No matter how many races I run (this was #29), I learned something every time. Thatâ€™s one of my favorite things about racing. Every race is unique.
In case you were wonderingâ€¦ bib #13 is unlucky. Very unlucky. I almost wish I could blame this lackluster race on my own training because the results would be easier to acceptâ€¦ instead, the issue was that the course was poorly marked and myself and about 10 other runners (including Anne) ended up getting LOST!
But today was still fun, and I finished in a good time. All races are good races because Iâ€™m RUNNING!
Letâ€™s start from the beginningâ€¦
Woke up around 6:05, showered (yes, I shower before races!), and grabbed a light breakfast. I had a piece of PB toast with 1/2 a banana:
The Husband, my BFF Sarah, and her Husband TK accompanied us to the race. It was nice to have fans!
Anne and I had picked up our bib numbers and shirts the night before, so all we had to do was pick up our chips.
The race was very small â€“ under 150 runners â€“ and chip pick-up was a breeze.
Then it was time to line up at the start!
The race benefited the military support group Operation Freedom so a Vietnam veteran, who was a POW for 7 years, gave an inspiring and funny speech before the start.
The color guards:
Readyâ€¦ setâ€¦ GO!
I took off like a bat outta you-know-where. It was a completely unmaintainable pace, but I knew I needed to create as big as a deficit as I could at the beginning of the race because NO MATTER WHAT, I was going to slow significantly by the third mile. I was running for a sub 23:46 race, so I tried to maintain a 7:00-mile for the first lap around the lake. I actually hit 5:30 at one point!
It was HARD. My stomach was in knots!
I wrapped up Mile 1.0 in 7:16 and was feeling really good when I turned the corner.
Anne was right behind me!
I tried to hold onto my lead as much as possible as I approached the halfway part. My stomach was churning from nerves, excitement, and the breakneck pace, but I just kept running. I could feel myself beginning to slow down a bit as I came up to the water station.
I grabbed a drink and pulled into the grass to walk while I chugged. Then, I took back off! I came up on Mile 2.0 at 8:03 and was pleased.
After Mile 2, the course doubled back and began to go back through the park, but on a different route. Anne came up behind me and urged me to keep going. She yelled, â€œHANG ON!!!â€ and sprinted past me.
Thatâ€™s when it happenedâ€¦
Although the course was well-marked up to this point, there was a fork in the trail around Mile 2.5. The right turn took you over a bridge and back to the lake (where the finish line was). There was no volunteer or cone at the intersection, and a bunch of the runners in front of me (the lead pack) took the right turn. I had looked at the course map briefly online and a little voice in me screamed, â€œThis isnâ€™t the right way!!â€ But I began to doubt myself and followed the group. Right when I got over the bridge, I knew we had made a wrong turn.
All the energy left me immediately. I stood completely still on my bridge for at least 10 seconds (no one was with me) trying to figure out what to do. I decided to just continue around the lake because my chances of PRing were already shot.
Thatâ€™s when the lead pack figured out they were also going the wrong way. It was SO sad to watch! Everyone who had been doing so well had to turn around! 🙁
Anne crossed the finish line right before me.
And then I came inâ€¦ a lot slower than I wouldâ€™ve otherwise. I just didnâ€™t have it in me to sprint when I knew I was crossing the line 0.1 miles early.
BUTâ€¦ I KEPT RUNNING! I was determined to finish the entire 3.1 miles. I hit Mile 3.0 at 8:41 pace and finished the race on my Garmin at 24:56 or so.
It was disappointing, butâ€¦ like I said, you learn something from every race. Todayâ€™s lesson: STUDY THE COURSE MAP because the course might not be properly marked or staffed. I should know the route like the back of my hand, just in case!
And actually, Anne and I ended up running another two slow miles after we finished to round it up to an even 5.0 miles. I love other long distance runners who understand the need to squeeze in mileage on the weekends. 🙂
Post-race, we grabbed Starbucks. The first PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE of the season makes it all better!
And breakfast #2: berries, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt.
Now weâ€™re all blogging and watching college football. Wahoo!
And you know what?
Iâ€™m going to redeem myself by signing up for another 5K that takes place NEXT Saturday. I WILL be studying the course map and setting a new PR. Go big or go home!