First, thank you so much for all of your comments on yesterday's post.
I had a terrible sleep Friday night, awake for hours and restless once I did fall asleep (this is extremely rare for me). I had gotten myself pretty worked up over this race; it's amazing that a 5K can still get to me so much. I was still a bundle of nerves on Saturday morning.
It was overcast when we got up, and pouring rain by the time we got to the race site. There were tons of people milling about, many taking shelter under umbrellas or sponsor tents. The event had a record number of participants this year, selling out the 1K (kids), 3K and 5K for the first time since its inception in 2002. Rebecca Run has raised more than $1.4 million for Spinal Muscular Atrophy in its eight years. It definitely felt good to support the cause and see the entire community come together.
We met up with my Mom and sister who were walking the 5K and got to chat with many people from my clinic who were running, volunteering or spectating.
I went for a short warm-up jog shortly before the race start (didn't take long to get soaked once I ditched the umbrella) and it started thundering and lightening before I had finished. The storm didn't last, but the rain did.
Soon enough we lined up at the start and positioned ourselves close to the front (with only about 200 participants in the 5K, we knew we would be running towards the front of the pack). I was anxious to get going and relieved when the whistle finally blew.
As I mentioned before, my wonderful hubby had agreed to set his own goals aside to help pace me. I was only ever able to nail my intervals with him by my side, so I knew this would give me my best shot at sub-23:00. I didn't have to think or look at my watch - just run and hold on for dear life!
And we were off! Within the first kilometre I was wondering what I had gotten myself in to and seriously doubted if I'd be able to reach my goal. I'm a long distance runner! Why am I doing this to myself? It was hard running that fast! I did my best to push the negative self-talk out of my head and just run. I had run this pace in training a few times, but always got that 500m recovery jog after a fast 1000. Hmmm, it's a lot harder when you don't get a break.
The route followed paved park trails with some sections on gravel and boardwalk (SLIPPERY WHEN WET). We had to really watch the footing as we splashed through puddles and navigated our way around the twists and turns of the park. We were absolutely drenched in the pouring rain, but it was actually pretty refreshing. (It stopped at some point during the race, but I didn't realize until we were done. Talk about in the zone.)
I snapped this pic after the race of one of the bridges we crossed:
KM1: 4:17 ... Oops, way too fast! Damn, this is hard. [This was my fault. I may have bolted ahead of my pacer.]
KM2: 4:34 ... That's more like it. But still hard. VERY hard. Huffing and puffing and panting and wanting to quit - already!
KM3: 4:41 ... Oops, too slow. We had to run run right past the finish line. Brutal! I wanted to be done sooo badly.
KM4: 4:19 ... Where did THAT come from?! HURTING!
KM5: 4:45 ... Fading, fading... hang on! Hang on! Somehow I found a kick for the finish. It helped when I saw the clock!
chip time: 22:36 (22:40 official)
average pace: 4:31/KM
overall place: 15/295
gender place: 1/190
I could have cried. I was so excited, shocked and relieved to have finished and reached (killed!) my goal. My personal pace bunny was a huge help and led the way, but I know my own legs carried me there.
Funny thing is, I had NO idea that I was the first woman! I was thrilled and thought I had a good shot at first in my age group, but first overall?! Hubby checked the results while I watched for my Mom and sister to finish and once he told me, I had to go see for myself.
Here are a couple of pics from right after the race, one with hubby and one with some of the others in my clinic.
They had some awesome post-race grub and we chowed down on hot dogs, fruit, cookies and chocolate milk (why doesn't every race have chocolate milk??) while we waited for the awards. I was called up first, and I don't think I will ever forget those words: "With a winning time of 22:40, from Newmarket... Marlene Sykes!" I won a medal and a $75 Running Room gift card. Pretty cool! Hubby placed second in his age group, so he got a medal as well.
By the time I got home, I already had an email from my clinic instructor congratulating me and asking me if I realized that this was good news and bad news. The good news was obvious. I would find out the "bad" news the next morning (today) when we met for our long run. He put his arm around me and said, "I look forward to having you run beside me on Thursdays." In other words, I'm being bumped to a faster pace group for our speed workouts! If I can pull off a 22:36, apparently I'm not working hard enough on Thursdays.
I felt good for the first half of our 25K (15.5mi) run this morning, but started to feel the soreness and fatigue towards the end. I slowly drifted further and further behind my group until my pace group leader looped back to retrieve me. I was dragging! I was definitely happy when we finished. Surprisingly, the pace wasn't too far off what I usually target on Sundays: 6:08/KM = 9:52/mi.
I'm definitely taking tomorrow off!
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