I love running this 5K every year. The start is less than a quarter mile from my house, it’s a certified course, there’s a lot of runners around the same speed as I am, and it supports a scholarship for a student at the local high school. I was nervous about the race, more nervous than I should have been, but I was training well for the AC marathon, and thought a PR (and possibly a sub-20) could happen, so was putting unnecessary stress on myself. In the back of my mind I thought there was a chance to place overall too.
The opening ceremonies started promptly at 8 (the race at 8:30), so we woke up, took care of DD, had a good cup of coffee, and walked up to town for the ceremonies. The race is in memory of a high school student who died years ago. He was very active in the school and participated in both cross country and marching band, so the marching band takes the opening ceremonies very seriously. A very moving rendition of Amazing Grace was played, followed by the National Anthem, and then speeches were made by the student’s family. After that , there was about 15 minutes until the start, so I went for a nice warm-up run.
Fall had arrived the week before, so I was expecting a warm, but cooler-than-I-trained-in weather for the race. I wore a light jacket over a tank top and shorts for the walk up, and quickly removed the jacket- best part of having a stroller – holding all the extra clothes I always wear. I planned on a mile warm-up with some strides at the end. About halfway into the mile I was pouring with sweat. Apparently, it was an incredibly humid morning. I finished my planed warm-up, and got back to DH, who was running with DD in the stroller so I could race hard, gave them both a kiss and lined up towards the front of the crowd. Several hundred high school students run, and they all want to be on the line (and all sprint the start too fast anyway), so I lined up behind a majority of them (as do all the other non-students).
The starting gun sounded right on time, and all the kids not paying attention screamed and started sprinting. Happens every year and is quite funny. 😁 We took off up a slight incline and ran the straight shot to mile one – 6:26. Right on my target, but knowing the course, I knew mile 2 would be slower. Plus, I was hurting. The course is a triangle, mile 1 up one side (slight uphill), mile 2 wanders some, but is basically the hypotenuse and is more steeply uphill than mile 1, and mile 3 comes back down the other side to the point of the triangle and is a nice downhill, but a little steep in places (there is also a surprise uphill with half a mile left if you are not familiar with the course – DH was very distraught over this the first year he ran it).
There’s a U-turn at 1.25, and I just barely got to see DH and DD as we made the turn off the main street to start the hypotenuse, that was a nice distraction. I found myself as 5th female, but I wasn’t going to be able to change that. We started up the biggest incline and mile 2 clicked off at 6:31 – not bad for the uphill, but my legs were done, and I was overheating (I should have been in only a sports bra, which is how I prefer to run).
I reached the peak and made the turn for home. I cruised the downhill, but couldn’t pick up much speed, and the little uphill took any speed left out of my legs. Mile 3 passed by in 6:37. It’s an awesome slight downhill for the last quarter mile, so the sprint home always feels fast – the last 0.1 flew by at a 5:42 pace!
Based on chip time (20:22), I was 7th woman (crossed the line in 5th though), and first in my age group- so I snagged the best race prize ever – a cupcake from the local bakery!!
I am always on a quest to break 20 minutes – my unofficial (non-certified course PR is 20:12) and my previous best on a certified course was 20:31 – SOOOOOO, BRAND NEW SHINY CERTIFIED COURSE PR!!!! YAY! 😀 Maybe with cooler temperatures and less humidity with a little more 5k centered training that sub-20 will be mine! (working on it for a Turkey trot)