I don't have any pictures to go with this race recap so I'll just get on with it....
The St. Patrick's Day 5k in Columbia, MO was my 3rd race in as many weeks. The weather was predicted to be about 40*. Not horrible, by any means...but I was hoping for about 50. Picky.
I tried to get Justin or my dad to do this race with me. Justin was on call so he couldn't and my dad was busy with my brother's baseball and a school fundraiser.
I had read that this 5k was one of the largest in Columbia. I was pretty excited to be apart of that. I love seeing large races with people out there being healthy and having a good time.
Unfortunately, Justin had a case the morning of my race so he was not able to come with me. So I had to go by myself. This wasn't the first race that I went totally on my own, but I'm still not a fan. I knew a couple of people running as well, but there were so many people that I only saw one of them after the race.
I wore capri length tights, a short sleeved wicking shirt, a 3/4 zip up fleece shirt, and gloves. I was pretty comfortable through out the entire race. I was so glad that I remembered gloves. I bought cute St. Pat's socks to wear at this race, but that didn't happen due to the cooler temperatures.
They didn't roll out the starting line/pad thing until literally just before starting. So I didn't have any idea where to line up or stand so I didn't get stuck in the back. Well, I guessed wrong. I got started in the middle towards the back. This isn't a huge deal because this race was chip timed. However, with this being such a large race (520+ participants) - it took me a while to hit my stride and my pace. There were so many people to pass.
A little note to people new to racing - if at all possible, please don't walk/run/whatever more than like 3 people across the road. It makes it very difficult to get around you. I would have never known this prior to running in a race, but if I can help one or two people then so be it.
It was literally .75 miles before I hit a pace that I was comfortable with. My first mile was at 8:29 pace. Not bad, by any means, but definitely not on track for a PR. I kicked it up a notch after the .75 mile mark in hopes to PR.
Prior to this race - I would look at my garmin and see a pace that I thought was way too fast for me (basically anything less than about 8:15/mile) and slow down a bit. I always say to myself, "there is no way you can keep that pace for an entire 5k so chill the eff out." This race I looked at it a little bit differently. This race I said to myself, "just maintain this sub 8min/mile pace (!!!!) for as long as you can. If the wheels fall off - at least you gave it a shot." Imagine my surprise when the wheels did not fall off. I was doing it!!
When my garmin beeped that we were two miles in I felt myself slowing down a bit. I had to give myself a little pep talk. I thought I should be struggling after just running a 7:55 mile (I think my fastest, ever). I thought wrong. I was feeling good. I just had to convince myself of that and keep on moving at this pace.
At this point I was 16:24 minutes into the race. My previous PR was 26:08. So I knew I had a fantastic shot at getting a PR. And holy shit! I have a good chance of a sub 25 minute 5k.
A lot of this race was on sidewalks. You could run on the road, but the road wasn't actually blocked off. So you ran at your own risk. The sidewalks got a little crowded at times.
The 3rd mile of the race I was running near a mom, dad, kid (like 9 years old), and a couple of kids that were about 14. The 14 year old boys kept speeding up and slowing down. I was getting so frustrated. They would pass me and then slow down and I would have to maneuver by way around them on the tiny sidewalk. The father and son running were sort of similar. The little boy would fall behind with the mom while the dad went ahead. The dad would notice and slow down with the boy. It was a fight for about .5-.75 of the 3rd mile. And then the race opened up. The road was all ours and I was off. '
I looked down at my race and it was about 2.6 miles into the race. I knew I only had half a mile to go and I had to kick. I picked up my pace and went after it. I saw the finish line after I turned the last corner. I looked down at my watch and I had to get to the finish in just under a minute to get a sub 25. I sprinted my ass off.
As soon as I crossed the finish line I stopped my watch. 24:55!!!!! The clock at the finish read 25:03 or something like that. I wasn't too worried about it because I knew they started the clock a few seconds before I was able to start.
I was over the moon. My runner's high was through the roof. But, as I said, I was there by myself so I had no one to share this with. I immediately took my phone off of my arm and called Justin. I went ahead and walked to my car to leave because what else was I going to do? Before driving away I updated my FB status and posted a pic of my watch. SO EXCITED!!
I stalked the Columbia Track Club's website for race results all day. The last time I checked it was about 4pm and still nothing. So I figured I would check Sunday because we had a fundraiser deal to go to for my brother's school.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of checking on my phone while at the fundraiser. 25:08 WAH!WAH! I was crushed. I told Justin and he showed a little sympathy and we went about our business. It bugged so much that I went to the bathroom and cried. Wow. Who cries over 12 seconds??? Ridiculous. 25:08 is a FANTASTIC time (for me). An entire minute PR, even. It was just a huge blow. I had thought all day that I ran a sub 25 5k. I put it all over facebook. I mean, jeeze.
I have since relaxed a little bit about it. I am so close to that sub 25. That was my goal for 2011 so to be less than 3 months in and already be that close - I am a little more at peace about it. I also heard that other people thought the timing chips were a little slow too. So maybe I did run a sub 25, maybe I didn't. I am going with the chip time, I guess.
Just to give some perspective to anyone starting out racing and/or just running in general....
My first 5k was on Thanksgiving (2010) and my time was 28:06. Since my first I have run about 3 more before St. Pat's. I hoovered around the 26:30-27 minute mark. I had a great race on New Years Eve that gave me my PR of 26:08. And here I am like 5 months into racing and I have knocked 3 whole minutes off of my slowest (and first) time.
Running is discouraging and very difficult at times. That's normal. My advice is to just stick with it and keep working. Your hard work will pay off. You will get faster and you will get stronger. And, as you can see in this recap, running is a huge mental game. Your own inner voice is half the battle. Running is so mental.
The deets of my St. Pat's race:
Total time - 25:08
Avg pace - 8:06 (OH.EM.GEE!)
98th place out of 523 participants
4th out of 56 in my age/gender group (3rd place was 21:something...so I wasn't even close ha)