Hot Run in the Summertime 5k – Race Recap

by Sara on August 4, 2014

Hot Run in the Summertime 5k 

5th Female overall
1st Female 20-29
Official time 22:50

IMG_1177Stats out of the way, I’m pretty happy to report that today ended on a high note although it definitely didn’t start out that way.

Friday night was the standard pre race routine of pizza and wine with feet up on the couch.  I easily polished off an entire half of a large pizza – carb loading is not just for marathons.  Thinking about the race just made me nervous so I was more than happy to get to bed at a decent time.  A 9:30am race start meant not having to get up ass-crack-of-dawn early and I took full advantage of getting to sleep in until 7.  And yes, this is how I set my alarm for race morning.

IMG_1154And then race morning started.  Ralph and I definitely have different routines when it comes to prepping for a race and we are still trying to learn each others habits and figure out something that works for both of us.  The mental side of racing is really hard for me and I spend a lot of the morning getting “in the zone” and psyching myself up, whereas Ralph likes to not really think about the race and its hard for us to do both.  Ralph wants to chit chat about random things, and I want to be left alone and get mentally prepped.  And I can be a bit cranky…

I was also having Garmin issues {really really really trying to hold out until my birthday because Garmin you are not cheap} and although I had my watch charging all night when I unplugged it it wasn’t working.  I reconnected it and it said it had 0% charge.  In my past I would have completely freaked out over this but I am working on being more patient and positive so I fiddled with it for a few minutes until it started charging and walked away to get changed.  Even after we took Wesley for his morning walk it was only up to 9% charged.  More internal trying not to freak out.  And then by some miracle of the running gods just as we were ready to walk out the door it was flashing 100% charged at me.

We got to the race {not a far drive} with plenty of time to park, grab our bibs, pins and shirts and start our warm up.  Every 5k I’ve done recently I say I’m going to warm up for at least 2 miles and that never happens.  We ended up getting in a decent 1.5 miles, a few strides and then it was time to line up.  Holy.  Shit.

The race itself was, like any good 5k, easy in the first mile, hard in the second mile, and death in the third mile.  The twists and turns in the beginning made the miles fly by and I actually never paid attention to the distance on my watch the entire race.  I glanced down at the pace dozens of times but mostly to make sure I wasn’t going to go out to fast.  One of the reasons I held off on even registering for this race was I knew the area and knew it was a bit hilly and was probably going to be a tougher course.  It starts with a pretty decent stretch of downhill, is fairly flat in the middle and then there are a few hills in the last mile that really kicked my ass.  I had a pretty aggressive plan going into this race, starting off at 7:30 pace and seeing how long I could hold on to it.  I always tell people running 5ks not to go out too fast, but I had never run a race that started off with such an long stretch of downhill and I didn’t want to start off too slow and kick myself for it in the end.

I did not take any music, I wanted to push myself and prove I could run a good race with out music.  Now that It’s over I’m torn on whether I want to run my next race with music or not, for me it does make a difference in that last mile.  When I start to anticipate the finish, music helps keep me focused and in the moment.  Without that it definitely took a lot out of me to stay calm and focused and just push even though it hurt.  I slowed a lot at the end, telling myself I went out fast so I could afford to lost a little time on the last hill, but the truth is I thought I would throw up if I pushed any harder.  Usually the music blasts in my ears at this point and distracts me from all the pain but even Ralph passing me in the last stretch was not enough.  I was just aiming to keep my breakfast inside my body at that point.

Race Organization: I was actually really nervous about the course because there were a lot of turns.  Ralph and I had tried to drive it Wednesday night and got lost just in the car.  I was worried about accidentally making a wrong turn but the race organizers did a fantastic job of ensuring there was a volunteer at every turn, and a police officer at every intersection.  It was incredibly well run.

I never used to be one for sticking around for awards and such post race, but there was a pretty good post race party including beer and, who can say no to a beer after a hard race?  The food was only so-so but it was worth it for beers and catching up with people from the run club that we hadn’t seen in a while.  We even ended up staying well until the party was over and they were packing everything up.  The top 100 finishers got to take home a Sam Adams pint glass and bottle opener, and Ralph and I both receive age group medals.  I am still shocked that I ended up first in my age group.  My jaw actually dropped when they called my name, I was expecting to be maybe third.

My only disappointment was the race course was short.  So here’s the thing, after I stopped my watch and jogged around for about five minutes trying to calm my stomach, I looked down at my wrist and noticed 3.1 was not the distance starting back at me.  WHAT?!?  Everyone else that had a GPS watch got a slightly different distance but none of us got as far as 3.1 miles.  I was instantly bummed.  I had an awesome time and I was really proud of my pace, but the length of the race was short.  How could I could this as a PR? When people asked my time did I have to say, “yea but the course was short”, when I told them how I did?  Or should I be proud that I still would have PR’d even if the course was long enough.  It’s definitely a little of both, and also a lot of feeling like I have A LOT to live up to for my next race.

IMG_1173“Mom, recovery and rest are overrated.  Take me for a walk already.”  I ended up wearing my newest pair of Asics Gel Lytes, it was a pretty last minute decision but I ended up shoe twinning with the guy that won the race overall so I must have been doing something right.  Maybe these are the best 5k race shoes.  I really appreciated how light they felt and did not end up with any pain in my feet at the end.

So now it’s over, and I have this race to look forward to in a few weeks.  No more excuses, no more slacking it’s time to get serious and build some serious speed.  No more skipping long runs, and there will be two speed sessions per week, followed by plenty of protein and rest.  I realize this might sound a little silly since I have the rest of the fall to still run races but I really want to prove to myself that this race was not a fluke.

It’s funny because for so long I was not fast, and I feel like every race I run lately I am pretty much in disbelief that I can run the paces and times I do.  Every race feels like a fake, a mistake, like I should be making excuses.  Even though I know I have put in a ton of hard work it just feels so strange to be able to say I can achieve the things I have been working towards.  Maybe I need to stop making excuses for my abilities and just be proud of my accomplishments.  Just because I have crazy dreams doesn’t mean I can’t make them come true.

Right?

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