Monday, November 14, 2011

Personal Record 5K Day Hooray: Race recap

Hooray, hooray! A PR 5K!
team run strong
Shannon, me, Nicole, Nicole C. and Jeff

I ran a 5K yesterday and it was a fantastic day for many reasons.

The weather was slightly chilly but bright and sunny and a great racing temperature.

I arrived at my friend Nicole's house nice and early. Nicole is a lifelong friend - we've known one another since kindergarten and really have grown close as adults and have particularly bonded over running, writing, family and everything else in between. Nicole was the first person I ran a race with, my first 5K - more about that later.

Anyway, Nicole brought a few of us together for the race and as team captain made sure that we were all unified in shoelaces so we all sported these fancy blue guys:
Blue Thunder!

So the team was ready to rock.

I had decided that I wanted to break 30:00. That was my goal. My last 5K, back in June, I ran in 30:01. I remember running my hardest to get that 30:01 and was pretty proud of that effort. It worked out to a 9:39 pace and I was super proud of it. I knew breaking 30 wouldn't be easy but I was hoping to do it.

The gun sounded and we were off. It's a smaller race, no chip, no timing just run as fast as you can and be kind of close-ish to the start so the clock is kinda accurate. I wasn't too far back but kind of middle of the pack.

I shot out. The first 1/2 of a mile was pretty narrow - only two people wide with a teeny bit of squeeze room - I was a bit frustrated during this part because I was squeezing thru and trying to book. I did a pretty good job at it because I could feel myself running hard.

It then opened up a little bit for a slight hill around the one mile and I took advantage of that. Then for what seemed like forever, we were running up hill. We rounded the corner and ran up another yucky hill. I was still trying to push, push, push and run up these fricken hills like I was being chased. I was worried I wouldn't break 30 because the one that I did 30:01 in was flat and fast and this was hills and dodging people - but I was determined to do my best.

I was tired and running my ass off.  Several times I summoned visions of Jason and Lesley cheering (well, yelling but in a good way) at me to go faster. Jason telling me to suck it up buttercup- you're stotan and Lesley pretty much asking, "Are you ready to throw up yet? Then you're not running hard enough." And this is only because if they were literally running besides me, I would expect no less.

So then we were in our last mile and back in that annoying two lane narrow path. I was losing steam but continued to dig. I was passing people and chicking guys left and right. :) Loved this because I'm usually the one getting passed but I was zooming by peeps the whole time and that felt pretty damn good.

I can't really guage my time because the NIKE+ thing is on my Nano in my media pocket, taking it out is tricky and awkward so I'm just going and hoping.

I was making all kinds of strange panting noises and sure I sounded like a loon I was exerting so much effort but I wasn't throwing up so I knew there was still more to give and that while a bit painful, it wouldn't kill me.

I have no idea where I'm at time wise and then I come around the bend for the homestretch.  The finish line is on a high school track so you have to do a quarter around the track into the finish line. As I'm nearing the finish I finally see the clock… It's 28 something. WHAT!? I look again… I think it's 28 something for real.

I crossed over in 28:48! Now I didn't cross the start at the exact start time so it could be 28:40 but who knows. I started Nike a little late so it's off a bit. A year ago I PR'ed this race and I ran it in 32 mins straight so in a year I took 3:12 off my time for the same course. 

My very first 5K took me 40 minutes to do.

I get a little choked up thinking about how far I've come.

Never mind that I PR'ed, never mind I placed 4th in my age group, never mind that I place 25/151 women or 105 out of 315 people… even as I've been running, I've never considered myself a 'real' runner.  I know how silly that sounds (and it's probably coming out wrong) but I've always kind of felt still like the fat girl, like the girl who is kinda 'cute' running as a novelty. But these numbers prove that I'm capable of being stronger and faster than I thought, that the only limitations I have are the ones I put on myself. I am capable of being better than what I think my best time is even. I was aiming for 29:59 when I should've been aiming for 28:45. 

Something about this particular race has validated me or changed me or did something that I can't really articulate. It's something really special. 

By the way, who's the bitch competitor who took 3rd? The one who if she hadn't entered - that place would've been mine? Well crap. Who can be mad? Congrats Nik on your great accomplish and for taking third -- there she is with her medal:

And Nicole's daughter also placed in her age group!! There is so much more I can say about this day but this post is already getting long. I hope you had a great Sunday as well!


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