I signed up for this event maybe 3 weeks in advance after not finding any road 10Ks I wanted to try. I wanted to race SOMETHING this summer. So if it is 5Ks, so be it! I knew I could probably churn out a new PR from February and possibly break my 2011 standing PR of 26:01.
Scott and I headed downtown around 6:30. He ran, I drove and parked about half a mile away. When we met up again, we jogged to the start which provided a nice warm up. The half-marathon (a larger event) started 15 minutes before the 5K, so I had some time to kill and did some people watching. I’ve not ever done a women’s only race before and some of the aspects were nice; the camaraderie, the diversity of types of participants. But other aspects were frustrating; the prevalence of ‘feminine’ imagery, butterflies on the shirt and medal, the choice of pop songs played before hand. But of course, not everyone is into running for the same reasons that I am, and an environment like this is comfortable for them to run in. Scott wrote an excellent summary of some of the issues with this event here if you want to consider the subject further. Honestly, I was there to race, to challenge myself and if there was cheesy music playing – so be it.
I jogged around a little bit right before the 5K start, but I was feeling super nervous waiting for the countdown. We’d discussed a general race strategy before (mostly – don’t think you’re going too fast and hold back) but I was still nervous I’d go out too fast and blow up. The countdown started and we were off.
Mile 1: 7:47 – I started maybe two or so rows back, this race wasn’t huge (maybe about 500 participants) and I felt more middle-of-the-packer than other times. We looped around the downtown circle then immediately met up with the slower starters of the half-marathon, some of whom were already run/walking. I might have started out at 6:30 pace just to pass this crowd, but eventually settled to just under a 8:00 pace. Scott showed up in two spots here to give encouragement and snap some pictures. The first mile went by quick, and almost all of it ran with the half. When my Garmin chimed I was happy and a little surprised to see 7:47. The fastest timed mile I’ve ever done before was 8:00 flat. I still felt a little nervous about going to hard, but my breathing felt comfortable so I maintained the pressure.
Mile 2: 8:03 – The second mile started to wear on me. The crowd thinned to only a few people, I was passing less people and had settled behind a group of three, then four when I was passed. I kept this woman that passed me in sight and very close and glanced to see that my watch was reading above 8:00 pace. I wasn’t feeling too fatigued, so I made sure I kept it as close to 8:00 as I could and kept my breathing in check. I eventually re-passed the woman, but we stayed close until about the end.
Mile 3: 7:49 – There was a portion where we were running east, into direct rising sunlight and up a small hill. This really wore on me. But gratefully, the course turned south right after the hill and I followed Scott’s instructions to no longer look at my watch. I was getting close to the group of 3 in front of me, had left that other woman far behind and could see the finish way down the road. I pulled out as much as I could and really kicked it after the 3 mile marker.
Mile 0.1: 0:43 – I saw Scott again near the last mile marker and I threw everything out I had. I managed to pass two of the three women a head of me and came in at 24:22.
I felt seriously trashed after finishing. I let a man in Army fatigues put a butterfly medal around my neck and give me a rose (WTF) then met up with Scott and some PBT teammates. I learned that the leaders of the race were drawn off course towards the end by the course biker who didn’t fully know the course. They didn’t seem too upset by it…. I think their finishes were honored accordingly with prize money. So there is definitely some reward to NOT coming in first. Ha. Get those kinks smoothed out.
I ended up 17th overall, and 3rd in my age group. I am really happy! I met my goal of sub 25, I really felt like I raced smart and the t-shirt fits. I have no complaints. Well, ok I do have some complaints on the treatment of women in sports and women-only events.
We hung around to watch a PBT teammate come in 4th in the half-marathon. (Winner ran a 1:17:11, 4th was 1:19:59). And of course I got all excited and started the whole “I’m totally gonna sign up with PBT!” “I want to race half-marathons” blah blah blah that I do after every race. But still, watching those women finish with serious pain and tenacity on their face is SO MOTIVATING.
Note to self: they run more than 20-25 miles a week.
Today, something slow and easy to keep everything loose. And now a picture for your viewing pleasure…. I realized profile running pictures is where it’s at.
24:22, 7:51 pace. New 5K PR!