There's always a first for everything.

And guys, this is the first time I have to report that I ran an event, and sorely extremely failed to meet even my lowest expectations.

Of course, I have my excuses.  But I also have some crushed confidence, which is badly timed given my previous excitement to run See Jane Run half marathon next Sunday.


I had an incredible weekend at Lake Tahoe this weekend (more below), and returned home late Sunday night.  After hitting up the internet following a relaxing few days without it, I revisited the possibility of running a 10k the next morning, a race my friend Merrilee had mentioned to me at last weekend's Tough Tilden Ten.

At 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, I decided to go for it and register in the a.m. with this in mind:
a) 6.2 miles would be the perfect hard tempo run that I need since I have done nothing but run easy this past week;
b) this will boost my confidence for the half marathon next weekend; and
c) I can try out my new Nike Free's again on a more appropriate (non-trail) surface.
d) I never regret running a race

Arriving at the starting line this morning, with plenty of time to kill since I arrived so early to register, I thought about the following:  my half-marathon pace is in the 6:30 zone.  My goal marathon pace for some unknown future race is in the 6:50 zone.  I figured my 10k pace would be in the 6:15 zone.

So what did I run? WHAT did I run you ask!?

Slower than my half-marathon pace.  Ahem, slower than my marathon goal pace.

Slower than any 10k clip of my past half-marathons.

The same pace that I ran a very challenging 10 mile trail race the week prior.

I clocked a 7:01 average pace 6:39 Garmin pace (6.33 miles)/ 6:47 official pace for 6.2 miles.  Keep in mind, this was a flat and fast course.

*edited.  I don't know where I got the 7:01 pace from.  I'm not fluent in the language of Garmin. Still feel the same about the 6:39/6:47 pace--disappointingly slower than half marathon pace.

Was this mental? No. no no no.  I was pushing it, pushing it hard.  I was struggling with all my might to work past my strong desire to drop out to appease my dead legs.  I was dreaming of dropping out, because by the end of mile two, I felt like I normally do at mile 23 of a marathon.  That is, dreaming of the finish line, legs burning.

Now on to the excuses.  Or, the search to figure out what went so wrong.

Potential culprits:

a) Thursday evening Kettleball class.  My back muscles and upper legs were stiff as a board all Friday and Saturday, and began to loosen up on Sunday.  Thought it wouldn't be a big issue Monday morning, but, that class may be one reason these legs were dead at mile two this morning.

b) I ran 10 tough (and beautifully snowy!) Tahoe miles on Saturday, and 12 tough Tahoe miles on Sunday, because I couldn't resist some time out in the stunning woody trails and because I didn't fully consider that I may be trying to run hard on Monday. I typically would not choose to run more than 2-3 miles the day before any half or full marathon.

c) On top of the running, I hiked with the Tahoe crew (we were up there with 4 friends and one toddler) both Saturday and Sunday as well, with Sunday bringing a more challenging climb up the gorgeous Five Lakes trail.  Hiking, as I learned upon my return from a Zion vacation, makes for a brutal return to running.

So what have I learned....

I hate strength training.  I hate kettleballs.  I know, I knowwwwww.  I know I need to strength train.  But I swear, every time I give it a go, my running suffers.  The last time I dedicated myself to it--about 40 minutes, 3x a week--was before the blog so I did not document my experience.  But my legs, heavy from squats and lunges and donkey kicks, became slower and slower.  I don't know what's supposed to happen or how this is meant to help my running, but the short terms effects are devastating for running.

Other than that, I am clearly making some excuses here, to try and build back any confidence for the half next weekend.  Because as of now I feel like I need to seriously lower my expectations.  I have never fallen so short of my expectations in a race as I did today, and now all my fears of "but what if I this goes wrong on race day, or that goes wrong on race day?" have been confirmed as true possibilities.  Not the end of the world, really, but I was kind of enjoying being able to turn it "on" and just run hard for races.  So, confidence crushed.  Stupid 10k's... ;)

Now with that, this shall be the 10k that never happened, because if I remember it too hard, I will never run another 10k again.  

And back to the good part of the weekend! Tahoe, where as mentioned, I actually ran while it was snowing! On memorial day weekend! whoda thunk?

Hiking, and although hard to tell from this photo, the bushy tree above me is fully sideways and alive, growing out of that dirt slab

Our incredibly kind hosts for the weekend, and their lovable pooch

Five Lakes trail

 What a trip through time...all the way back 3 months ago to Winter ;)

Alright.  How do you deal with disappointing races?  Do you HATE 10k's?  What happened to me this morning?