Sunday, April 26, 2015

Trolley Run Race Report

What: Trolley Run
Where: Kansas City
When: Sunday, April 26, 2015
Goal: Sub-29:00
Finish Time: 27:06

Over the last three weeks I have ran two trail marathons, both of which were challenging for different reasons. During the marathon last weekend, my left hamstring became really tight and I ended up with some hip pain due to all the slipping and sliding. Last Sunday I had a little bit of calf pain, but nothing major. I did a short three mile shake out run on Tuesday which went OK, but I could feel my hamstring a bit. I did a five mile run on Thursday and was feeling a bit better. Saturday morning I ran a seven mile run and it felt good, but I felt my hamstring get tight at around the five mile point, but as I picked up the pace a bit, the hamstring felt a bit better. I spent some time foam rolling the hamstring and quads so I wouldn't end up injuring myself during the race.

Race Morning:
All week ling I've been debating whether or not to actually "race" the Trolley Run, or just run it as a tempo run. Well, on the way to the race I put on my race mix CD and decided to race it. I started to warm up a bit and my hamstring was already tight. I spent some time massaging and stretching it, then went for another short jog to loosen it up. I repeated that cycle several times prior to the race.

One good things about the race, I always see quite a few of my friends there. I was surprised that saw quite a few fellow Trail Nerds at this road race. I guess it just shows how much fun this race can be, it also doesn't hurt that it's a fast course. At about 7:30, I went over and lined up in the red wave, which is for those who plan on going sub-30:00. I chatting with a friend and fellow Trail Nerd, Rick, while we waited for the race to start.

The Race:
I decided that I was still going to race it, but start off a little easy to test the hamstring, then pick it up if I felt it was safe. Sometime around 7:45 the race started. The first mile starts on a downhill, so I try to reel it in and not go out too fast. Before too long, another one of my friends, Jenna, passes by and we wish each other good luck. As she passed me quite quickly, I decided to pick the pace up some and try to hold it. I looked down and realized I was running a 7:11 pace and decided the hamstring felt OK so it was time to pick it up even more. I ended up finishing the first mile in 6:53. It felt tough, but I decided to see how long I could hold the pace. I had the song "This is Gonna Hurt," by Sixx AM, playing in my mild to help me keep pace.

Mile 2 was more the same. I started to pick people to use as "rabbits" and pull me along. I started breathing a bit harder during this mile, but the pace still felt sustainable. I just kept plugging along. The song "Bring It," by Trapt, was playing in my mind during this mile. It must have worked since I finished Mile 2 in 6:52.

Mile 3 was mostly downhill and I struggled to keep the pace here. I was passing people, but one of my "rabbits" had pulled quite a bit ahead of me. I dug down and started to pick it up a bit to close the gap. Up ahead, I saw a gal that started in front of me that was hoping to get a 26-27:00 time. I figured if I could catch up to her, I could get close to a PR time. Since I started thinking about the time during this mile, the song "Got the Time," by Anthrax, started playing in my mind. I did end up closing the gap on my "rabbit" and the other gal, finishing Mile 3 in 6:48.

Mile 4 started and I was really struggling to hold it together. I started fighting with my mind, it kept telling me to walk and I kept telling it to shut the F@*# UP! I then started to have the song "Blow," by Atreyu play in my mind. Instead of walking, I picked up the pace and passed the gal that was hoping for a 26-27:00 time, and started to really close the gap on the "rabbit." Just a half mile to go now and I'm reeling them in so i try to find another gear. I see the final turn up ahead, after that we have maybe a quarter mile to the finish. I pick it up a bit, then after the turn I try to kick. With about 100 yards to go I finally passed my "rabbit" and just focused on the clock. I knew I had a chance a getting a PR, but I couldn't go any faster. I crossed the finish line, stopped my Garmin and saw that it would be close, depending on chip time. I finished Mile 4 in 6:33 and ended up with a finish time of 27:06, tying my PR set in this race back in 2012.

Since I thought I would struggle with going sub-29:00, I am ecstatic that I tied my PR! Then again, I know I could have gone sub-27:00 today if I had just believed that I had the endurance to do it. There's always something to learn from every race, with this one, I learned I am in better running shape than I thought. Things are definitely starting to look up. Now it's time to take it easy and rest up for the big challenge next weekend!

If you made it all the way through, thanks!