If I learned any lesson today, it's that I hate the 5k! What a tough race. Run your tail off for 3.1 miles. I'd rather slow down a bit and run longer! LOL. I would like to think that, if it wasn't 9 a.m. and blazing hot, I would have felt better. My result was actually just under where I'm predicted to be based on my 1:40 half time (I use this calculator on Runner's World to predict race times/paces).
As I usually do, I'll share my A, B, and C goals for this race:
- Goal A: 22 minutes. Period.
- Goal B: Don't throw up while trying to get 22 minutes.
- Goal C: Don't die trying to get 22 minutes.
Obviously, I was a little hard on myself with this one. I usually have at least two time goals but I wasn't giving myself that option today. I knew what I was capable of, I just had to make it happen in this draining weather on this hilly-ish course. It's a course of which I'm very familiar. I've run a couple of races on it and I've done some training runs on it. I think the familiarity helped me to focus more.
I knew I couldn't get my legs moving that fast unless I did a warm up. Amanda and I met a few minutes early to get in a couple of easy miles. I never feel good during those warm up miles so I wasn't really sure if I was feeling ready. I was still very nervous and that's really all I could think about.
When they told us to line up, Amanda and I went to the front not knowing who our competition really was. I mean, great runners come in all different sizes. One of my biggest fears in these smaller races is that I'll line up at the front to avoid the crowd and end up with a horrible finish. You know, that skinny girl with no shirt on that "looks like a runner" but actually totally sucks?! Yes, that was my fear. To rid myself of the nerves, I decided to introduce myself to the people around me, ask them their goal times, and form support systems. Fortunately, two of the other people at the front had similar goals. So a girl in my age group along with a strong man in his 50's formed a trio to encourage each other to our goals.
|I love meeting new people at races! My trio included a cancer survivor from Illinois and a fellow female runner from Boston.|
On your mark, get set, go! I went out a little fast because I knew where the hills were and knew I might slow down at those points. I'm usually one to attack the hills but, even when I attack them, it slows me down a bit. My legs felt like jello initially but that went away after a mile. It must have been the start line adrenaline. My first mile was 6:51. Faster than my goal pace of 7:05 but I was ok with it because I felt fine and knew I might slow down a bit.
Mile 2 had a couple of hills before the turn around point and 1-2 more after the turn around. This was a tough mile for me. I couldn't maintain that goal pace through these hills. I was so thankful for a fast start because I bombed this mile: 7:22! Ugh. That lit a little fire under my bum for the rest of the race. I knew I had to stay focused to get my goal.
At that point, you just have to tell yourself, "I only have one mile left. ONE MILE." My legs started to feel heavy. I actually felt like I wasn't going to beat 22 minutes and that really bummed me out. The last mile was mentally tough. I knew when the final hill was coming and I knew I hated it. I've run up that gradual incline so many times and knew it would feel hard at that point. I tried to gain some speed about 1-2 tenths of a mile from the start of the hill but the walkers were making it difficult. I try to have grace with people who don't know race etiquette but it can be really hard at times! In my nicest "I'm about to die" voice, I asked the walkers to please move over for the runners. They were literally taking up the entire width of the trail. Just imagine Whitley Gilbert from A Different World saying "Ex-CUSE me!" Ok, I digress.
As I approached the last hill, I thought to myself "This is it. If I can just make it up this hill, I'm downhill then straight to the finish." Something came over me and I just ran my booty up that hill. As I started heading down the slight downhill, I still was not confident about a 22 minute finish. I looked at my Garmin and noticed my current pace was 6:45. That was all I needed to see. It was all heart after that. I simply did not feel my legs at that point. All I could think about was how hot it was, how much I wanted to barf...and then there was Amanda. I knew she would win this race so I asked her to run to the last corner as I was finishing and yell at me. The girl did not let me down. She said, when she finished, she threw her keys at her husband and said "I have to go get Lisa!" Her cheers helped me through that finishing sprint and to a 2nd place finish! I was never happier to be finished with a race. I was able to keep from passing out and congratulate the rest of my trio on a great finish!
My official finish time:
Overall, it was brutal. Props to all the 5k-ers out there! Thanks to all of my friends and family for the wonderful words of encouragement. Thanks to my mother-in-law for watching baby James so I could run a stroller free 5k. Thanks to my fellow runners and spectators for being so encouraging on the course!
What's next for Lisa? I think I have about 4-5 weeks until my next race. I'll be running Emerald City Half in Dublin on August 23rd. Because my focus right now is my full marathon in November, this will be a training run for me in which I will incorporate some marathon race pace miles. Considering it will be August, I'm mentally preparing for another brutal race!