Something that I didn't really mention in my marathon recap was that I traveled by myself to this race. In year's past I've always had someone to go with or ride along. A few years my husband came along. Other years girlfriends were there & we all shared hotel rooms, etc. For the first time I had none of that. I did know of other people running the race(s) that weekend, but had no plans to meet up or anything.
At first, it was kind of nice. On the ride down I had the van to myself and I sang
As I was walking from my car to the start line of the 5k I plugged in my headphones. I hadn't planned to listen to music during the 5k, but I wanted something to keep me company & get my mojo flowing while I waited. Music does that to me all the time. It pumps me up! I thought I heard my name, but the same thing had happened during the expo and it was just my imagination so I ignored what I thought I heard. A few minutes later I saw a friend Nicole:
I hollered out to her & she told me I had just ran past her and she called my name. Ah-ha, so I wasn't hearing things after all. Sometimes it's nice to know you're not completely loosing it. (Ok that's still debatable). After a quick chat we went our separate ways and I moved in to the start corral.
This year they had seeded start corrals. They didn't verify any times. It was an honor system when you signed up for the race. When I registered & saw this new system, I was excited because last year I had so many little kids in front of me. Those little kids would take off like there is no tomorrow and then after a few hundred yards die off and suddenly slow down or turn around and look for mom/dad. This frustrated me because there were several kids that I about slammed in to or tripped over. I know it's just a 5k, but seriously kid...GET OUT OF MY WAY! And I mostly mean that for their own safety. Anyway...new system. Seeded corral starts. That should help the problem, assuming everyone is honest with their time and seed themselves appropriately. I was still a little concerned because the cut off time for putting yourself in the first aka fastest corral was 27 minutes. There's a pretty big difference in someone running with the goal of a 7 minute pace vs. someone aiming for a 9 minute pace. And I seriously don't mean any of that to imply that I am faster and I deserve a better, more up close spot. While I admit I take any of my races a little too seriously, I don't mean to be all holier than thou just because I can run faster than many, even on my slower days. We're all runners and I love and respect any/all kinds of paces, finish times, reasons for being out there, etc. Seriously. But I want to run. So. Move. *siiiiigh*, it's a tough balance!!
Anyway, I did my best to get to the front of the corral. Although I lined up too soon and kept getting pushed further back into the corral than I wanted. But, whatev. Just relax & have fun. My intent was not going to be go all out and try and PR. Bigger picture I was running 26.2 the next day and I didn't want to mess that up by killing myself over a 5k. This race was chipped timed so on the plus side it didn't matter how far back I was pushed, my time didn't start until I crossed the start line & my chip was activated. And even though it felt like I was waaaay back in the corral, it actually only took me about 10 seconds to cross the start line once the gun went off.
Good news, while I was surrounded by plenty of younger runners (I'm guessing Jr. High, High School age) there were no little kids in front of me and I didn't have to worry about running someone over
When I come through the tunnel and hit the field I saw the clock was running into the upper 20 minute range. My PR is 20:41 & I knew even with the gun/actual start variance that I wouldn't beat that, but I wasn't ok with being all lotty dah and finishing whenever. So I floored it and pushed hard to finish in under 21 minutes. According to the clock I didn't, but my actual chip finish was 20:58. Phew....talk about cutting it close!! I was very happy with that run & finish. Not too shabby for taking it a little easy, but ok with a good steady pace.
79th out of 6,112 finishers
10th out of 3,919 women (first time to be listed on the leaders board)
1st out of 551 in my age group (35-39)
After I finished I was on my way out of the stadium and ran into Mario, a friend from my hometown of Muscatine, IA.
He didn't race that night, but was there with some Quad City friends and ran the marathon the next day. So even though I was there kind of as a loner, I met some friends along with way and enjoyed a quick visit with them.
This turned out to be a pretty good 5k leading up to my marathon the next day!!