I started to worry. I was thinking about how there were still a few more miles and I felt like I wasn’t going to make it. I kept repeating my mantra “champions never give up”. I also dialed in on the next female ahead and just concentrated on closing the gap. Suddenly my legs came back. Mile 9 I had a second wind.
The final Mile (7:11)
That second wind was short lived! This was a good mile but it was not easy. I started to see spots and all I could do was pray I would make it to the finish. There was only one female I could see ahead and I worked on catching her for the last few miles. Just focusing on her really helped me to get to that finish line.
I have to say I really love Texas race events. They are well organized, fun, and a great social scene with lots of food and entertainment afterwards. One of my prize winning’s was an entry into next years race! Cannot wait to run this event again.
Do you have a favorite race that you love to run year after year? Would you try the coffee taper!?!?!?!