Tuesday, September 27, 2011

10K PR, But No Cigar - And a few thoughts about missed goals

(You might want to skip this part, but in put it in for those interested in all the little details)

When Amanda invited me to come race with her and Nicole in Estacada, I didn't think I would be able to go. Hubby was still hunting somewhere in the Wallowas.  I am still new to the hunting scene, but I am starting to understand that (like all things worthy of doing) it takes time-- and you don't want to use the time without reward.

We were blessed that he was able to fill his tag and pack a few hundred pounds of animal 6 or so miles out of the steep mountains. We have loads of lean, range-fed steaks, burger and sausage to show for it now! :)

During the time he was gone, I did very little running. That was fine, since my body could use the recovery from the last race anyway. What running I did was with the help of my in-laws watching the boys, or my friends Becci and Lester, who lent me a treadmill for late-night sessions. I hate running on a TM, but I was glad to have it!

The Prefontaine 10K was probably the perfect workout a week before this race: The Best Dam Run 10K. I felt fully recovered by race day (Saturday). Legs were still a little tight Friday (Back of knee tightness comes on every once in a while for me), but a 5 mile easy run, early, worked that out. I saw an opportunity to reach that sub 40 10K goal, and was grateful that my husband understood how badly I wanted to race again, and that he was willing to watch the boys solo for my overnight trip.
Race day

I woke up at 6:10 for a 10AM race. Amanda had graciously opened her home to me, and we had some driving to do. Breakfast was oatmeal, banana and coffee with milk and sugar. I showered (always do for races - not training! It's an artificial warm-up and mental thing) and geared up. I had been drinking Crystal Light pure fitness drink for the last two days to get plenty of fluids and electrolytes.
The three amigas at the check-in area in Estacada. Sporting my arm warmers for Nelly and Julie.
When we arrived in Estacada, it reminded me a lot of my own small town, except that it is on a different river, is a bit bigger in population, and has some "upscale" Portland influences. It was rural and scenic. The course was point-to-point and started up river, meaning it would be a net downhill race. The perfect set-up to reach my goal.

During warm up, I ran 2 miles easy and ran 5 strides of 100-200 meters at about 5-5:30 pace.  I saw the porta-potty lines (second trip there) and found an empty ditch with bushes instead. When I headed up to the start, I found Nicole (who was very concerned for us)- but not Amanda. The race director was counting down and with 20 seconds to go, I saw her huffing up the hill playing with her Garmin! Talk about cutting it close!

The line was not painted across the road, so we all got near the imaginary spot. When the gun went off, it was a serious downhill start. I could hear Amanda shout "GO RAINA!". What a way to start a race. What a friend.

A few men and a very cut woman in a bright Brooks racing tank and shorts were ahead. I am not sure why I went out at a 5 minute pace, but I did for while...then I talked myself into letting them ahead and settling into a reasonable/realistic pace. Perhaps that was an error, or going out too fast was. I do not know.

Mile 1-6:06 (best pace 4:49)
Miles 1-3 were gorgeous, with views into a canyon with the Clackamas river below.  It was a bit smokey due to wild fires, but the scenery was mesmerizing. I ran solo and focused on settling into a good pace. Looked at my watch a few times and wondered if it would keep tracking with all the trees and canyons. 

Mile 2 -6:24 (12:29 running total)
There was some gravel in patches and along the steep wall, but this was pretty minimal. It really just gave me something to think about in regards to not stumbling.

Boy scouts manned the water stations at 2 points in the race. I think I took water at mile 3- and just a sip.

Mile 3- 6:25 (18:55 running total)

We lost our shade somewhere in mile 4. It felt warm, but not unbearably hot. I stayed focused on hitting the tangents as much as possible to keep the course short. Many walkers were on the course at this point, but they were off to the right, and might have made a few of those tangents harder to hit. But they paid their fees and have right to walk the tangents too, I suppose. :)

Mile 4- 6:21 (25:16 running total)

Mile 5 came as a surprise to me. I should have looked at a profile map first. It was an uphill mile and my legs had been cranking hard for the last 4. I didn't do the math, but figured I had banked enough time in the first mile to rest a little in this section. But it didn't feel restful. When I saw the pace for mile 5, I knew it wasn't good, but still reasoned I had enough banked in the first mile to be under my goal. That was certainly a tactical error, if not a lazy mathematical one. 

Mile 5- 6:52 (32:08 running total)
I list the running total here to show that I thought I had almost 8 minutes to run one mile. 
Except I didn't. 
As we entered Estacada, I saw the city limit sign, surrounded by signs that read 40, 40 mph, that is. I heard my watch beep for 6 miles and didn't bother to look.

Mile 6- 6:29 (38:37 running total) 
A little way after this, I turned the corner for the final stretch. I looked for the finish and the big clock. I saw the clock turn from 39:59 to 40:00 ..and my heart sank. I finished strong and was handed a beautiful 10K medal.
Photo by Steven Wagner

Final .25- 6:28 (40:13/ 40:14 official),
Average garmin pace: 6:26, goal of 6:25 or better. Official average pace 6:29.

I grabbed a water and went back to the finish line. A short while later I spotted Nicole and Amanda coming in, both with BIG Beautiful smiles on their faces! I was thrilled to see they raced so well and finished faster than their individual goals.
Post race

I did my usual cool-down and Amanda joined me; Nicole's sweet family came and they parted ways for a family day after Nicole's husband took our photos.
 Photo by Steven Wagner

The food was worth going to race for!! There was watermelon, pretzels, bagels, peanut butter, string cheese, bananas, cold sports drink. Did I say watermelon?

Due to some issues with computers going down, the race awards ceremony was changed to a table where you could go and ask for your award, but sometimes I prefer that to a ceremony anyway!

Wendy, the first female, finished in a cracking 36:49 (5:56) pace.

I really enjoyed talking with her and trying to learn from a pro. She is 42 and is shooting for a 2:40:00 at the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend. Since she started running at 30, and I was 33 when I really got started, maybe I can be that fast by the time I am 45! Ha.

Final stats:
2/236 females
1/35 in age group
25/413 overall

For a very detailed and well written review of this race, click HERE.
Some thoughts on missing my sub 40 goal.

I was disappointed, but I trust God. I know that sometimes He doesn't let us reach our goals because He wants to build character in us. He wants us to grow, to be more like Him. 
I worked hard, yes. But if I got the sub 40, this time, maybe it wouldn't have been with the right heart. I would rather have the right heart than the sub 40.

The following applies to me:
I have children and a husband. I have been called to care for them. For a while I am letting go of the goal, but for a better cause. That is not to say I don't still want to be a 39:59 or faster 10K racer, just that it is not going to be my pursuit every weekend if it doesn't help my family.
That is not to say I wouldn't race if the right opportunity came up, but it would have to be very right. Many races are on Sundays and I wish they weren't. I like to be with my church and family on Sunday. It is important not to be running off to races. A marathon once or twice a year, maybe, but not 5ks & 10ks every weekend. There might be a season for that someday, but probably not until my children are able to race those distances without hand-holding.
Some things I am deeply thankful for:

  • I rarely get the chance to run with other people and I had the chance to do it twice in 8 days. 
  • I have explored the depths of intense 10K training, tapering and racing. I raced 4 10k's this summer/fall. That's more than 2 other years combined!
  • My husband has been a faithful supporter and watches the kids so I can train and race.
  • My parents come to most of my races.
  • Good friends.
  • I have not been injured since February, and I have gotten faster!
  • My 10K is almost 4 minutes faster than a year ago.- 17 minutes faster than 3 years ago, when I first started getting serious about distance running.
  • I started home school for my 6 year old last week and he LOVES it. So do I!! I had been dragging my feet about doing it.  I didn't realize how much both of us would thrive from the organization and one-on-one time.

Col 3:17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


  1. Can't wait to get here after book club!! I've been waiting for this!!

  2. YAY! I have missed you! Great job, (even tho I have read the recap on the other blogs, I have been waiting for you!) Congrats on your finish, you are amazing and ROCK that skirt :)

  3. ooo and your "thankfulness" touches me! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Raina. Such a beautiful thoughtful post. First off, I am just so proud of you. Can you believe that you have taken 17 min off your 10K in 3yrs? that is AMAZING! so the 14 seconds will come, for sure....and then you will just keep going from there. It was so wonderful to meet you. I knew you were fantastic but it was so nice to hve that confirmed:) I wish I could have stayed for the cool down:( i wanted to chat more and have more time to ask you questions.
    I think you have your thinking in the right spot. Sometimes it's hard b/c we see these women who don't have kids or jobs or families and we want to run like them. I always tell Stephanie. Our time will come. When our kids are older and we have more free time, we too can run 80 miles a week and run a 2:40 marathon:)
    way to keep your priorities straight for now. xx

  5. Okay, I'm back! Love this! such a great perspective here Raina. Beautiful. It was so wonderful to be part of this and have you come up to stay. I'm positive you have so much more in you...it will happen when the time is right. Love to you!

  6. Nice race! That sub 40 is sure to be yours! I rarely get to run people too. Lately, I've been making a bigger effort. And it's worth it. Running with others is awesome...

  7. Super run, well done! 2nd female...you rock! The sub 40 is there and will come when the time is right. I agree 100% with you and the family duties. I've changed my race plans drastically over the past few weeks, keeping things a bit closer to home.

  8. How awesome you all got together! Goal reached or not, you did amazingly and the sub 40 will be yours. You know that.

  9. Raina, you are racing and learning! I have no doubt that the sub 40 will be yours next time (looking at your splits, I do think it was yours this time fitness wise, but you are right, it was not the "time" for it). Same with a 2:40 marathon (Olympic trials). The sky is the limit. I have learned that running is mostly about putting in the work, consistently, over the years, and having some luck in staying injury free.
    Your family is lucky to have you Raina!
    So glad homeschooling is going well!
    Oh, and you look stunning in all the pics!

  10. Great post. There is so much to comment on that I will leave with this: you are definitely grounded and my hat is off to you.

    Well done all the way around! Amazing.

  11. Hey girl!! Been WAITING for this and now I don't even have time to comment!!! I'm going to be back for SURE though!! Great report.

  12. Thank you for such a detailed review. I, too, started running later in life (29) and have progressed at a rate that makes me hopeful! Staying consistent is key - and having others to encourage and share the journey with is paramount. You have a wonderful support system. I have no doubts that you will meet your goals!

  13. Great recap! You ran so fast! SO close to your goal. I hate when I am that close but don't quite make it, but I bet you will someday!!! I am still hoping for a 10k under 44 minutes. If you can cut so much time off your 10k in 3 years, that gives me inspiration and belief that i can do it! I love reading how far other runners have come. It keeps me motivated. Great job on your race!

  14. Such great stuff in this post, Raina! First...I totally saw those armwarmers on one of the other girls' posts and LOVED THEM!! GO DUCKS!

    You are living an amazing life, girl. AMAZING! You are so blessed to have your family - the wonderful husband, beautiful children, and supportive parents. What more could we ask for, right?!

    I've done some trail running out past Estacada along the Clackamas. It's gorgeous out there. I've got a campsite in mind where I want to take the kids camping next summer.

  15. Raina, you have such an amazing attitude and good perspective on things. You also are a very talented and speedy runner. You will reach your goal one day, and as you work towards it, you will continue to be such an inspiration to the rest of us!

  16. Hey girl....Been watching for your post since I saw Amanda post it. I am thrilled for your incredible 10K journey and how fast you have gotten...these things take time and you have been so committed to it. Yet I know it wasn't what you wanted and are disappointed....but you were SO close, so close!! When God says the time is right, you will go back out there and claim that sub-40 10K, I know you will!!! It's inside you. We can all learn some valuable lessons from your strength and wisdom...you are an amazing, wonderful person!!

  17. Wow, awesome race! Congrats on the PR! You ran a perfect race it sounds like. Only a matter of time until you break 40!

    And lol on your comment to me, yea I've been really lazy about posting recently. I haven't had much going on, but I'll try to post something tomorrow!

  18. Congratulations on your PR! I'm still in awe of your speed. I mean your average pace is what I can whip out for my finishing kick before I collapse. I have no idea how you maintain that for a whole race. Very impressive!

  19. It's not always easy to figure out what's most important at different stages in our lives, but it sounds like you've got a great plan. Congrats on a fast 10K!

  20. I'm back:) First of all before I even comment on the post, I checked your tab and I love how you whip out 15+ miles the day after your race! How about a pizza and some chocolate and a day off:)

    So-loved reading this! Congrats on the super PR! Holy smokes-speedy mile 1!! I can see where it would feel like you had some time in the bank there! Really great job and what an awesome opportunity to do it with some seriously GREAT people!! Sub 40 in ability is really not a question just a matter of learning and pacing. 17 minutes in 3 years!!!!! 4 minutes in one year!! Man, this is so exciting and I find it SO encouraging when I even think about my own goals. Hard work pays off!!!

    Great reflections Raina. You are so gracious and so thankful and the people in your life are SO blessed to have you!

    Wow Wendy! Inspiring. She will be running the same marathon as me, wearing the same outfit as me but likely finishing an hour before me-ha ha!!!

    OK-off to start packing:) Loved this!

  21. YOU ARE SO SO SPEEDY!! Girl, you are amazing. I loved the pictures and you are amazing. I didn't know you started running when you were 33! I would love to run someday with you three beautiful women.

  22. I can't wait until Nathan, Matthew, and Levi start pacing on you. The first time one of them crosses the finish line ahead of you will be the proudest day of your life. Because they will have to be VERY fast to accomplish that.
    Too late for me to run with you.

  23. I wish you knew how much of an encouragement this post was for me, Raina. First off, the fact that your heart for the Lord shines even in your running/racing/training is testament that he is using you in big ways to impact the running and blog world and your family. Second, those 14 seconds are just seconds that will make you all the prouder for your accomplishment when you hit that sub 40. What a race. Amazing! Also, sooo encouraging to read your improvement in the last year and 4 years. Dedication, discipline, and talent have led you to reaching such huge goals and encourages me that hard work does pay off! Thanks, Raina!

  24. Love the verses, first and foremost!

    Keep up the progress with the 10k, and the sub-40 will come! I had to wait for my chance to crack that mark myself. It's always neat to see dedication and hard work in others-it inspires me to keep bringing it day in day out! :)

  25. I agree about the family duties, I do my workouts in early morning to spend the time with my family in late afternoon after the work.
    I am sure that the sub 40.00 is in your near future, you are ready. And unfortunately it is only in my past: 1990 the PB and 2000 the last.

  26. WOW!! Your preparation and self talk throughout the race is awesome. So composed!!!

    I dream of running like you one day, dream!!

    What a fantastic day for the three of you!!

  27. Yes, you should try and break that one in 2014. Can see you with a 39-something 10k PB.

    1. Thanks, Ewen! I am strongly thinking about it. I've done it in training now.. I think it was 39:47 or something like that. Anyway, It's a matter of conditioning and courses. :) Thanks for the encouragement!


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