Wahoo! My first ever race recap! I went back and forth over whether or not I was going to run this. First I wasn’t, then I was, then I wasn’t sure then about 2 weeks ago I finally decided that I would run . I didn’t leave myself much time to prepare, speed wise, so I just concentrated on my normal once a week speed day and trying to incorporate some fast finishes into most runs. I have 0 pictures from this race – since it was so close to home, The Tall One didn’t need to chauffeur me around so he wasn’t there to be my photographer and I wasn’t going to start asking random strangers to take my picture “for the blog”.
I should stop here and mention…I really don’t like 5Ks. I’m not sure why, though. Maybe it’s because they feel like they’re over before it even gets started (that’s what she said). And, being perfectly honest (because that’s what you do with internet
strangers friends) a bigger reason would be….they make me feel slow. I’m always so hesitant to enter them because I’m worried that I’ll be one of the last runners to cross the line, and certainly one of the last in my age group. I know that’s a stupid reason to not like them, but, I’m a very self conscious person. Anyway, I decided the hell with it and I was going to do it. It’s time to stop being a 10 year old and change my outlook on them.
I ran the Jane Neely Run For your Life 5K at Kiwanis Park, in Shaler Township. The race started at 8:30, and I needed to be there around 7:45 to register. I live about 5 minutes away from the venue so it was a wonderful change of pace from half/full marathons (where waking up at 3:45 is the norm) to be able to wake up late, *we’re talking almost 6 AM here, people….that’s big!* enjoy my coffee and english muffin with peanut butter.
I drove to the park, registered and just kind of people watched for the next half hour. The weather was perfect, and I enjoyed the breeze and sunshine as I watched them try to put up this huge hot air balloon that was supposed to mark the finish area. It was going up when we made our way to the start line, but when I got to the finishers area….the balloon was gone. No idea what happened.
There was a DJ playing some super patriotic tunes (Neil Diamond’s Coming to America FTW!), and about 5 minutes before the start they herded us like cattle down a hill to the start line. I knew this hill would be at the end of the course, but I did NOT realize what a freakin’ mountain it was. All I kept thinking was….holy %$#^ I have to run back UP this beast.
With very little warning, a horn sounded to start the race and we were off!!
I’m familiar with most of the out and back course (except that mountain at the end…just a minor detail), so I knew that while it looked flat, the back part actually has a small gradual incline. Doesn’t look like much, even on the elevation profile, but your legs know it’s there. Or maybe it’s just my weak legs that can sniff out any kind of incline a mile away.
I have no idea what my 5K pace is, so I figured I would just go with what my legs were feeling. I was sort of keeping an eye on my watch, but I wasn’t looking every 10 seconds either.
Mile 0-1was pretty uneventful; except for the garbage truck that somehow got through the road blocks and nearly took out the first group of runners. And the girl who was maybe 9, 10 tops, that freakin’ smoked me. Just blew right past me, and I don’t think I saw her again. Little stinker 😉 I knew that I was going a little faster than I expected, but it felt sustainable so I didn’t stress. I also reminded myself Mount Everest waiting for us at the end, and to save a little gas. Pace – 9:22
Mile 1-2 I was still feeling pretty good. I backed off the pace just a touch – again, I was thinking about the hill to come. We hit the turnaround, I glanced at my watch trying to figure out what my finish time might be. I gave up after a minute – I can barely do math as it is, let alone trying to run and calculate. The crowd was really thinning out, but I did pass a couple of people including another little kid who kept looking back at me, then sprinting ahead, then walking, then would I would catch up he would take off again. Kind of funny, because I didn’t really care, kind of annoying because it was so obvious. Pace – 9:45
Mile 2-3 The pace started to slow, semi unintentionally. I saw the time tick into the 10’s, and while I wanted to push more, that damn hill coming up stopped me. I passed a few more people, and tried to focus on even breathing and keeping a steady pace. Pace: 10:26
Mile 3-3.1 Hits RIGHT at the
hill mountain. Seriously, longest .10 miles of my life. I threw all of my knowledge about form out the window, put my head down and just tried to chug up it as best I couldn’t without having a heart attack. JUST when you think you hit the top, it levels out for half a second and then you hit ANOTHER incline. Eff. I didn’t even bother to look at my watch; just kept my head down and kept pumping my little T-Rexa arms. Then you make a sharp turn…and I wasn’t sure where to go. The were no signs pointing out where the finish was…luckily, my crappy hill running form saved me. My head was down and I noticed the arrows spray painted on the road pointing you towards the finish. There’s one last little bunny hill off the road, into the grass and you’re home free. I tried to sprint across the field, but my legs were still screaming so I’m sure it was more of an awkward Sasquatch-type shuffle. Pace: 10:45
My finish time is 31:21 which I am pretty happy with. It’s a 5 minute PR from my first ever 5K, and it’s within the time I had in my head when I registered. In a strange turn of events, I just happened to check the results page and it turns out I finished 3rd (out of 12) in my age group. There were 124 participants, so obviously it’s super small, and in any other race 31:21 isn’t going to get me anywhere but it still made me smile. Especially since I was convinced I’d finish last in my age group!
I’ll be honest, I’m kind of curious to see what I could do if I really did some 5K specific speed work. Who knows…maybe there is something to these after all 🙂