Okay friends, grab a cup of coffe, and settle in because this is a very long recap considering it was such a short race. 😉
Sunday morning I woke up bright and early at 5am, and quickly turned into my chipper race morning self. Every time I’m excited for a race I start dancing around the house singing “Good morning, good morning! It’s time to run ______! Good morning, good morning to you and you and you and you!” This girl has witnessed it first hand. I promise it’s cute, kind of.
By 5:45, Steve and I were out the door to meet everyone at Jason’s house, and by 6:15 we were on our way to the race to get registered. I’m a notoriously late registerer. Wow, I didn’t get the red squiggly line–apparently “registerer” is actually a word, and not just one I made up. Sweet. Okay, before I continue with what was an amazing race for me, here are a few gripes about the race itself
- The volunteers seemed like they were given no information. We were told to stand in about 4 different looooong lines to register before finding the right place, and this table had no line. It was kind of annoying.
- There was a total lack of information about the 5k. When I looked online, it said the race started at 7:30. Maybe I didn’t look in the right place–totally possible–but I saw nothing saying there were different start times, and all announcements were about the half marathon (which, I get it, is a bigger deal). I had to find out from an other runner what time my race actually started.
- There weren’t nearly enough porta potties. I almost missed the start waiting in line on round 2 (yes, I go about every 5 minutes before a race).
Okay, back to the good. Complaining over. We rushed over to the start line and just barely made it in time. I told my friends I was going to try to find a good spot, and weaved in between the crowd to find a place near the front of the middle, if that makes sense. Actually, start lines freak me out when there are no corrals. WHERE DO I STAND???? IN THE BACK??? HOW SLOW AM I???? I have made the mistake of starting too far back before. I remember at the Iron Girl, Nicole looked to the side and saw a woman with white hair and a walker, and she was like “Really? You think we’re going to run her pace?” Suffice it to say, I have no idea where I fit in a starting line. I asked a lady next to me what her pace was, and she said she was aiming for 28-30 minutes, and that sounded like I was at least in the right ball park. I told her my goal was to break 27 minutes, and she said she was going to try to keep me in her sight lines. That made me feel cool! I don’t know how she did, but I hope she had an awesome race!
SIDEBAR: As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been having a lot of stomach issues when it comes to running. I used to only eat before long runs, but since marathon training got more intense, I started waking up really hungry in the morning, and so I’ve started eating a granola bar before I go, and a lot of times before a race, I’ll still have peanut butter toast, even if it’s a short race, since I’m usually up a couple of hours before hand. This time, I went on an empty stomach, and just took a gu 15 minutes before. It was the best my stomach has felt during a race in a long time. More on this in an other post…
Okay, back to the start. It was CROWDED. I’ve been trying to avoid weaving so that I don’t end up running extra miles, but there were some slooooowww people in front of me, and I knew I needed my own space to get in my groove, so I weaved around, and the next thing I knew, we were at a start line. I was so confused. So is THIS the start? Did I just run that last .14 miles fast for nothing??? Don’t judge me. I tried to start my watch over, but was too focused to actually think about how to do that, so I ended up hitting the lap reset. Turns out our original location was the start, and that had been the half marathon start. Very confusing for this little ol’ brain.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was actually capable of in this race. I just knew my PR was 27:16, and I wanted to break 27 minutes. I had pacing ideas that ended up getting thrown out almost immediately, while I tried to run what felt “fast” and “sustainable”. I feel like for me a 5k is kind of determined by how I feel at mile 1. Usually after the first mile, I’ve run a pace that I can only keep up for the one mile, I feel exhausted, and running 2 more sounds more impossible than running 10. This time, my watch beeped at mile 1, and I felt good. It wasn’t easy, but I felt good enough to make it my goal to negative split the next two.
0-.14 (cause my laps are wonky): 8:20
In mile 2 there were some small rolling hills. And by “hills” I mean what you would probably consider more like a speed bump, but it felt like a hill to me! I continued to feel strong even on the “uphills”–but okay I SWEAR it really did have some rollers!–and tried to let myself relax into the downhills. When my watch beeped off for mile 2, I was starting to feel pretty tired, but only a mile left! 1 mile always seems attainable!
Mile 2.14: 8:25–Not a negative split, but I always seem to positive split the crap out of 5ks and I was THRILLED to have 2 identically paced miles, especially since 8:25 was faster than I thought I’d be able to run this thing in.
The last mile was hard, as it always is in any race. I wanted to walk on the uphills. I wanted to slow down. I argued a lot in my brain about how I couldn’t keep it up, and my brain’s favorite argument “If you don’t take a walking break now, you’ll have nothing left for the finish.” This is a big fat dirty lie, and it gets me *almost* every time, but today I was like “Ummm F you, you dirty liar. I can, it’s just gonna hurt, and that’s okay.” I also think my lap reset mishap helped me here. Something about knowing that when I got to the end of mile 3, it would actually be the end of the race instead of the usual having .1-.2 left to go (which feels like an eternity at that point) helped me stay positive. I don’t know. My head responds well to mind games.
At the end of mile 3, I saw Steve waiting for me and I had a huge dopey grin on my face.I waved ridiculously, and pointed to my garmin to tell him “I’M GONNA MEET MY GOAL!!!!!”
Steve yelled at me to quit talking about how I was about to PR, and go freaking sprint to the end. I was reallllly tired at this point, and my “sprint” was pretty pathetic, but I did my best to finish strong.
Mile 3.14: 8:22 <–NEGATIVE SPLIT!!!!
The rest: 7:30
I couldn’t believe it. I’ve PRed a few times recently, but this was the first time in a looooong time that I had a goal and I really felt like I crushed it. 30 seconds may not seem like a big difference, but in a 5k, at least for me, it really is. My garmin had me at an average pace of 8:23 which is so far beyond what I thought I was capable of! As soon as I crossed the finish line, I wanted to puke (totally normal), but I grabbed some water, and quickly felt better, and I rushed back over to Steve to tell him my finish time!
Before I knew it, we saw Jason and Matt coming up pretty quickly.
I jumped in with them, and tried to say all the perfect motivational things Coach Susan says at the end of a race. Then I told them to sprint to the end, and they took me pretty seriously because before I knew it, I couldn’t keep up with those long legs, and I ducked off to the side. They ended up finishing in about 29 minutes which is a PR for Jason, and it was Matt’s very first race!! They did awesome!!
As soon as I ducked off, I went back to find Bethany. I jogged a little bit down the way and waited for her on the corner before where Steve and the boys were waiting. I jumped back in with her, and tried to be all motivational again, then we turned the last corner, and I told her to sprint to the finish. As soon as got got to the gates on the sidelines, I ducked out, and went back to see the guys.
Bethany finished in 37 minutes for a 2 minute 5k PR!! Rock star!
As soon as we were done, we scooted out pretty quickly. We wanted to be able to grab breakfast, and it was my first day of tech rehearsal, so even though I wanted to see my teammates and friends that did the half marathon (and one in particular that crushed it with some ridiculous kind of 20 minute PR--WHAT??), we didn’t hang around.
In the car, I started trying to look up our chip times. When I found mine, I only really looked at the finish time, and jokingly complained about how it said 26:31, and I had been all excited about not just coming in under 27 minutes, but under 26:30. I’m silly like that. I looked up everyone else’s chip times, and went on with my morning. A couple hours later I was like “Hmmm, I wonder what my finish place is.” I always have kind of an unwritten goal to be in the top half. I know I’m not speedy, but I do want to be better than average. So I went back to look, and I was shocked and confused.
Okay, so either that’s a typo, or there were only, like, 2 people in my division, right?
Then I started crying. I asked Steve no less then 20 times “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN????” You see, I never expected to place in anything. I did one 5k where I came in 4th out of 12, and I remember feeling over the moon. It just didn’t seem possible to me. Then I went back and read about the awards–turns out I get one? My friend Michele placed 2nd in her age group, and GOT A MEDAL!!!! I mean, I have lots of race medals, but I never dreamed I would get one for coming in 2nd. I know 61 isn’t a HUGE division, but I never dreamed my times would be the slightest bit competitive. I think I’m still in shock.
I honestly can’t believe the way my life and my running has changed since Coach Susan came into my life. I know none of my recent PRs would have been possible without her wisdom, support, and guidance, and I just feel so unbelievably grateful.
In college, I did lots of vocal competitions, and never placed above honorable mention. It always seemed like no matter how hard I tried, I always fell short as a performer, and that sense of constant discouragement is what led me to change my focus to directing and choreography which I LOVE, and in a lot of ways love more than performing. I just can’t believe that I would ever place in anything. I remember telling my friend Diane when we worked together in Idaho that I had never won an award. Seriously. Never. At the end of the summer, she made me an IRT award, and it was so sweet. I still have it. I am not the person who wins or places in things. I am the person with that works really hard, and is noted for my work ethic, but always a step behind. Always seeming to just fall short.
I know for some people getting 2nd place in their division of a small, local race wouldn’t be totally life changing, but for me, it kinda is. It’s a day I will never forget, and something I will feel proud of for the rest of my life. It also taught me something else–I’ve been running for just over a year, and look how far I’ve come. There is nothing that is unattainable. With hard work, I can be a better, stronger runner than I ever dreamed of. I can also be a better stronger person. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for, so do me and yourself a favor: