I had no business running the EQT 10 Miler. But I finished it and it was a lot of fun and I don’t think I learned what I was supposed to learn: you need to train for long races.
Let me repeat that:
YOU NEED TO TRAIN FOR LONG RACES.
I did not. I signed up for this race in the middle of a runner’s high after the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. I totally ignored the fact that at the peak of what should have been my training schedule, I would be getting married and going on my honeymoon! I did that! And in the midst of wedding planning, wedding-ing, and honeymoon-ing, I never even made a training schedule. Between that, the fact that my running partner and I had both spent much of late October fighting off colds and (in my case continuining) not running, and the predicted freezing weather, I really should have sat this one out.
But that’s just not me.
The good news is, my honeymoon was mostly hiking. We got in seven to ten miles of walking easily almost everyday. Here I am hiking in the Aran Islands (photo courtesy my husband!!):
So it could have been worse. At least I’d been walking long distances. And we were prepared for the cold. Here’s my cat Aayla sleeping in our gear:
Happily, it ended up being much warmer than we anticipated and I ditched all my old sweatshirts at the start line. We were in Corral C and got across the start line pretty quickly, just a few minutes after the 7 am start time. The corrals were a bit disorganized, runners we know who are faster than us were back in Corral D. It was really strange and because I was paying more attention to the other runners than my own pace, I got off to a start that was way too fast (see undertraining, above). So by the West End Bridge (2 miles in), I was ready to take a couple photos for you:
Despite my slow pace and under-training, this was a REALLY fun race. Much of it covers the same route as the Pittsburgh half marathon course in reverse, but it does deviate from that a bit. It’s a tough course, all rolling hills, but there were plenty of aid stations and water stops. The weather also turned out to be perfect for running. I was too warm in all my extra gear, grateful I’d left my gloves in the car, and jealous of my friend who decided to run in shorts.
By the time I finished, my friends and I were all ready to get in the car and go home so I grabbed some snacks at the finish line (banana, chips, bagel, and a bottle of water – awesome) and we walked back to the car. Even though it meant a long walk to the start and paying for parking, we’d parked closer to the finish than the start and that was a very good decision. It wasn’t long before we were home drinking Crazy Mocha harvest mochas and admiring our medals.
I would absolutely run this race again. The course was gorgeous, the race swag was great (long sleeve tech tee, gloves, and a bag), and I really want to run it faster next time.
But the reasons I don’t think I learned my training lesson:
1: The slow pace meant more of an “experience” – time to take in my surroundings, even more so than my usual slow-ish pace.
2: I didn’t injure myself (which was just luck).
3: I was less sore than after other races for which I’ve properly trained.
But I know, deep down, in my gut, that this was pure, dumb luck and I need to train for races.
So, with that, I think I’ll go for a run.