Last Saturday I ran in a local 5K. I have been training for the last few months with my friend. This was her first 5K since high school. I ran this 5K exactly a year ago and 10 pounds heavier. I have been running faster and working on my speed and endurance. Since last year's 5K I have run in 1 marathon relay (7.1 miles), 1 5K, 2 10Ks, and a half marathon.
The day was hot and by the 8am start time the temperature was a sunny 70 degrees and it was just going to get hotter. This year I wore a hat and a tank top and shorts. Last year I wore a short sleeve shirt and capris and felt I was going to pass out at the end. I thought I was going to pass out again this year. It must be the heat and humidity. Last year I started way at the back of the pack and was a line of people before the stroller group. This year I started with the 10-12 minute group. I thought I might be a little overly ambitious as my training runs have been 13+ minutes per mile. But I noticed that for my racing times I am averaging a 10+ minute per mile. I was right to go with the 10-12 minute wave group and after dodging a few people at the start it was fine. There was a moment when my life flashed before my eyes when a 9 year old girl darted out in front of me and I quickly moved out of the way. She was trying to move and didn't look and all I thought was "Oh, wow, I'm going to fall and break my legs."
The Kentlands 5K is a road race around a neighborhood. There are moderate hills and it's a fairly easy and wide course. The start was crowded and it took some weaving in and out to pass the slower runners. There were quite a few middle schoolers running the race who would start fast, slow to a walk in the middle of the course 4 or 5 abreast, and then begin running again. It was a little aggravating and it took me some time to finally get away from them. They have local bands play at various points on the course and there are 2 water stops. I always walk through the water stops and I think the last water stop was a mistake for me. I should not have taken a drink. It made me feel ill. It was the high humidity and I felt the water sloshing around until I finished my race. There were employees from the local running store holding signs of encouragement. One of them happened to be the sales clerk who sold my new Mizuno's to me. Her sign? "Walking? You ain't got time for that!" I did happen to be walking at that time because I had just run up a hill and I was tired, however her sign gave me motivation to keep running. I needed that.
As we were coming up to the last hill, the band at the bottom of the hill was being encouraging telling us it wasn't that big and that it wasn't that hard. I kinda wanted to punch him in the nose at that point. I was hot, the water was sloshing in my belly, and I remembered that hill from last year and it's not fun. I also knew that it was all down hill after that. So I put my aggression into climbing the hill, which didn't feel as high or as long as it did last year, thank you hill repeats! I so badly wanted to walk the last tenth of a mile as my gait felt off. I walked a few steps to even out my stride and ran my way in. As I came to the finish I saw the race clock at 35 minutes. Up until then, my fastest 5K was a 36:56. As I saw the seconds tick up I grimaced and sprinted to the end, completing forgetting that the race clock would be different from my chip time because we started in waves and my time didn't start until I crossed the mat at the start. As I came across the finish I heard the announcer say, "She's coming in strong." He must have seen the look in my eye, because I crossed the mat he said, "I think you got it." It being a PR, and he was right. I ran that race at 33:32 knocking more than 3 minutes off my fastest 5K time and it was also a course PR. I also felt like barfing at the end of the finish line making me believe that I had run my hardest and I did at the end. I was still 10 seconds off my fastest pace per mile, but I still PR'd and I'll take it. And for the first time ever in a race I was in the top half of my age group.
I was at the finish line waiting to cheer on my friend. I missed her completely, but I am so proud of her. She worked incredibly hard in training and had to train the last two months by herself because our summer schedules did not align. Today we met up again and we started working on hills and we're looking for another race to run together.
It was a good race. I like that it's local and that I can get there, run, and be home within a couple of hours. The race was well organized and many of my friends and acquaintances run the race so it's nice to be able to recognize someone and run alongside someone even if it's for a short time. I appreciated the water stops and the cheering families who sat on their porch steps or on street corners cheering us on. A big bonus was that there weren't long lines for the port-a-potties and they were the cleanest I have ever come across in a race. Priorities, priorities :) Overall, a pretty good run day :)