As expressed last week I was hoping for a 5k PR. It has proven to be a PR year for me so why not keep it rolling in the right direction. However last week and now this week I have also been "tapering" in preparation for my marathon this weekend. And as I stated earlier in the month, my marathon IS top priority not all these prs. Not going to lie though, it's been a pretty awesome month achieving both. Anyway being in "taper" mindset means I'm taking it easy. My mileage & pace is down and I'm being very nonchalant about running in general. That leaves me feeling "lazy" (I fully realize that my lazy puts a lot of people to shame) and it almost feels like I'm losing all my mojo.
That all makes sense when on race morning I laid in my bed wanting to stay there & just be warm. I told myself, I can run later, right. When it's warmer and sunnier (I know, not a word....whatev...). There's no need to really race this race, I could just run or maybe not go at all (although I have never registered for a race and not gone, the idea does cross my mind). Ok, but then I knew I'd hate myself for not going so I got moving and out the door.
The mind is funny thing, you know. I step out of my car and have two feelings. I either think people are looking at me and thinking "who does she think she is, sporting this running look and Boston bib....she's probably a slow wanna be." OR they are like "oh my goodness, who is that? she kind of looks like Kara Goucher, I'm sure she's a rockstar who will blow us all away." Either way I always feel like people are looking at me. Probably sounds conceited to think that. I'm sure I'm guilty of checking people out too and not realizing how my looks are being received. Anyway, I felt weird and out of place until I saw some friendly faces. Since I was being "lazy" that morning I didn't get there super early and after a brief .5 mile warm up the race was getting ready to start.
I did have a short conversation with some other runners. The cross country coach from Carl Sandburg College approached me to chat. He kindly flattered me by saying I was the fastest person he had seen so far today. While I had not seen everyone that would be racing I did see a lot of young whipper snappers milling around. In my mind that was my competition, some young, youthful, full of energy and speed kid. I can train all I want, but there are somethings I can't control, like my age or the affects of giving birth 6 times. Things that kids half my age don't have against them. Anyway, said coach also asked me if I had ever been overall winner before. I paused, slightly puzzled. He knew my running well enough to know that I have been the overall female winner several times of many different races. Why was he asking me that? Before I could scoff and say "uhhh, of course", he clarified and asked if I had ever been overall winner of everyone, including men. Oh! Well, that would be no. I've been 2nd and 3rd, but never 1st over everyone. He thought maybe today would be my day, but I knew there was at least one person that would give me a run for that spot. That would be a friend, Dietrich, who I describe as quiet, but deadly. He's got some speed!
One thing I love about the race atmosphere is that I can't ever produce that energy, excitement and competitiveness in myself, except in the actual moment of the race. My training paces are nothing compared to what I race and vice versa. Something in me turns on and while yes all that training meant something it means nothing compared to what I am truly capable of doing.
When the gun went off I had about 1 minute of "all these kids are going to kick my butt" when they all surged to the front and took off. It didn't take too long for them to die out and fall in behind me & the top male. I could feel myself pushing, but I don't think it was all out. The top male (my friend Dietrich) and I stuck together for quite awhile. We passed the 1 mile mark at 6:28. I was a little stunned and confused. I asked my friend "did they say 48 or 28?" Yes, 20 seconds makes a huge difference. While I felt great my first thought was if I can keep this pace the whole race. I'd love to, but I knew I had to take things one moment at a time. I still kept pace with my friend then felt myself slow a little bit after a mile and half. He pulled ahead, but only by about 10 seconds. I passed the 2 mile mark in 13:14 Again, a time I'm not used to hearing. 13:30 - 14, yes, but I don't think I've ever had that fast of a 2 mile split. Ok, 1 more mile....hang on. I still felt myself fading a little bit. The lead runner got a little bit further away. I was a little ticked that I didn't keep up my pace, but yet I was ahead of pace for a PR so I wasn't getting too upset yet. Even though I slowed I still held on pretty good and finished with a 20:41 time. That was a :22 second PR (I looked up my exact previous pr and it was 21:03, not 21 as I previously stated).
Yes, I could have raced better. Yes, I need to work on maintaining pace. I was very excited for how well I did run and finished. I can't argue with all the positive and good that did happen and most of all the improvement I made. It was a local 5k with 82 runners, not the Olympics. A win is a win and a PR is a PR. I am a freaking rock star!!!!
Many people there that day had a great race! I know it's not always about the top finishers and the top time. Seeing others finish and cheering them on is very satisfying!! While waiting around for the awards to be handed out, my friend Dietrich came up to me with big bug eyes and said in a hushed tone with disbelief "Is THAT our trophy" referring to the big things sitting on the table. How he said it was so funny! Well, of course the big things go to the top finishers. He then asked if I had driven to the race. I was confused until he told me that he had ran to the race and was planning to run home too. Sure he figured he'd have some medal or trophy he could fit in his hand on his run home. He wasn't expecting something so big to lug almost 5 miles back. While I thought it would be hilarious if he actually did run home going through town and down several main streets I assured him I would take his trophy for him and get it to him later.
Pictured with Dietrich.
I'm racing another 5k this Friday night. Not sure I'll do goals for that race, especially since I'm really focused on my marathon. I know myself enough though that I'm super competitive and toeing the line will turn something on in me that I can't control. Yes, I'm already wondering if can improve on my just earned PR.