“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”.
Dictionary.com defines aggressive as making an all-out effort to win or succeed; competitive.
You could characterize my 2022 running schedule as aggressive. I decided to test myself and get back to racing like how I ran prior to COVID-19. My 2019 training was focused on getting faster each time I toed the line and resulted in my fastest time at the 2019 OUC Half Marathon in Orlando (2:05:51). I was able to maintain my race form over the Christmas break and ran my second faster time at the 2020 New Orleans Rock N Roll Half Marathon in February 2020. Races and the country came to a standstill in April 2020 due to the pandemic.
Fast forward to 2022 and I made a concerted effort to find more races and stay active with my race schedule. I identified 9 half marathons I wanted to run throughout the year and targeted races to help with my quest to go faster. I don’t run a lot of 5ks but added a challenging one to my race calendar to help me push myself.
My most aggressive move for 2022 was to tackle the Winter Park 10k less than a week after running the Treasure Coast Half Marathon. This concept made a lot of sense when I signed up but proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought.
The goal for the Winter Park 10k was to set another 10k Personal Record (PR) since I was able to lower my PR in this same race in 2021. I did not think the limited time between races would impact me so toed the line with the confidence of someone who would be able to dictate pace and adjust when needed.
Turns out, this person did not exist for the Winter Park 10k. LOL.
The weather forecast in the Orlando area called for severe weather and it was hot, humid, and overcast as race time drew closer. A lot of runners were checking the weather apps to determine how much time we had before the skies opened and we were going to get wet.
Luckily, the rain held off long enough for us to run the 10k and get some time to spend in the race village before getting soaked. FYI—this was unusual weather for Orlando in March—temperatures are normally cooler and no threats of rain.
Track Shack does not use corral starts for the smaller races so everyone can line up as close to the start line as they want. This brings runners with different race expectations together and creates a unique environment where you must be careful not to run over or bump into people.
The first mile of this race is always interesting since you have elite athletes mixed in with weekend warriors. I like to hang back during the first mile to avoid collisions and the possibility of tripping while trying to get my pace up.
I entered the race with a goal to run sub 55 minutes and I got off to a better-than-expected start in Mile 1 (9:00), Mile 2 (9:14), Mile 3 (9:57). I was happy with this pace considering the amount of bumping we had just to clear people during the first mile of the race. I did not realize how much I slowed down during Mile 3 while running the race but felt myself slowing down. I chalked it up to the energy expended during Mile 1 and figured I would level my pace out and kick it into gear to move faster. Well, I kicked it in gear, but it appears the gear kicked me back. 😊
Have you ever pressed your gas pedal in your vehicle, and nothing happens? That’s exactly what happened to me during this race. I put the pedal down ‘in my mind’ but my body did not react in the way I wanted it to. Mile 4 (10:09), Mile 5 (10:46), Mile 6 (11:00) did not go as planned, I had no extra gear or legs to carry me much faster than what I just threw down. I was able to muster up a kick to finish the race that allowed me to cross the finish line with a smile on my face. The crowd along Park Avenue was great as they cheered for all runners—I appreciate them being out so early to cheer for strangers. I finished in 1:02:17 which is a 10:01 per mile pace.
I pouted about my results for about 3 minutes after the race. I spoke with several elite runners who described their race like what I just experienced. The heat and humidity got to them too so hearing that made me feel a lot better about my race. Several mentioned they thought about quitting during the race because the conditions were so tough. It’s funny how hearing about the misery other runners felt made me feel good about myself again. 😊 We are a funny group of people.
I originally thought running a 10k less than a week after a half marathon may have been the reason I did not have an extra gear. It may have been a factor, but the heat and humidity also contributed to my results. I plan to space my races out a bit more but will continue to be aggressive with my selection.
Currently prepping for the 2022 Nashville Rock N Roll (April) and Atlantic City Rock N Roll (May) Half Marathons. No races scheduled for the summer. I start the new racing season in October with the 2022 Clearwater Rock N Roll Half Marathon and a couple local races throughout the fall. The running tourist will stay active with races if it remains safe to travel.
Being aggressive is not a bad thing! 😊
“Running releases more than just sweat”.