Weekending: Wicked Good Times

What a weekend! I don't think I realized how much I needed to go back home until I actually did it. I hadn't been back in over 3 months, which I recently realized is the 2nd longest stint I've ever had away from home (for perspective, the longest was only 4 months, when I lived in Florida, 3 times as far away). I had a ton of anxiety Friday for some reason - could have been pre-race nerves, could have been trying to cram like 5 different things into a short Friday evening window - but as soon as we got downtown I immediately felt so much better and so happy!

#nofilter
The first thing I did was head to my coffee date, then I went to my parents' so we could eat dinner and Ben, my dad, and I could pick up our packets for the Wicked 10k the next morning! I don't know why I was so freaked out about this race, but I'm pretty sure it's because I was planning to run fast, and running fast is scary. When I mapped out my race calendar earlier this year, I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to run this race, because if I had gone through with the full marathon, this weekend would have been my biggest and last long run at 23 miles (woof). This race is pretty special to me - it was my first 10k 3 years ago, it's the only race I've done every year since I started running, it's Halloween (my favorite holiday)-themed,  plus it finishes on the same boardwalk where I finished my first race ever (a 5k), my aforementioned first 10k, my first half marathon, my second marathon, and several other races in between - so needless to say, I really wanted to continue my streak!

Since I'm not marathon training anymore, I've had some time to work on my speed. My goals for the Wicked 10k were:
  • Realistic Goal: beat my official PR by over a minute (under 54:00)
  • Reach Goal: beat my unofficial PR (under 52:42)
  • Crazy Goal: under 52:00
I'll be honest, maybe unexpectedly crushing my crazy goal at the Hokie Half gave me a boost, but my plan going in to this race was to go straight for the crazy sub-52 goal. Before the race we met up with a running buddy of ours and when I told him my goal was 52 minutes he asked me, "Why not 50? Go for it! You trained for this. Leave it all out on the course. That's what you're here for!"

I already knew what it would take to go sub-50: an 8:03 average pace, which I just wasn't sure I could pull off. Still, what he said stuck with me throughout the race. As soon as I crossed the start line, I gunned it. I ran right at the edge of uncomfortable throughout the whole race. After my first mile (8:07) I started thinking, I could slow down, I'll still easily finish under 52 minutes. But then I'd think about what my friend said, and I kept moving forward as fast as I could. It was a weird feeling, I think because it's been so long since I ran on flat ground. It wasn't as easy as I was anticipating, it was just different. It was like...even though sometimes I wanted to slow down, I physically couldn't. I think I've gotten so used to hitting hills that force my legs to slow down, that without them I didn't know how to make them slow down. This was the first time in months that my body has been 100% responsible for propelling myself forward, without any external help or hindrance. It was weird.

So I pretty much spent the race feeling like I was on a runaway train. My 2nd mile was 7:56 (OMG I've never run sub-8 during a race before!), 3rd was 7:52 (OMG now THAT's my new official split PR), 4th was 7:56, and by then I was starting to question how much longer I could keep going so I finally figured out the slowing down thing and ran mile 5 at 8:06. We turned on to the boardwalk right before mile 5, and from there it was a straight stretch to the finish. For the whole race my average pace had been steady at 7:58-7:59. Somewhere during mile 6 it creeped up to 8:00 and I knew I would be SO mad if I came that close to a sub-8 pace and just missed it. I've run several other races that feature the boardwalk as part of the race, and as far as race views go, it doesn't get much better. That gave me a bit of a second wind so I picked it up a little bit. Mile 6 was 8:03 and when I got to the last .2, I mustered up all the strength I had to finish it out. I was so ready to be done! I ran the last .24 at 7:18 pace for a total distance of 6.24 miles in 49:46 - 7:58 average pace.

My official pace (calculated based on 6.2 miles) was 8:01 pace, so a slight bummer that I didn't officially get that sub-8, but that just gives me a goal for next time! I have never run so fast for so long and I absolutely gave it all I had. It was the best race I think I've ever run. I couldn't believe it, but when I got my official results, I finished in the top 3% (14/556) of women in my age group, top 3% (82/3598) of women overall, and top 6% (306/5385) overall. OVERALL. Out of EVERYONE. Over 5000 people ran this thing and I was the 306th person to finish. I can't even. I've never been competitive (with others, that is) when it comes to running and I'll never be in it to win it, but still. It's nice to see my hard work pay off and to feel validated.

The best part of Wicked is definitely the after-party! It was on the beach the first year I ran it, then it was moved indoors the past 2 years, but this year it was back out on the beach. It was a perfect day for it and we enjoyed many celebratory Blue Moons before going out for brunch and heading back home.

Other highlights:

  • Hanging out in Olde Towne, which is our cute little historic neighborhood where we lived before we moved to Blacksburg (we still have our condo there so it feels like home, even though we don't actually live there anymore and have a renter in our condo). Ben's dad took us out to dinner Saturday night, so we walked around while we waited for him. The Olde Towne Business Association does a Safe Trick-or-Treat and that was going on Saturday night, so there were tons of kids out all dressed up. We also got to watch a street performance of Thriller! It was a great night of hanging out in our city we love so much.


  • Getting to (virtually) see 2 good friends become Ironmen! They competed in Wilmington, NC but I was able to track their progress all day. One finished in an incredible 10 hours 48 minutes, and the other got really sick halfway through the day and struggled to finish, but they both did it! I'm so inspired by them now more than ever. I can't even comprehend what a feat that must be but, if I'm totally honest, I hope that one day I'll be able to. 
  • Running my Olde Towne route. I was planning on getting in 5 miles but 3 ended up being satisfying enough for my legs and brain. The views were quite different from the ones I've gotten used to the last few months!
  • My second listen to the whole Serial podcast thus far (I'm obsessed), followed by a good, old-fashioned solo Saves the Day singalong on my road trip back to Bburg.

Also! Tomorrow is your chance to link up for Training for Tuesday! Grab a button and tell us how it's going!

tracytris

18 comments :

  1. Wow! You should be so proud of that time. It must have felt great to run so fast.
    I totally understand your nerves. I trained to run a faster 5K and felt like puking the night before the race because of nerves. A 5K!!!

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    1. Thanks, Julie! It felt SO fast! Like I said, it was like I couldn't control my legs haha!
      That's funny, glad I'm not the only one! At this point I'm pretty confident that I can cover the distance in a race, but I'm never sure if I'll be able to do it as fast as I want to and that's nerve-wracking!

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  2. Look at you speedy!!! My favorite line: "I've never been competitive (with others, that is) when it comes to running and I'll never be in it to win it, but still. It's nice to see my hard work pay off and to feel validated." I love that! I know that I'll probably never win a race but I can win on my own terms. I think next year I'm going to do more 5ks and 10ks. Do you have any other races you're signed up for there? AKA ones that are pancake flat and end on the boardwalk - I think I need to get in on that!

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  3. You're a beast, girl! Good for you.

    Glad you had such an amazing weekend. My training has been so terrible lately... hopefully I can muster up some good runs this week because the weekend after this one is my 10 mile race... then just about a month is my next half. I've been such a terrible runner lately.

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  4. Good for you! I'm so impressed and like you said it's a goal for next time now.

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    1. Thanks! In a way I'm a little glad I didn't get sub-8 this time...it's scary to think about how fast I have to run next time!

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  5. oh I am so happy for you - I'm sorry you didn't get your sub 8 minutes, but still the overall time is nothing to sneeze at - you're amazing! I am not sure I will ever be that fast, I think my fastest 10k was 55:13 (2012) so I'd love to beat that one day. Look at you being the 306th finisher! that's awesome!

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  6. That is absolutely AWESOME girl!!! You inspire me so much! Just last time I told Jared, " I think I'm ready to sign up for another half" and his jaw about dropped haha!

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  7. What a fantastic PR! You rocked it!

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  8. Congrats on rocking the 10k- so impressive!!

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  9. You are INCREDIBLE. I'm so proud of and so happy for you! You deserve all the joys and good feelings and pats on the back after running your heart out this weekend. Savor the high!

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  10. Congrats on the race! So happy for you. And there really isn't a better feeling than arriving back in your hometown.. it just feels like all is right in the world again! Glad you had a good weekend!

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  11. Wayy to go!! I wish I could have been at two places at once this past weekend. Seems like the Wicked 10K was loads of fun.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! Wicked is always such a great time but the party being back on the beach this year made it even better!

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  12. Oh my gosh Tracy, that's amazing!!! I am so so happy for you. Love all your pics, what a beautiful town!

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  13. I was in so much suspense reading down to find your time-- congratulations!!!! So amazing to finish in the top 3% and 6% overall! What an amazing accomplishment! So glad you had a good weekend trip home!

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