Sunday, July 26, 2009

Woohoo! New PR!!

Distance: 5K
Time: 26:29 or 26:30
Pace: 8:31

Did I say that I wasn't going for a PR during Saturday's race? Wasn't I unsure if the race would even be timed? I am so excited because I ran it, enjoyed it, didn't expect anything out of it, and ended up breaking my personal record by 7 or 8 seconds! I honestly was shocked, and you know what? It was the most fun I've ever had in a race. I felt good and just enjoyed it, and I guess that's the big secret.

On Friday night, my dedicated support staff and I scouted out the course. The starting line was at the base of a steep hill, which I thought did not bode well for the rest of the course. It turned out to be the worst hill, but not the only one. Once it peaked, the road sloped down, tuned into the center of town, and then up another hill to make a loop around some back roads. It then headed down the hill, back into town, and down a gradual slope to the turnaround point. After turning around, it was back up that slope, then it turned onto Fox Hill Road (note "Hill" in the name) and off that road about a quarter or half mile toward the finish line. I saw all of those hills and decided that if I was going to treat this like a fun run, I would not be attacking those hills with any kind of intensity. So I didn't. When the race started, a wave of runners surged past me up the initial hill, and I took my sweet old time. I let myself pick up speed on the descents, but I did not push myself to any real discomfort. I ran, smiled, and sometimes just closed my eyes and felt the motions. When I got to the turnaround point, I knew that I had an uphill slope almost the entire way back, so I walked through the water stop there to catch my breath. There weren't any mile markers, so I couldn't figure out my pacing, but I guessed that I would probably finish about 2 minutes slower than I usually do. When I began running after the brief walk break, I looked ahead at the people I had let pass and saw that they weren't that far ahead of me. It wouldn't take too much to catch up with some of them. I went easy on the way back up the slope but kept those people within sight, and I was neck and neck with one of them by the time we turned off of Fox Hill Road. I passed her and knew that I was close to the end and had enough energy left to push hard. I looked at my watch and saw that my time was something after 24 minutes. I might even be able to break the PR! I picked up the pace and looked ahead at how I would maneuver around the other runners. I passed several and came out to an open section where I was pretty isolated. Up ahead, the local school mascot was dancing around pointing at the finish line. I picked up the speed some more over a little incline and gave the mascot a big thumbs up, and then I let out the kick. I sprinted to the finish knowing that I was going to pass everyone in front of me and that finally, after 7 months of trying, I was going to break that PR. I had a little competition from one woman who started sprinting with me, but I knew I had enough power to push faster than her. (I do hope that isn't rude, but it just wouldn't feel right for me if I didn't surge like that at the end.) I crossed the finish line first and made my way through the chute. After a few seconds, I remembered to stop my watch, which read 26:32. Even that was ahead of my best time!

I handed in the tear-off slip from my race number and had another shock: when I asked where the water was, a volunteer said "We ran out." I was gasping for breath wanting nothing more than to drink some nice, cold, wet water, but there was nothing. I walked around thinking that maybe there was more water somewhere else. Nothing. Then, my beloved support staff emerged from the crowd with my Gatorade. (I know you're reading this, so, for the hundredth time, thank you soooo much -- not just for the Gatorade -- for coming to all of the races and being there for me! I don't expect it of you, but I do appreciate it so much.)

Unfortunately, there were no official times posted. We waited around for over an hour until the awards ceremony, but there were still no times for anyone except the winners, and I haven't been able to find anything posted online. So it was either 26:29 or 26:30. Either way, it was a really great run. I'm still excited about it!
*Edit: The official time was 26:28

1 comment:

Chic Runner said...

The best feeling is running a race, enjoying it AND PRing! Way to get all those accomplished!