Thursday, August 6, 2009

It's like Christmas!

Distance: 5K
Time: 25:16.5
Pace: 8:07
Minutes faster than previous PR: 1:12

Tonight I jingled all the way home from the Christmas in August 5K. Not only did I have a great time, but I completely destroyed my last PR - beating it by a minute and 12 seconds! How's that for a Christmas present!

One of the fun things about the race (that is, if you don't have an aversion to Christmas music) is how far the theme is pushed. In addition to Christmas-themed awards, decorations, and music, the race organizer dresses up as Santa (red running tank and shorts and a white beard) and starts off the race by counting "Ho, Ho-ho, Ho-ho-ho".

After the success of my last race, I decided that I would enjoy this run instead of being a slave to the stopwatch, so when Santa yelled Ho-ho-ho, I didn't start out too fast, and I watched as what seemed like 90% of the group surged past me. I'm glad that I didn't get too discouraged by that and try and go faster, because I probably would not have been able to handle anything faster. Instead I kept the pace steady and smiled and noticed what a beautiful day it was. It was in the mid 70s with hardly any humidity. I couldn't have asked for a better day!

We ran for a mile through some paved trails in a state park and then onto a road which went steeply uphill for half a mile. Then we turned around and followed the same way back. I talked to some people I was running alongside, and one of the volunteers, who I recognize from a lot of the races in this area, commented that it was great to see me smiling.

I looked at my watch for the last time with just under a mile to go. I was extremely tired and could not catch my breath, so I just tried to maintain my pace and stay strong. I passed a few people, and increased the speed a bit when I got to where I could see the finish. A high-school cross country runner just ahead of me had a coach waiting for her before the home stretch to help get her pace up for the final sprint, and I debated if I should try and keep up with them. My feet were burning and I didn't know how much energy I had left, so I increased my pace, but not to a sprint. Another girl came sprinting up behind me, and I wanted to try and race her, but I really didn't have it in me to push harder, and I knew why when I saw the clock up ahead showing over a minute faster than my PR. I didn't surge, but still finished strong, and I am so excited to have improved so much. I had been so frustrated with the plateau I had reached, but that's far behind now. And, as a nice bonus, I placed 2nd in my age group and got a jar of delicious home-made strawberry preserves.

Like the last race a week and a half ago, I didn't set my expectations too high, and I had a great time and really boosted my confidence. I didn't expect much, but I came home with a new PR and exceeded my goal pace for the end of the summer. It's just like Christmas!

P.S. Thanks again to the support staff for enduring the music!


chris mcpeake said...

A PR and free jam. Cant have a better day then that. .. way to go

Chic Runner said...

Dang, nice job! new pr is like christmas in August. That sounds like a fun race :) Great job again!