I’ve never done treadmill training prior to a race before. All my walking training has been on city streets, and I don’t do that too often. It’s not super safe with traffic and the sidewalks (if there are any) aren’t too even. So for all my past races, I hadn’t training probably as much as I should.
But this time, I’ve been spending about an hour and a half each week on a treadmill (1/2 of an hour-long class 3 times a week). And while those treadmill segments have been tough on me because of all the incline work we do, I’ve never gone into a race feeling this prepared.
But I had never really been this nervous either. My last race was back in June for the Culver City 5K, and that was my worst 5K time ever. But that was also a race that I did before I started at Orangetheory.
Packet pick up on Friday was very easy. It was the same place it was last year, so I was able to get in and out in less than 10 minutes (not easy to do when you are at a major tourist attraction in Hollywood). I got home and got my bib number ready as well as a shirt that I bought just for this race.
I also went to get my usual race bag ready. When I went to grab my personal heart rate monitor, I saw this.
I haven’t used it in a while since I use the heart rate system at Orangetheory. I’m sure that all it needs is a new battery, but I wasn’t going to run around town trying to find a watch store that was still open. So I decided to download the Map My Run app on my iPhone and use that to time myself (more on that in a minute).
I set multiple alarms for 5am, because I’m always nervous that I won’t wake up. Except this time, I woke up at 3am and could not get back to sleep. I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to sleep anymore around 4:45am and started to get ready.
It was an easy drive in the dark to get to the race start. I parked, and by the time I was on the street, the sun was coming up.
I thought that I would be alone for this entire race, but a fellow blogger, Anne, decided to start the race walking with me. We got started pretty quickly and I felt like we were going a good pace. Anne stuck with me for about the first 10 minutes, but she had planned on running, so after 10 minutes she said that she’d meet me at the finish line and was off.
I was in a groove during this race. I had added some new songs to my race mix on my phone and I was keeping up with the pack of people (not getting passed every second like last year).
Then, all of a sudden the Map My Run app spoke to me over my music. It had said that just over 17 minutes had passed and I had done 1 mile.
I was shocked! At Orangetheory I average about 18:45 a mile. But I thought that maybe I was going a lot faster than I thought. But then about a minute later, I passed the 1 mile marker.
I was confused, but I kept going. Each time the app talked to me, I was averaging about a 17 minute mile but I wouldn’t see the official mile marker until about a minute later. I didn’t know if the course was long or if the app was off. Either way, I was making great time and I wasn’t hurting nearly as much as I usually do.
The halfway point was great to see. I was thinking of this race as about 2 treadmill sections at Orangetheory (since I’m on the treadmill just about 30 minutes each class). As I turned around and walked the other direction, I realized just how many people were still behind me! This was not at all like last year where at the half way point I was in the last 5 people and the van to pick people up was right on my tail.
I got closer and closer to the finish line and again at the 3 mile point, my app told me that I had done 3 miles well before I saw the official marker. But I knew that the finish line was close and I hurried up.
I crossed the finish line and looked at the timer on the app. It said 56:53 and that the race was 3.36 miles. I was really confused about the distance listed. I ended up finding someone who had a GPS watch and asked him what his watch said the distance was. He said it was 3.11. So clearly, my app was off and all my mile times it was telling me was wrong.
While I waited for the official time to be posted, I tried not to be mad and just look at the awesome medal I earned!
When my official time was posted, I did the race in 56:52! That’s a huge improvement for me! About 10 minutes fast than my 5K in June and just about a minute and a half faster than my old PR!
I was so happy to have a new PR, but I was pretty pissed about the app lying to me. If I try to use it again for another race, I might just ignore the distance it says and just look at the stopwatch feature since that was pretty accurate.
I found Anne at the finish line and she got a PR as well! We took some victory pictures and then we each had to head home (I was in serious need of a nap).
When I got home, I took a quick shower and noticed that even getting home I was not feeling as sore as I usually do. I normally have issues with my feet and hips hurting after a race, and the only pain I was feeling this time was some tightness in my legs and the pain from a massive blister that pops and shredded the skin (it looks super gross and I will spare you all from having to see a picture of it).
Even now, a few days after my race, I’m not feeling my usual pain. Seriously, my Orangetheory workouts have been paying off! Even if the scale isn’t going down the way I feel it should, the non-scale victories keep showing up! If I’m able to do more races without my usual pain, I might consider doing more races or even thinking about trying for a 10K one day (I had really given up on that dream).
While I’m still a little down that I was so excited to hear on the app that I was doing 17 minute miles when that wasn’t true, I’m trying to only focus on the positives. And what made me smile even more than getting a PR that day was putting on all the medals that I’ve earned over the past 2 years and seeing how far I’ve come.
My medal holder is starting to look full, but I know that there is room for whatever races I end up doing next year.