– By Elaine Sheikh
Strider’s 10 Mile Classic is a race that I’ve wanted to do for a few years now, but have never been able to work into the schedule. This year, it was perfect timing – I’m currently training for the Grand Rapids Half Iron Triathlon and this would give me the opportunity to test my race legs over a longer distance. Before the race started, I chatted with some OAM Now teammates who were doing the 5K. The only other OAM Now athlete doing the 10 miler besides myself was club member Lindsey Lilly. I had never run with her before, so I didn’t know how fast she was!
I was nervous starting this race. Not only was it my first running race of the season, this would be my first running race since I fractured my pelvis 15 months ago. It still feel “tweaky” on a pretty regular basis and I had nightmares of refracturing it when I really put it to the test. Plus, I had completely forgotten how to pace myself for anything that wasn’t a triathlon or bike race! I deployed my usual tact of telling everyone I was out there for a training run. When people don’t think I’m going to race hard, I feel like it takes away a lot of pressure. So, whether or not I plan on racing hard, I will often tell people I just want to enjoy my day. Secretly, I wanted to run under 1:09.
As we started, the fastest woman in the pack became obvious. I kept her in my sights the whole first half of the race. It was much hillier than I thought, and a loose gravel mile caused my second mile to be a bit slower than I had anticipated. But, I just kept watching her and didn’t let her pull away. Right before the halfway mark, a man yelled that I was only 20 yards back. This caused my competitor to pick up the pace. I responded, but mile 6 was all uphill and I had been running significantly faster than I had planned on. I was hurting and I started to lose focus as the hills hit me one after another. Just as my breathing was getting completely out of control. At the perfect time, teammate Dave Stebbins, who had been riding back and forth on the course cheering, rolled up. It was pretty obvious that I was flagging pretty hard at that point, but he encouraged me and talked me down so I could get control of my breathing again. Teammates are awesome!
In the end, I never caught the first place female finisher. She crossed the finish line a solid 30 seconds ahead of me. However, I crushed my goal and ran a 1:07:12. Lindsey was the third woman to cross the line at 1:08:27. Way to go Lindsey!
It was a fun day and a great race that I would recommend for anyone looking for a nice spring 5K or 10 miler. I couldn’t be more excited to start another multi-sport season with Team OAM Now!
The post After A Year of Resilience Sheikh Claims Second at Strider’s Classic appeared first on Team Athletic Mentors.