|The Green Giant and I had a brief |
love affair last summer.
|This is the participant shirt. I think the art is really creative.|
I ran my warm-up with a friend and then left him to do drills and strides myself. I wanted my heart rate as high as possible before I started running.
I lined up at the front with a bunch of guys and Fast Girl. I told myself that no matter what happened, I needed to keep the first mile slower and not burn out on the hill. The gun went off and Fast Girl and the guys took off. I stuck with a pack about 20 feet behind and worked my way up the hill.
By the time we reached the top of the hill she had slowed considerably and I was on her heels. And here's where I started running scared. I didn't want to pass her and risk burning out, even though we were running well below my 5K ability. I expected her pace to quicken on the downhill but we actually slowed a bit. I stayed just off her shoulder.
When we hit a flat portion of the course, I pulled up along side of her and asked her what she wanted to run. 19 or 20, she said. We were nowhere near that pace and I probably should've dropped her at that point but I was scared. I thought she was sandbagging and if I took the lead, she'd kick toward the end. Soon enough, her pace slowed even more, giving me no choice but to move to the lead just before the 2 mile mark.
My mom had come to watch me run and was on the course. When I reached her I asked her for an update on where Fast Girl was and she told me I had half a block lead. At this point my stomach was starting to hurt and I kept burping up almond butter toast that I probably ate too close to the start of the race (lesson learned- allow at least 2 full hours for digestion. Not an hour.). My mom actually got in her car and started driving along side of me, asking what pace I was running. I knew I was slow but hadn't look at my watch at all since the first mile. I looked down and saw 7:15(!!) for my projected mile pace. Um, what? Then my mom said, "You've lost some ground." and I'm thinking, "Well yeah, cause I'm running marathon pace and I feel like I'm gonna hurl" but instead I sucked it up and started moving faster.
I just concentrated on moving my feet as fast as possible the last 1/2 mile. And I'm not going to lie, I was totally thinking about beating Fast Girl. I knew I wasn't going to PR so I wanted to win and the finish line couldn't come fast enough. I kept listening for breathing or footsteps behind me but they never came. I was the first female across the line in 21:14, 8 seconds slower than last year and 50 seconds off my current 5K PR. I was not happy.
I took off to run a cool down and when I was on my way back, I saw Fast Girl running her cool down and stopped to tell her good race. She said that she was having stomach issues, too. Must be something in the water...
I did get this cute medal for winning my age group. I should probably mention that Fast Girl turned out to be 16 years old and finished in 21:56.
So lessons learned: Don't run scared. Don't eat an hour before you're going to race a 5K and don't be intimidated by people who look fast. You never can tell.
Splits: Mile 1 (uphill portion)- 6:41; Mile 2 (w/ downhill portion)- 6:50; Mile 3 7:05; last .1- 38 seconds (5:36 pace). Clearly I've come a long way since April.