Steamboat Classic 15K

Steamboat Classic 15k
June 17, 2017
Peoria, IL
Time: 1:14:34, 8:01 avg pace
Overall Place: 26th
Age Group Place: 1st
Chip times:
1st 5K    24:24
2nd 5K  25:13
Last 5K 24:57
Mile times below are based on Garmin, not official mile splits.
Without Carol’s on-course coaching, the Monday before, I’m convinced these results would have been much different. That wisdom sharing session was invaluable, as a newbie to the 15k at Steamboat.  Yikes, those hills are legit, more elevation and distance than mine at home.  Lots of tips and strategy ideas shared- thanks for investing the time in me!
Both Carol + Clint (and most veterans to this race) split it into the 3 5Ks, with the goal being to rock that last 5k downhill. My goals were to be able to do that… have my 2 mile back at the end be faster than my two miles at the start, take the first hills loop decent, and work as hard as I could the second hills loop. I also wanted to maintain decent form on those hills, using my glutes, not bending over a ton, and try to get back to goal pace as quick as possible at the top of the hill. Is that all too much to ask? 😂
Goal setting… based on my lake run 12k pace of 7:35, and a recent ten mile training run at 7:59 (cool temps), I wanted to shoot for this 15k to be sub 8 pace.  I also wanted to be top 25, which was a secondary goal and somewhat out of my control based on who shows up.
I rode over with Clint + Rachel (thanks guys) and we had a mini party in the car with bday gifts 🎉😍 it was fun!  We met the team in the hotel lobby and did bathrooms and got our gear on. By the time it was ready to warm up, Tim was there with our kiddos and I got to give my Johnny Jack a bday kiss (we have the same bday).  Warm up was good – felt relaxed, and also realized IT WAS HUMID!  It wasn’t a burning sun but it was warm and the air was thick.
Pics: my new “Spiritual GANGSTER” tank from Amber😍 , the team pic, and Dad of the year
I decided on wearing my freedoms– just wanted some extra support + cushion for this longer distance and those downhills!  Also decided on one handheld for tailwind and my honeystingers.  I was really trying to focus + pray for self control coming out of the gate and not going out too fast, and having a strong mental game.  Did a few strides before we lined up, took a gel, and off we go!
First 5k
We are off and I can already tell I need to settle myself.  I felt good and other than the humidity the first and second mile flew by pretty quick and painless. 7:26 and 7:52.  I love seeing people at the flip and knowing what is ahead of me, i’m thinking “man that 4 miler sounds decent right now”.  I hit that first hill and thats when the temps and humidity really hit me, trying to manage my breathing in that elevation climb.  After the crest of the first hill loop I really tried to get myself back to goal pace quickly and get my breathing under control.  It was great to see Josh Favus out there at the top.  We do the first switch back and I start seeing some of my teammates. Gary, then Rachel, then I started counting females from there.  I had no clue how many women were in front of Rachel but from her to me was around 18-19.  As soon as I flipped around and then other runners were seeing me, I implemented one of my Carol “beast mode” tips.  Don’t look weary.  Look strong.  Your competition needs to see you strong.  So I made sure my posture was on point, looking up, and picking it up.  Had a smidge of a smirk/determined look on my face, and was going to let those ladies know, THEY CAN’T GET ME!  BAM!!!!   Mile dinged in for 3 and I see that with the hill it moved me to an 8:30 mile.  So overall I’m now only 12 seconds in the bank for sub 8.
Second 5k
I went through the sprinkler to cool off and it felt nice, didn’t want to soak my shoes but needed a cool down.  The stretch on Prospect was my planned area to pick up some speed and get myself going sub 8.  Mile 4 was 7:57 and I passed two girls, one at a time.  Not knowing where I was in the placing, I wanted to get a few knocked off.  And then to tackle that hill again.  Took a gel, hoping it would help. This is where I really wanted to go crazy on the hill and fight it.  But I am really hot this go round and my legs are heavy.  No cramps or pulls – just lead + dead.  Mile 5 is 8:47 and so crap, now I have 32 seconds on top of my 8 min pace.  Now my goal is to try to get my miles close to 8, so that last 5k I can pounce and get sub 8 overall.  On the stretch for the switchback, I hear a female voice cheering for me from behind – it’s Amie Dziekan, and we see Rachel go by and she cheers for both of us and says we are right around 25.  Ok, honestly, that freaked me out that I was in front of Aimee. I know she was coming back from a back injury, but she is faster than me, so now I’m thinking…hmmmm…… I must have gone out WAY too fast if she is just now coming up on me.  Crapola.  Amie goes by me and we cheer for one another.  There are 4 of us girls that are literally back and forth depending on the uphill, downhill, water stops (I didn’t stop – had my handheld).  One girl would walk thru (Clint style) and surge after.  I would pass one girl at the downhill and she eventually got me back.  I really wanted to get these girls, and get my pace in check. Mile 6, 8:19, well that’s not going to help anything! I am hoping that I can get a second wind.
Third 5k
This last stretch I’m trying to tell myself I am strong, I can do this, but I can’t seem to get the leg turnover I want.  I try to surge a bit and see if some of it will stick but it juts doesn’t last long.  Mile 7 is another 8:19 and my legs are so heavy and my breathing is just way off.  I’m trying to settle myself but can’t seem to get into a great rhythm.  Mile 8 dings in and it’s a little better at 8:13.  I’m annoyed with myself because I really wanted these last two miles back to FLY and be better than my first 2 miles out.  That’s not happening.  I have about a mile left and Joe, Jeremy, and Mike come run in with me, giving me some encouragement to finish strong, keep my head up, pick it up, etc.  Handed off my empty handheld to Jeremy 🙂 he was nice to mule it for me.  I picked up the pace a little but just couldn’t get to where I wanted.  I was done – done – done.  Had these guys not joined me I know I wouldn’t have picked it up at all.  I was wiped + mentally over the whole thing. No clue where I was in ranking, and I knew I couldn’t pull what I needed to get my pace sub 8.  They told me that Tim and the kids were just up ahead and then I had the turn and was home free.  I kept trying to pick it up but man, just couldn’t get the turnover I wanted. One of the girls from earlier (white tank) was ahead and I decided I had to get her. Even if she surged and got me back I had to at least attempt SOMETHING in my misery. So I pushed and passed her — with my crew of orange surrounding me like I was POTUS and they were my bodyguards.  Who knows if she ever saw me pass 🙂  Now just hold her off. Look strong and don’t let her get me back.  Saw my cheer squad (and an old hs cross country teammate!) complete with birthday signs and chants, and Tim had baby Gabe too.  Never saw white tank again.  Mile 9 was 8:03. I pushed what I had left, tried to even get on my toes (ouch!) and my last split was 6:10 pace (I’m guessing thats not accurate). Crossed the line and stopped my watch and it says overall pace of 8:07. Feeling defeated and a HOT MESS, but honestly kind of happy to just be done.  It’s my bday, lets go have fun now, bc THAT was NOT fun.  I regroup with my team, and bummed I missed my goal but not going to let it ruin my day.  Everyone was telling me their times were off with the humidity, so there’s that.  I went back to the finish line to watch/cheer Carol in.  She’s so freaking strong coming in.  Seriously, looks amazing.  I knew her time wasn’t what she wanted but man, she rocked that last 5k.
Post Race
What’s fun about Steamboat is all of the people that come out – I ran into old friends and current friends and that was a ton of fun.  Headed back to hotel to change and saw Joe, who said that I could scan my bib for chip results. So here’s the sad part, I scan it – AND I AM 26TH PLACE AND MY OVERALL PACE IS 8:01.  WHAT?!?!  One freaking place and one second?!?!  I knew my Garmin was off bc at the end it said 9.2 and not 9.3 miles, but I didn’t know it was THAT FAR off and I was that close to my goal.  I’m not sure if each of my splits were off a little or one in particular had bad GPS… but of course I’m now wondering had I known HOW DANG CLOSE I was, if I had anything at all left in the tank. Man it didn’t feel like it, but seriously, could I not have picked up ten seconds each of those last two miles had I known?  AND ONE MORE GIRL!?!?!?  Come on, it’s my birthday!  I allowed myself a couple of hours to be annoyed and then moved on from it 🙂  Next year, baby, I’m coming for you!!!!!  I know I should be content with 8:01 on this humid nasty day, but man, so close 🙂
It was really fun to hang post race with my fam and race team.  Rachel brought my fav Oatmeal Creme Pies (homemade, watch out little debbie), and they were amazing!!  Tim packed a little cooler with a bday bev (YUMMMM) and Jamey got me a bday beer too.  I mean, you have to refuel, right?!  I was able to catch up a little bit with Jeremy E @ the Saucony area + introduce him to my family.  Awards were fun to watch and see the top 25 in each category.  Thanks, everyone for a great day.  Mitch, Often Running, Saucony… you all are the best!  Thanks for the awesome support + best gear and creating a one-of-a-kind team environment and experience.

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