Whew, it's been a long time since I've blogged. Need to jump right back into it. Anyway, February 2nd came along and I did a 50k race in Charlotte, NC. The course was a 10k out and back course on the greenway and most of it was on a path, 4k was on gravel, every kilometer was marked out so it was a lot easier for me to see what pace I was running at. The course itself was pretty flat so I didn't have any problems with the fast pace that I was running at. The aid stations were placed about a mile and a half from the start, at around the 5k mark, and of course, at the starting area, so it was easy to keep yourself hydrated during the run.
Before the race, I made sure that I drank a bottle of water with chia seeds to give me enough energy to last til the end of the race. I got myself 2 bottles of Pedialyte to make sure that I would have enough electrolytes to last the whole race so that my muscles wouldn't cramp up from the lack of salt in my system. Drinking a little Pedialyte before the race, I was ready to go.
Now from the beginning of the race, I had no idea what I was going to finish the race in, but I thought that it'd be a good idea if I just kept each 10k at about 50 min, so I went out fairly easily. I continued on at that pace and my first 10k I came out a little under 45 minutes. I figured that that was a pretty decent time, and decided that I'd do two 10ks at that pace and then do the rest at 50 min. I found out that at that point, I was running at about 3rd place, so I was pretty stoked about the whole situation but didn't let that get to my head. After walking a little bit and drinking the Pedialyte that my friend Aaron gave me, I just went back to running and I just kept on going.
The second lap, I felt like I needed to keep my pace constant, but inconveniently, I needed to relieve myself of this excess liquid from the drinks that I had before the race. I nicely asked the people about the porta-potty, and they told me that nobody was inside, so I asked to reserve one of those for me... and when they laughed, I just went in, did my stuff, came out, got ready, ate a banana and left. Because of the rest stop, I was passed by a number of people, and I probably ended up at about 7-8th place. I felt like I needed to make up for the lost time and so I picked up my pace a little bit, and went back to cruising at 3rd place with the 4th and 5th place runners right behind me. I finished my lap, walked a bit as Aaron gave me Pedialyte, the two runners went passed me and I let them. I still had a whole bunch of running to do. This was my chill time.
The third lap, I was feeling pretty good and just kept going at that 4.5min/km pace and continued on my way. I ended up passing the guy in front of me so I stuck around 4th place, seeing the 3rd place guy every once in a while. It was a decent pace and I still had a couple laps to go, so I wasn't worried about my speed, just about my endurance.
The fourth lap was the same as the third lap and I just continued my pace. The 3rd place runner actually stopped a little bit to hydrate or something, so I 'suddenly' caught up to him, but away he went as I walked and drank my Pedialyte.
The fifth and final lap was the most exciting lap. I was 4th place, and I knew that if I wanted to get on the podium, I would need to make sure that I caught the guys ahead of me. I had kept the 45 min average and so by then, it had become a little tiring for me, but I kept at it, knowing that I only had a little more to go til I finished. During the first half of the run, the 2nd place runner had hit a wall and slowed down a lot, and so both the 3rd place runner and I passed him, and knowing that I was top three, I was happy... but not satisfied. At the turnaround point, the current 2nd place runner had about a 2.5 minute lead on me, and so I knew I needed to do something to catch him. I corrected my running form because I had become a little sloppy during this whole time. I leaned forward and pushed myself onward and felt that I was going faster, but he was still nowhere in sight. 4km left and I was anxious. I wanted to catch him so bad but I didn't want to push myself so much that I would use whatever energy I had left... 3km left and I still didn't know what was going to happen so I went a little faster, pushing harder and harder but not too hard... 2 km left and I hadn't caught up with him. I felt like giving up, but at the same time, I knew that in giving up here, it would eliminate all the chances of me catching him. Instead, I persevered and went onward, pushing myself. I was almost at the 1km mark when I spotted him a ways ahead of me. I knew that I needed to catch him fast or else he may start sprinting at the end and beat me, so I continued my fast pace, matching his cadence but making my strides bigger. At about 500m til the end, I caught up with him, and with the momentum built up, I pushed passed him and charged on ahead, not daring to look behind me. I chose to do this only because I needed to make sure to crush his spirit and at the same time, push myself to the limit and get a good time. At the final stretch, I was at a dead sprint, and crossed the line at 3:44:28.7, an average of 7:13 per mile. The guy behind me finished about 50 seconds later.
It was an epic run (even though I didn't get 1st, haha) and I really enjoyed that race. I was able to give it my best and was able to continue at a pace that I didn't know I could do. This race has definitely given me more confidence in myself and where I stand in regarding speed. I believe that my final test would be the Knoxville Marathon, where I would do my best and get a PR, going for 1st place. I have 2 months to train for this Knoxville Marathon and my training starts tomorrow.
Knowing where I am now, I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the future. With consistent training, I'll be able to mold myself into the runner I want to be.