Pre-race goals: About a week ago my goal was to hit 23:30 for the 5k. I think 7:30ish pace is totally doable for 3 miles. Unfortunately, after re-aggravating my ab, I didn't think that was a feasible goal unless I had zero pain on race day. New goal was to break 24 minutes.
Also, I assumed the race would be somewhat small, but by some miracle, they were actually giving awards for age group winners (very uncommon for 5k's around here that aren't 500+ participants). I REALLY wanted to place Top 3 in my age group. Looking at results for smaller races in this area this spring, I realized that if I ran the time I projected myself to run, I would've placed top 3 in those races.
Race day: I was all by my lonesome. My parents had prior commitments, and the boy was out of town for a softball tourney. I got to the race and started scanning the crowd for the big runners. Those familiar faces who I typically don't see because I'm stuck looking at their backside because they are beating me. :)
The weather was great. 75 degrees with just a little humidity, and a nice wind/breeze. Pretty shocking for a 10am start time.
The race wasn't chip-timed, so when they were gathering everyone to the start, I made my way towards the front. I didn't want to have 5-10 seconds added to my time just because I started towards the back. I figured this would be the point where the speedsters would show up. Still no familiar race faces. I did see one gal who looked like a strong runner, but she was clearly out of my 20-25 age group, so no threat to my Top 3 placing. Whoo! Also, there were a few gals directly behind me that looked in shape and could easily be wild cards and take my goal!
I ended up lining up right behind the 5-7 "serious runner boys" which was really odd to be up that close, but oh well. Also, I created the GREATEST playlist the morning of the race, and Miss iPod wouldn't even TURN ON when I was walking to the start line, so I had to ditch it. I've never done a race without music. YIKES!
The race started, and it didn't take long for the crowd to thin out. I stuck pretty tight with a group of 4 guys and we were off. The first mile felt awesome. I felt strong. I felt like my stride was long and that my turnover was quick. At this point, I knew I was the first girl (since I had lined up in front of all of them) and no one had passed me. I did not want to look over my shoulder, because I knew that would only mess with me mentally to see someone on my heels.
Mile 1 7:31
After the first mile, whenever I looked at the Garmin it really wasn't helping me at all. Because of the trees and probably the clouds, it was showing my pace as 10:30, which I knew wasn't right. I just tried to keep running strong. At the turn around point, the 4 guys I was running with grabbed water to chug, and I passed them. I struggle drinking water in 1/2s when running MUCH slower, no sense messing with it at this pace! At the turnaround, my time was right at 12:00. I knew I had to pick it up if I wanted 23:30, and could not fall off my pace if I wanted 24.
It was also at the turn around that I was able to get a look at where 2nd place chica was. I estimated that she was about 30 seconds behind me and was capable of a strong finish/kick. Don't ask how I evaluated that in the 1/2 second that I saw her--I think she had larger calves that just translated into STRENGTH and SPEED.
Unfortunately, about the halfway point was when the ab started to hurt. :( It was just a dull pain for the first quarter of a mile, but even at a dull intensity level it was still effecting my stride. I just kept looking at my watch telling myself to fight through the pain for x amount of minutes to the finish. The highlight of this mile was when some ladies who were walking the 5k started cheering for me on their "out" portion of the out and back path "Way to go girl. You're the first place girl!!" Even though I was struggling, I couldn't help but smile. BIG SMILE. :D
Mile 2 8:00 boo
The last mile was pretty much a struggle there was an older dude and a guy about my age near me. I passed the older guy and then set my sights on the other guy. Of course, it was about that time that he started to pull away from me, so I was all alone. No one behind, no one in front. I thought I was running a race? Where is everyone?!?
Coming to the finish line, I was shocked by the screaming and cheering. For such a small race, there was sure a ton of crowd support. Which was awesome.
Mile 3 7:58
.1 :31 (6:17 pace)
Total time: 24:02
As I was coming through the shoot, I heard the guy go first place 20-25 age group. The other guy corrected him, well yeah, she's the first girl to cross the line, she's first overall! Music to my ears.
Of course, I had to run (ok, I walked, quickly) to my phone to call Taylor and tell him my news. :) I was really bummed at this point that none of my family or friends were there to share this excitement with me. But it was really cool how many people came up to me after the race to say that they were trying to pace off of me (I was wearing an obnoxiously bright orange shirt, so that probably helped them). :)
After the race was over, they gave out awards. First place 20-25 women: someone else. What? Has that ever happened to any of you? Apparently the race organizers had planned to have age group winners and no overall winners, since the overall winner would obviously have won their age group, but the area running club that they had help them with the timing, etc. had thought the opposite. Since I was the overall winner for women, they gave the age group winner to someone else. Maybe that's really selfish of me to be bummed, but I am. She didn't win our age group. I beat her by a good minute and a half. :( Ok, rant over, but it's not like I'm going to win a whole lot of these in my life, so I'd like the hardware, thanks.
Also, because they hadn't planned on overall winners, they didn't have trophies/plaques for us. They assured us they would get them made and sent out before next weekend. Kind of got jipped for my first win, I'd say. :)
Of course, because I was so ridiculously excited, my stupid self forgot to stretch after the race, and I am SO SORE today. Seriously, you'd think I had run a 1/2 yesterday for how pained they are today. Oh well, they deserve a day off for a job well done.
I wish I had some stats to share about the race, but I can't find the results anywhere. It was a first annual run, and obviously, somewhat, unorganized so I'm not sure if they'll even post them anywhere. I'm hoping they'll be in the paper at least tomorrow so I can get some stats. :) I think only 10 dudes beat me, so I placed pretty high overall out of everyone also. I'm just so stinkin' proud and can't stop smiling.
If you haven't already, definitely scout for a small-ish race that gives out age group awards and train your little heart out for it. It's a pretty sweet feeling to walk home (or be delivered to your home in 5-7 business days) with a plaque/trophy/medal of your achievement. :)