Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another Christmas in August

Last Thursday I ran the Christmas in August 5k for the 3rd time. Last year, this was my race. I had just set a PR a week and a half before at the Frankford Foundation 5K, and then smashed that by over a minute at Christmas in August. This year I was not quite as amazing, but I have to admit that my time was not as shabby as it could have been. I ended up only one second behind the Frankford Foundation 5k time, making it one of my best race times, even though the weather was very hot and humid.

My dad came to cheer me on at this race. We were running a little behind schedule and got there to register with about 20 minutes before the race started. I had to laugh when they ran out of safety pins and handed me my number with duct tape to attach to my shirt. (I had contemplated bringing my own pins, but I thought I wouldn't need them!) It wasn't a problem, and once I had my number on, I went to warm up. Instead of jogging through the parking lot, I took a trail in the woods. It led to some picnic tables and barbecues for campers at the state park, and continued to a boat launch at the edge of the lake.

I felt tired just from jogging. I had only gotten about 2 or 3 hours of sleep the night before (a combination of being kept awake by my Yorkshire Terrier who has a pathological fear of thunderstorms, and then being awoken at 4:45 a.m. by my little sister coming home after being out all night). I had made sure to have lots of caffeine (and then extra water to re-hydrate) throughout the day, but maybe it wasn't enough to combat the tiredness caused by the heat. I sat on one of the benches and stretched and enjoyed how quiet it was in that little corner of the park. The sun glinting off of the lake and filtering down through the trees was calming, and I liked having that little bit of "me" time to keep me from getting too anxious about the race.

The race started with the usual "Ho, Ho Ho, Ho Ho Ho!" and we were off. I kept toward the back and tried not to start out too fast, but I also tried not to lock into too slow of a pace. I found a light, quick cadence that I felt I could sustain and went with it.

The course was mainly flat, but the mild inclines felt hard thanks to the heat and humidity. When I got to a water stop, I couldn't decide what part of my body to splash the water on - my face, the top of my head, my back? I splashed a little down my front and then dumped the rest down my back and kept going. I made it to the turn-around at 12:54 minutes.

I tried to keep up my pace in the second half but couldn't. I watched as a number of people passed me and tried to hold on and not slow down more. A woman in a yellow tank passed me with about 1/2 mile to go, and I tried to keep her in reach. She was about 75 meters in front of me when I started my kick, and I actually almost caught her. I ended up only 1 second behind her. Here we are coming in to the finish (I'm the one trying to look like a ninja with the black sweat band and sunglasses):

My final time was 26:29. I obviously slowed down a lot in the second half, which is something that I really need to work on. Overall, though, I'm happy with how I ran. I know that I don't run well in the heat, and I still managed to reach one of my best times.

Now, if I can beat the heat, I'm going to try and commit to a schedule. In about 6 weeks is a 5K at my former high school, and the week after that is a 5K in the town where I work. I would really like to be speedy for both of those races, and I'm thinking about setting a new PR at the second one, but I know that I have to put in a lot more effort than I have been lately.

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