There are lots of reasons to race. Fun, fitness, personal best, personal victories and race victories are just a few excellent reasons. Sometimes it’s something greater though, something more important. Sometimes you get to race to support you friend who has spent the last 16 months kicking breast cancers ass. That’s a race you just can't say no to… even if you have an open water swim, a 65 mile ride, and a 6 mile run planned for the day before, not to mention the 16 mile run you’ve got to get in on race day.
There are more important things than my self-indulgent attempts to “be faster” and “beat more people”. If I can run 3.1 miles to show love and support for a friend who has faced more than I can understand, the answer is yes. No matter what.
My first lesson – before I get into my self-indulgent race report – is that a sea of pink survivor t-shirts can make you more proud to be part of a race than an ensued PR. I couldn’t help but to fill up with admiration, respect, and love for the women who were there as defeaters of breast cancer. And I couldn’t help but to feel a longing for those whose lives were cut short by the beast. You are my heroines.
Now for the race report and my accidental lesson.
First, I really did do an open water swim, a 65 mile ride, and a 6 mile run on Saturday. I felt great after my long Saturday training session and had a plan for Sunday. I would run the race course twice before the race, to get in 6.2 miles, plus a little extra from the car and around town. Then it was to the team tent at 8:15 for a team photo – which didn’t end up happening until after the race. Next, time for some strides and off to the start line to run the “race”.
I had plans of making the 3.1 miles a tempo effort and NOT racing, as I had a more important race two days later. I would be happy with a 6:30-6:40 pace. Great plan! And then I’d cool down with another 6 miles or so and would have a successful long run, with a few tempo miles in the bank.
Well, I lined up a few rows back from the start, as I was planning to run a little slower. Set was called and the ring of the gun quickly followed. We were off! And I was haveing a grand time! I was chatting and cheering, thanking volunteers and heckling familiar faces. Before I knew it, the one mile marker passed beneath my feet – I glanced at my watch, 6:45 for the first mile. Eh. Maybe I could pick it up a little? Ok!
Still chatting and cheering, I began to work up the filed. I found a friend to duck behind and told him he was a girls dream come true. At over 6 feet tall, with broad, strong shoulders, I enjoyed a brief draft before heading around. To my surprise the two mile mark was upon me. My time? 13:00. My exclamation of “Ooops, that was faster than tempo,” got me a few chuckles from those who over heard. A 6:15 for the second mile – there was a decision to be made. If I’m being honest, my pride got in the way. I didn’t want to slow down and let all of those people I’d just passed, catch me and pass me back. Plus, I felt great… like I was just out for a nice hard effort. And I was having fun. And there was a guy in front of me who I didn’t think should beat me. And. And. And.
So I forgot about my watch, my time, my pace and I just run. I made sure to not kick at any point or to really, really push. But I wasn’t holding much back by time I rounded on the last 800 meters.
|And. And. And I went for it.|
Much like with Fly by Night, when the finish line, and it’s subsequent clock came into view, my mouth dropped. No really. It dropped. I was hoping to run around 20:20 and I’ve never officially broken 20 minutes on a 5K course. When I saw 19:40ish with less than 20 meters left to go, I couldn’t believe that I’d just PR’d. And that it was that easy and fun. Official time: 19:45. Oops, that was too fast.
No time to waste. I grabbed some water and ran back up the course to get my remaining 6 miles in and cheer for all of those still in hot pursuit of their own PR’s. What a day.
The race course was well marked, the volunteers where AMAZING – lots of energy and very helpful, there was good water support, tasty snacks and lovely medals. The whole day was a party and I was so happy to be part of it.
My accidental lesson?
|2nd Female overall, 1st in AG... Pretty medal!|
I’m glad you asked! My splits were 6:45, 6:15, and 6:08 for the last 1.1 miles. Typically, I’m afraid to go out slow and if I had the goal in mind to PR at this race, there is no way I would have premeditated a 6:45 first mile. Scattered throughout is blog are reports of me going out too hard, learning my lesson, and forgetting it. I haven’t raced many 5K’s, but I usually look at my watch a half mile or mile in and think, “Wow, I’m flying! I hope I can keep this up.” If you look at the world records, or my husband’s data from 10 years of competitive running, you’ll see that in order to go faster, you have to go slower – at least in the beginning. You have to negative split. Lesson learned.
Until the next tale,