So, if you tie your PR, which race counts as the PR?
I’ll get back to that.
Today I set out to race a 5k. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that, almost a year and a half.
Conditions were not ideal. Leading into the race the weather channel kept predicting some sort of rain but it kept changing so I had no idea what to expect for the morning. The rain held off. (I’m not so glad it did because all that water just hung out in the air instead. Hello, humidity!)
Mom and I got to the start location about 50 minutes before the race started. She stayed in the car while I headed out on my first ever warm up run. In the past I’ve always tried to keep pre-race movement to a minimum but I honestly don’t know if that’s hurt or helped me.
By the time I finished the warm up (2.5 miles) I was definitely warm. Thankfully there was enough time for my body to cool down a little bit before the actual race started.
When we finally lined up at the start, I settled into the second row of runners. I could see my competition (an 18 year old who won it last year) and had to keep reminding myself to “run like Meb.” For me that means running my own race. Winning would be nice but I had another goal that was a little more attainable. (Of course, I would have loved to actually run like Meb and get the win too. ;))
Someone counted down from 5 and we were off.
Mile 1 6:42
I felt amazing, absolutely amazing. I took off way too fast and I know it. A couple times I told myself that I should probably slow down but then I thought about the gradual incline that was the second half of the race and just kept running. As long as I felt great I’d keep going at that pace. On that downhill (yes, the entire first mile was downhill on an out and back course) I felt like I was flying. I guess I was because I think that’s my fastest ever race split.
Mile 2 7:12
That feeling of euphoria lasted until about the half way point, which coincidentally is also that point in the course that it starts heading back up. It’s only 100 feet in elevation change (200 total) but at that pace it hurts. Bad. I started to doubt my race strategy during the second half of that mile. I wondered if I would be able to get my pace back towards 7 minutes. This is where things started to hurt.
Miles 3 7:57
aka where the wheels fell off
100 feet in elevation change over a mile and a half may not seem like much but when it’s constant, it definitely makes itself known. I’d been running just behind an older guy (who also won his age group) the whole time and just tried to keep him within a reasonable distance. That was hard to do with multiple thoughts of walking (in a 5k!) or throwing in the towel (again, in a 5k!) bombarded me. I kept pushing, constantly reminding myself that it would all be over soon. I even started to bargain with myself, telling myself that an 8:30 for the last mile would be okay because it was a really tough mile. Right at the end of that mile we came to the final turn. I glanced down at the time on my Garmin and saw that somehow I still had enough time to maybe–just maybe–snag a PR.
Last .10 6:28
I have no idea where that final burst of speed came from but I’m glad it was there. It helped me almost snag a PR. It was here I encountered my only complaint about the race. To finish the runners have to step up a curb, cross some grass and step down the curb before getting to the parking lot and the finish line. Of course, one can do this while running; it just takes out some of the speed and for me, a PR.
My thoughts on the race?
I could be disappointed that I didn’t come close to my sub 22 goal. I’m not. If I think back, by setting that audacious goal I made my real goal to lay it all out there, race as hard as I could. I did that. I’m proud of it.
I came in third overall for women. (the first two girls, both teenagers, came in about 2 minutes faster than me. Way out of my league…right now.) I also snagged first in my age group because they gave out awards for only the overall winners, not second and third. (Also, only 12 men/boys beat me too.)
On top of that, Mom snagged a spectacular PR by 30+ seconds of 25:32, won her age group by a minute and a half and came in 38th out of 340! Way to go Mom!
For winning our age groups, we both got socks and Gatorade…pretty appropriate prizes, especially on a humid day like today!
Coming so close made me want it even more. Just my lack of funds is keeping me from registering for all the 5ks I can get my hands on until I get that sub 22!
Next race: Sunrise 8k … looking for another PR