Well… that went SO MUCH better than I had expected!
Having only raced twice, I hadn’t experience the race day energy before this morning – when the collective energy of all racers combines to push you even harder than you though was possible.
But after today, I believe it.
The day began early – 4:30am to be exact. You see, the race started at 7:30, and it was 2 hours away. Smart planning, there, Janene. Thankfully, Ian is the most awesome dude ever, and not only agreed to drive me there, but claimed that he would love to support me! I know, I know – I’m a lucky gal.
We drove through some intense fog. And by that I mean that Ian drove through it while I mindlessly chomped on a banana and snoozed. As we got there, other participants were setting up their bikes/transitions areas – the race offered 5 and 10k races, as well as a sprint & olympic duathlons.
It was an exciting atmosphere, to be around all this nervous energy as the sun threatened to rise over the houses to the east. This was also the “biggest” race I’ve run, although by no means big at only about 120 racers for all 4 events. I picked up my packet and goodies, swigged some Gatorade and pulled on my shoes.
As we lined up at the start, I was chilly. Cold, really. But then the gun went off and I settled into a solid groove. As we passed the first mile marker, just as we entered a beautiful bike path, I realized that I ran the first mile in 9:59, and comfortably slow. Ordinarily, I would have thought “WHOA, too fast!” but for some reason, I thought “Hmm, this could be a good day!” I passed the second mile marker in another 9 minutes and 52 seconds, and it was then that I realized that I could serisouly shatter my 5k PR (3 ). So, naturally I pushed the next 1.1 miles, finishing the first half of my race in 31 and change.
Clearly, I deserved a walking break, so I took one, but resumed running fairly quickly and found another good but slower groove. On my way back down the bikepath, I saw quite afew beautiful birds flitting around the trees and bird feeders – cardinals, robins, chickadees, blue jays, and more. I even saw a bright red fox run across the path about 25 feet in front of me.
Before I knew it, it was mile 5, so I pushed it hard, and then I was turning the corner to run to the finish. Suprisingly, I ran the race almost entirely alone. There were quite a few people so far ahead of me that I couldn’t see them, but almost as many that far behind me.
I rounded the corner, and the spectators erupted in cheers as I let loose and ran as hard as I could across the finish line.
Let me tell you: that. Felt. GREAT! I couldn’t stop smiling as they handed me my medal. Ian headed over towards me and I just grinned and said “I DID SO GOOD, DIDN’T I?!”
Proudly announcing my 10k PR – 1:04:45 !!!
(That’s a 10:27 pace, for those of you who mathematically challenged… 😉