That’s right, I had a race this weekend! I didn’t mention it because I was nervous about it and wasn’t even sure I would blog about it. The truth is, my running has been rather lackluster over the summer, and I haven’t run more than 4 miles at one time since my half-marathon (which was March 31). The heat of summer took all desire to run right out of me, and I used that as an excuse to slack off. Still, I’ve managed to run 2-3 times a week, even if it’s only 2 miles at a time, and I decided I needed to sign up for a race to get me back in the running groove. I picked the Knight Run 5k because it was at night, and I’ve never run a race at night, and one of my all-time favorite former professors was going to be playing in the band that provided the post-race entertainment. It was too good to pass up.
The race was scheduled to start at 6:30, so I got there around 6:00. Stephen and I debated bringing Charlotte out to the race, but since her bedtime is at 6:30, we didn’t want to risk a meltdown, so I went to the race solo. I checked in, got my shirt, took it to my car, realized I didn’t get gum (gum is a MUST for me when running), so then I went back to my car, got gum, then went to the bathroom. Good thing I got there early! I ended up running into a former student of mine from Union, and at first she didn’t recognize me because I was a lot heavier when I taught her. We chatted until time for the race to start, and I was so glad I ran into her so I didn’t have to stand around by myself. I was especially glad for the company given the fact that this race had a disproportionate amount of teenagers. This shouldn’t have surprised me since the race was a fundraiser for a private high school, but I still felt old. It was drizzling a bit before the race, and I kind of hoped it would continue because the rain had a cooling effect.
Once 6:30 came, everyone gathered around the starting line, and we were off! I let lots of racers pass me and try to settle into a good rhythm. Going into the race I hoped to get a PR, but I also told myself that it was highly unlikely given my sporadic, unfocused running of late. Instead, I wanted to focus on simply enjoying the experience. (Of course, this didn’t stop me from wearing my Garmin so I could obsessively monitor my pace, and it also didn’t stop me from setting the RunKeeper app goal pace at 10:30/mile.) It wasn’t 4 minutes into the race before I felt like I was struggling. The rain had died down at that point, and in its place was incredibly muggy weather. I had a hard time getting a good breath, so I slowed up a little. I eventually found my pace and focused on staying relatively consistent with it.
The race itself is kind of a blur. I checked my Garmin approximately 1,281 times, and my pace was all over the place in the first mile but then hovered around the 10:30-10:50 mile mark for a while. My hope for a PR remained, but even though the course was pretty flat, the entire run felt hard to me. I did a poor job of hydrating that day, so I was thirsty the whole time, and the only water station was before the end of the first mile. (I’ve never been to a race with only 1 water station!) I kept a running mental pep talk going, telling myself that I could stop to walk, but ONLY for 30 seconds. I did this at some point, and I think it really did help me pick up the pace after that.
There were no mile markers on the course, and I didn’t hear my Garmin alarm for any of the miles, so I wasn’t entirely sure if I was on track to beat my best 5k race time of 33:12. But as I looked down at my Garmin and saw 2.9 miles and saw the end of the course ahead, I had hope. I broke into an all out sprint, and I’m sure the older gentleman I passed mere feet from the finish didn’t appreciate it, but I could see the time clock, and I had to get past that finish line. I kept my eyes fixed on that clock, and I crossed the finish at 32:09, a new personal record! I beat my previous PR by over a minute! I was ecstatic.
The interesting thing about this race is that according to my Garmin, I only ran 3.02 miles. If you’ll recall, at my last 5k I ended up running MORE than a 5k (my Garmin said 3.37 miles), and this time I ended up running LESS. I’ve decided to put it out of my mind, though, because if I hadn’t had my Garmin, I would just assume that I had completed a full 5k.
I’m so happy I decided to run this race and so happy that after more than TWO YEARS, I finally have a new PR! I also placed third in my age group. Out of four runners. Ha.
|Smiling in victory|
Here’s my 5k playlist, for those interested. I didn’t make it through all the songs since my pessimistic self planned for 41 minutes of race time. 🙂
1. “Take My Hand” by Shawn McDonald
2. “Spotlight” by MUTEMATH
3. “Me Without You” by TobyMac
4. “Savannah” by Relient K
5. “God Is Enough” by Lecrae
6. “Eye On It” by TobyMac
7. “Hurts Like Heaven” by Coldplay
8. “Princess of China” by Coldplay
9. “Walking on Water” by Lecrae
10. “Lose Myself” by TobyMac
11. “Sahara” by Relient K