I couldn’t have done this without a whole lot of painful work the last 6 weeks, without my husband's sacrifice of time with me, my sacrifice of time with family and the hard work of Drill Sargent putting together a personalized plan for me to follow.
I'm still in shock at how well this race went for me, especially since it was an evening race, the sun was actually out (we've had a very cool and cloudy summer) and the temps were in the low 80's.
I spent the day trying to stay off my legs as much as I could. I made sure I drank lots of water, ate very carefully and in general tried not to think about the race, yeah right.
Part of me getting ready was studying what my splits should be. I am terrible at pacing myself. D.S. says I'll get it eventually, I hope so or I'll need to buy more sharpies. I decided, for me, knowing my quarter mile splits is the best way for me to control my speed. I got out my sharpie and started decorating my arm and hand.
|some of my splits|
After I registered I looked around for my friend Joanne and her family. When I didn't see them, I decided to start my warm up. I have never warmed up before at a race. I've practiced this warm up at my track workouts but this would be the first time at a race. I'm ashamed to say that I used to mentally mock those running around doing high knees and running before a race. It looked like they were using up all their energy. I found out that day, I needed to burn off some of that energy!! So I did my leg exercises and then went for a slow run. I ran about a mile with some pickups mixed in. It felt good to be moving and using some of that energy.
After my warm up, hubs and I took some time to chat with my friend and her family and to pose for some more selfies.
|My hubby in his Runner's World Sub Club shirt|
|Normally I wear my Sub Club shirt but |
I bought this shirt specifically for this race
As were walking to the start line, I got a text from D.S. "When it comes down to it, do the hard thing! Most aren't willing. Be the one who is!!!" I knew that this 5k was going to hurt. I was ready for it, afraid of it but willing to endure it, if all went well. I positioned myself on the outer edge of the group, like I always do, so I can get one last good luck kiss, and hubby can get a picture of me as I cross the start line. The difference this time though was I didn't hide in the middle to back of the pack. I put myself up near the front. I had a couple minutes to listen to the other women talk about how fast they were planning. I heard a 7 something and knew I didn't want to follow too close to her, that would wipe me out. The women next to me was pacing a young girl for 8 minute miles. I knew I wanted to keep her in my sight but not too close! Part of me started to wonder if I should move farther back. I felt like an imposter up there. I was not one of these runners. I was standing next to women I'm in awe of, women who have always seemed up on a pedestal of local greatness and speed.
Thankfully the guy started to talk to us about the course and it distracted me. Again, another race with no Star Spangled Banner. It's the third race this year that I've run without it. Maybe they don't sing it before the smaller races.
"GO!" and off we went. I was no longer nervous, just really excited.
About .10 I look down at my garmin. Oh dang it, 6:50. Whoa, apply the brakes. I CANNOT go out that fast. It was hard to slow down because the beginning of the course is down hill (it's an out and back so the end of the course is a slight up hill!) I checked my quarter mile split. Dang, still way too fast. So much for that. That threw off all the times written on my arm! From that point on, I was about 30-45 seconds faster than what my splits were supposed to be. I switched my garmin over to the pace screen and mostly kept it there. I wasn't even to the half mile mark and my mouth was completely dry. My lips felt like the desert and I didn't have an ounce of spit to wet them with.
Around the mile mark they have water. Oh man, I desperately wanted to get water. I knew 2 things; one: if I got water, I'd probably choke on it because my throat was so dry and raw and two: there was no way I was giving up those few seconds it would take. I wanted every single second to count towards my PR.
Before the half way mark, the leaders were passing us on their trek back. I was really excited to see them there because last year I wasn't even to the one mile mark when they were coming back and it was really discouraging to me. I got a lot father this year and it helped give me an extra kick in my speed. D.S. said that I was to pick someone ahead of me and to pick them off. That really helped to keep my mind occupied and it was pretty fun to be passing other runners.
The turn-around always makes me nervous (I've done other races in this park). The trail is only 12 feet wide and we have to turn around a cone to go back the way we came. I slow way down because I'm terrified of my ankle turning on me. I'm always relieved when I've gone through that part. Now to get this thing done!
I'd love to say I ran the rest of it as strong as the first half but I didn't. I slowed down some. About 2.5 I was pretty sure I never, ever wanted to run again. I think I even was trying to figure out how I could just stop running right then and walk the rest of the way without anyone knowing. I couldn't breath, my sports bra felt like it was suffocating me. I tried breathing with my steps but that just made me mad for some reason. Every ounce of my body hurt right then and I wanted to cry. But I kept moving. I didn't walk. I didn't give in.
I was neck in neck with a woman I needed/wanted to pass. As we approached mile 2.75, I saw my hubby and heard my friend cheering me and her girls on. I passed the woman as we went into the last down hill. We rounded a curve and started the last incline to mile 3. This is where she passed me. That made me pick it back up. Knees high, shoulders back, chest out. I needed to move.
I crossed the marker for mile 3 and when I looked ahead at the clock all I could see what 25:4__ something. I had no idea if it was :40 or :49 but there was no way I was going to watch that clock turn to 26. I could hear the guy at the finish line yelling at us to hurry up, we could beat 26 minutes. I really kicked it in and the woman just in front of me did too. I don't think I breathed in a single breath through that tenth of a mile. All I could see was the back of that woman, just feet in front of me and the finish line. We both crossed it, laughing and cheering. She turned around and we gave each other a high-five.
I love this sport. I love the people involved.