Sunday, November 27, 2016

Stennis Space Center 13.1 - It's Tradition !

I wish I had a data base for my running history.  It would be so cool if I had a database to search "Stennis Space Center" races, and my complete Stennis history would show up.  From my early PRs at this race in the marathon, to the year that I ran the 5k here, to my more recent half marathon results.  Apparently, I need a computer programmer, lol.

I've blogged about Stennis many times.  It's a race I feel compelled to run most years.  This year was no different.  I typically wait until race week to make a decision to run it.  Lately, it's been more of a training run race for me, so I wait and decide by the weather of the day.  When I see lows in the mid 50s, sunny, and nice conditions, I just have to go.....

I mean, what's not to's a cheap race, you can sign up the day before the race at a rate that's cheaper than some 5ks these days,  it's a flat and fast course (my favorite), it's a small race (my favorite), I usually see several friends at this race......
  Some say the course is boring, but I think it's pretty......

I noticed my friend on the course and he took this cool selfie on the run.  We have been greeting each other at Gulf Coast races for many years, from FL-LA.  We're both running the full at St. Jude Memphis next week too.

I'm on the left, with friends on the right. 

 With 1 week to go until St. Jude, I wanted to run 8-10 miles, but with Stennis on the calendar, I just couldn't resist going to it.  13.1 was a little longer than ideal, (in my opinion), but I decided if I ran it at a slow pace, that would be ok.   It was a gorgeous day !  The North wind was blowing, but it was not too bad.   For much of the race, I was running near a young guy.  I noticed around mile 7-8, he was starting to struggle, but he was holding on well at this point.  At mile 8, we had our last short stretch that was into the North wind.  As we made the turn, I told him to get behind me and I would block the wind for him.  I'm tall (5'10) and he was short so I was hoping he would have a nice shield here.  I know the course well, and I knew if I could assist him with this part, we would soon have the wind at our back for the remaining miles of the race.  I also remember several years when I was "racing"  this stretch is brutal with a north wind blowing.    For the next mile, he stayed behind me.  As we made it to the turn with the wind at our back, I was excited for him, thinking he had made it through the toughest part.  We didn't get to chat as we ran, but it is always a great connection when you can help a fellow runner.  I wanted to ask him so many questions, but with him behind me, that wasn't an option.  Over the last 4 miles, he gradually dropped off of my pace (9:40ish).  I looked behind several times because I REALLY wanted him to hang on.  After several looks back, he was eventually out of my sight.

During my training this summer and fall, I've been working on picking up the pace for the last few miles.  Today, with only 1 week until the race, and running the extra miles, I focused on running slow.  Even with the intention of running slow, over the final two miles, I gradually picked up the pace.  Obviously, with the intentional slow pace, it was very easy to pick up the pace, but I loved how it felt so natural to pick up the pace over the final miles.   Having practiced this for several months now, my hope is that I can maintain or increase the pace at the end of the race next week.

After the race, as I was walking back to my car, the guy from the race got my attention (before I noticed him).  He said, "thanks for helping me today."  That makes me so Happy !  It's such a great feeling when you can help another runner with pacing, or assisting them when they are struggling.  This, in itself,  was worth the trip to Stennis.   

I ended my day with an overall pace of 9:39 average which is perfect for my final long run before St. Jude.  When I made it back to our camp in LA, my husband treated me to a massage to help me get "race ready."  Currently, the weather is looking great for St. Jude.  I'm excited and ready ! 
I took the scenic route back to the camp.  It was a beautiful drive through the LA marsh with fall colors at their peak.  Such a great day !   Well, it was a great day until Alabama beat Auburn anyway.  Dang it ! 


Gracie said...

Oh, boy. And that's a race I'm NEVER compelled to run! I have a bad history with Stennis!

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

What a fun training run! So fun that the other runner took the time to tell you that you helped him!

lindsay said...

You could try and see if it has all your old race results. It isn't perfect - it usually relies on someone tying the race results link in, but it might have some old results! Or if you've blogged about each race, you could just search your blog. :) It's definitely nice to "help" another runner mid-race, and to receive the help too!