Mysterious Miles : Ideally, I would like to have used a local half-marathon as a tune-up race for my Full. Unfortunately, those are few and far between, this time of year, in Florida. Having no desire to tack on travel expenses to races fees, for a glorified training run, I set my sights on using a 10k, instead. (Obviously, the distance is less than 13.1 miles, but the overall concept remains.) It just so happened that an inaugural 5k/10k event was being planned for the Sunday right before my marathon.
Bonus : Some of the Pink Feet 10k/5k/s proceeds would also be donated to the local hospital group (Florida Hospital) for Breast Cancer research. Our family participates in some sort of event, every October, specifically for this purpose. This way I could kill two birds with two pink feet!
It's easiest to say that I wasn't going into this race with PR (personal record) expectations. However, that's not necessarily the most truthful statement. In reality, all of the miles I've put in for marathon training, (minus that whole injury hiatus) should enable me to run shorter races, faster. When I raced my fastest 10k, last November, the conditions were near-perfect, all around. That aside, I felt very strong and confident this past Sunday morning, too. I was shooting for a sub 46 finish and would not have been surprised to see a 45:xx on the clock at the end.
I'm still trying to come to terms with what went wrong.
My first mile was an easy-feeling 7:22. The second and third were slightly slower, on purpose. I was suddenly starving (a new and unpleasant feeling, for me, mid-race) and didn't want to burn out too early. The whole experience, though, was nothing like last month's icky 5k, so I was still feeling cautiously optimistic.
I turned on my music at the 5k split and felt like I was coasting on auto-pilot. After an extensive "status check", I happily realized nothing hurt. There was a male and female in front of me, but I had no desire to pass. Using them as pacers seemed a much better plan.
There were a couple of issues, towards the end of the race.
1. The enormous hill, right at the end of mile 5, sputtered out my slowest split (8:04)
2. The guy in front of me walked off course, apparently finished for the day, right before mile 6. (wth?) I stopped, thinking there was a problem. Still not sure if he never intended to actually race, was my own, little hallucination or was a secret plant to mess with my head. Either way, it was weird.
3. Lack of signage/direction coming around the final turn. I couldn't find the finish line, or the race leader. The lady with the megaphone was lovely and encouraging but would not, for the life of her, just point a finger in the right direction. I had to (again) stop to say "which way?!". Her ever-so-helpful response : "Girl! You lookin' GOOD!"
I agreed, took a gamble and turned the blind corner. I knew, long before this point, that my overall time wasn't great, but I was very happy with how well I was feeling. Little did I know, the way I was feeling on the inside, was definitely not reflecting outwardly :
Holy Geez. What am I even doing there? At least this explains why my right hip hurt, afterwards.
After uglying up the Finisher's Chute, I saw my guys, got some amazing news about some 5kers, took a few sips of water and headed out to finish my run. If I'd waited any longer, I would've definitely talked myself out of those last, hotter (but slower) six miles. My lovely sister-in-law kept me company for most of them, so it wasn't all bad.
The Good News :
1. I felt really strong and happy and ended up winning 2nd, overall.
treat for them : they got to put the medal around my neck after I ran an additional 6 miles!
It was a small race. Just a little over 250 participants and most were walkers or people who chose the 5k. First overall was actually a female, too!
when I grow up, I want to look like that when I finish a race
2. For an inaugural race, there were very few hiccups. The parking area was over a mile from the start line. Not ideal, but we knew in advance and the directors did everything they could to make it more pleasant.
Packet pickup was IN the parking lot, so you could stash your stuff before making the trek to the start.
They also semi-lit the super-dark, in-the-woods, paved trail so we'd be able to see the bear/bobcat coming to eat us, long before it pounced.
It was supposed to be chip-timed, at the start, but didn't end up being so. Don't know why.
I'm not real sure about the post-race amenities as I was out running while others were enjoying them. I do know they had a kids' race, very cute medals and lots of pink.
3. Hot on the heels of my medal-winning sister, our partners-in-crime/running, destroyed their former 5k PRs on this fine, Sunday morning.
beat her best time by TWO minutes!!
Kristi-Anne's time was good enough for third female, overall, in the 5k and Kim's (above) medal was for placing first in her division!
To paraphrase my new, directionally-challenged volunteer friend : "Girls, you lookin' GOOD!"
I'll have plenty of time to figure out how to make those great-feeling race miles faster. I've done it before and am confident I'll do it again. For now, I can ride high on the happiness of this past weekend with family and friends and enjoy this low-maintenance, high-stress taper-time!!
Giveaway coming soon!!