I was really excited to share this post with you because I had a great race! When I got home to upload my pics, every single one of them said it had an error and couldn’t be moved from my camera to the computer. WTH?!?! Lots of people from the race staff were taking pictures and said they’d be online, but they’re not up yet. I’ll try to add them later, but for now this will be a pictureless post.
Saturday brought a beautiful morning and I was feeling really good about the race. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather. It was a bit muggy, but not too hot, not too cold and there was a gentle breeze. It was warmer than I had anticipated so I had to rethink my race-day attire kind of at the last minute. Goodbye running skirt with built-in pants and wicking t-shirt. Hello running shorts and tank top.
I’ve run, walked and cycled the bike path where the race was held. When I got to the start/finish line, my first thought was “Oh crap.” We were starting much further down on the trail than I’d expected which meant we’d run to the end and back. No big deal, except this was the hilly part of the bike path. Really, really hilly. No joke hills. I felt a little defeated because I’m not very good at running hills to begin with and I haven’t done much of it at all lately. Oh well. Minor inconvenience, but nothing was going to break my spirit.
When the gun fired, I started off easy and found my groove. I’m really bad about starting off too fast, but I felt like I did a better job of controlling myself this time. As tempting as it was, I tried hard not to look down at my Garmin until I’d reached the 1/2 mile point. I wanted to listen to my body in order to find the pace where I was comfortable instead of letting the display determine that. When I looked down, I was surprised. Turns out my comfortable spot was at a faster pace than I normally run. Instead of psyching myself out and telling myself that I needed to slow down, I just went with it.
At the first hill, I started to get a little nervous. It’s down then up, so I used my momentum and just kept my feet moving. Before I knew it I was at the top. That wasn’t so bad! Conquering that one early in the race boosted my confidence and pushed me to tackle the other, more steep hills a little ways down the trail. Once I got through the hills, I felt on top of the world. Yes, I’d have to run back up the hills I’d run down on the way out, but I was ready for them!
As I neared the turn around, I noticed my 5k buddy looking a little gimpy. When she saw me, she pulled up a little and I caught up to her quickly. Turns out she wasn’t injured, but she had to pee really, really bad. Unfortunately, there were no restroom facilities along the course and no spot in the woods to squat that wasn’t visibile to everyone on the path. We stayed together for a little ways and she said we’d tackle the hills together, but she needed to slow to walk after a short distance and told me to go ahead. She was near tears in pain and I encouraged her to pull off and go across the street to the gas station about half way back to the start/finish line. (Turns out she didn’t. Her pride and ultra-competitiveness wouldn’t let her.) I felt pretty bad for leaving her behind, but I knew she’d do the same thing in my situation and I knew I wouldn’t be upset with her if she did.
My self-doubt kicked in when I reached the hilly part of the course. However, my playlist was jammin’, my body felt great and I just kept pounding the pavement. I felt so good, in fact, that I thought my pace had slowed. This is when the Garmin served as great motivation. One look at my wrist confirmed that I was still keeping up my steady, fast-for-me pace. Hello, adrenaline! I kicked it into high gear as I crested the last hill and realized I was in the home stretch. I gave it everything I had for that last .25 of a mile and it paid off!
My official time on the clock was 31:59, but my watch (which I started as I crossed the line) said 31:32. In my world, this is AMAZING! I was (and still am) on top of the world!
To put it in perspective:
All-Time PR – 31:00
Post-Baby PR – 33:06
Last 5k (4/16/11) – 33:40