I have a list of excuses as to why I didn't do my very best on the Running of the Bulls 5K...but they don't matter. What matters is that I didn't make my goal. I wanted negative splits. I decided the day before the race I wanted to run the first mile in 11, second in 10 and third in 9...and sprint in the last tenth of a mile at top speed. Well...after I did a fast-for-me warm up at just under an 11:00 pace, I thought I was doing pretty good. It felt "slow enough" for the first mile....but the problem was, when the starting siren went off, I started off at about an 8:30-8:45 pace. It didn't feel that fast, but my trusty Garmin virtual partner was telling me it was much faster than the 11:00 pace I was racing against. I kept telling myself to slow down...but when I hit mile one at 10:00 I "knew" I was in trouble.
There were a lot of people passing me. I'm sure there were people that I passed, although it felt like I was just getting left further and further behind....by old ladies and five year olds alike. In mile two I decided to try to hang on to the 10:00 pace I ran mile one in, BUT, my mouth got so stinking dry. I am very used to running with a hand help mouth-wetter. I know the water you drink on short runs doesn't do anything for thirst or dehydration, but it does wet your mouth. It's become sort of a crutch for me I guess. ...A crutch I decided not to take with me.
At mile 1.5 we ran around a parking lot to head back. Here's where I made yet another mistake. I didn't drink any water. Now, I'm saying it was a mistake because my mouth was just so darn dry. Maybe having some water would have helped. Probably not if I'm being honest. Again, water you take in on short runs doesn't hydrate your body, so I was probably right not to drink it because then it would have been sloshing around in my stomach (I really dislike that sound, and even more than that, I really dislike the feeling). But, if I had stopped and had some water I might not have made the next mistake....
When I got to mile 2 at 10:22, I had a terrible side stitch. I "never" get those. I really think it was from being just a little dehydrated. Note to self--make sure I'm drinking enough water. At that point I felt like I'd just blown it. I "knew" there was no way I could hang on to that pace for another mile, and there was certainly no way I could get faster. About that time someone I knew caught up with me and told me they were "bonking" (against the wall). We comiserated for a minute, but that person pealed off to walk. I felt really good because I kept running at that point.
And then, the stretch of greenway I had been dreading the whole time was there--it's a "long" straight stretch. On the way out it doesn't seem very bad, but on the way back it's just "brutal". I was basically all alone...okay, I FELT alone, other than a really smelly teenage boy wearing headphones who kept playing leap-frog with me--he'd RUN up ahead of me and then would walk until I passed by him, then he'd RUN up ahead of me again. Did I mention he smelled REALLY bad?
I hate to admit it, but I'm going to anyway....I WALKED. I told myself I would allow 60 seconds of pity-party if I would just run the rest of the way.....and I'd love to say I did, but I didn't. I got almost to the end (like a quarter mile to go) and I walked again for about 30 seconds. After that point I turned up the heat, surged up the last little incline, and then sprinted for all I was worth to the finish.
Although I did set a new PR (32:46 official time), and my final sprint pace coming in was in the 6:30 range....the very fact that I allowed myself to walk AT ALL is just killing me. Why on Earth couldn't I just keep running??? Negative splits aside, I should have been able to keep running. There was NO reason to walk. I simply did not leave all I had out on the course. It was not my best effort. I'm very disappointed in myself. I WILL DO BETTER in the future. Period.
What a beautiful day for a race! I decided, as a goal to shoot for, to try for negative splits. I didn't want to set the bar so high I couldn't make it, but I didn't want to sell myself short either. I really had no idea what kind of goal to set, so I decided since the time I had set on that course a few days before was just over 33:00, anything better than that would be good. At the same time, since that was a training run and this was a race, I wanted to do significantly better. I set a goal of running 11:00, 10:00 and 9:00 splits. I've never run a 9:00 mile, but, I have run pretty fast sprints so I was hoping the race atmosphere would pull me along.
I also decided to warm up in my trainers, and then change into my Newtons to race. 1.5 miles is the longest I've ever run in them, but I feel fast with them on, so I decided I'd try to put my best shoe forward hoping to help my time as much as I could.
When I started warming up, I realized I was going much faster than I usually do and it felt GREAT. I was so proud of myself for doing a full 1.3 mile warm up! I changed shoes and got ready to race. My husband and daughter showed up JUST before the start. It was so good to see them before taking off. It was also really great to see so many good running friends out there. I was in the process of telling one good friend my goal--sort of the "make it public without fear" kind of thing that I don't do very well--when the siren went off.
I felt like a race horse--at the sound of the siren, I took off. I knew I was going too fast, but at the same time with everyone passing me I felt like I was standing still. My Garmin virtual partner was panting in my rear-view as I was leaving him behind. I kept telling myself I had to slow down but it didn't seem to be having any affect on my feet!! When I got to one mile in 10 minutes, although I felt good, I was very worried about being able to keep that pace up the whole time.
I started talking to people who were on the greenway walking (not racers, but just people who were out for their morning stroll). I love talking to people when I run. I love by-standers and on-lookers. I can get energy just chatting it up!! That was one bad thing about this race--there was no place for "fans". It was all just racers (and an occasional Saturday morning walker). I'm sure I did pass some people, but I was oblivious to anyone passing or being passed. I just tried to focus on me.
When I got to the 1/2 point I knew negative splits weren't going to happen. I had a terrible side stitch and my mouth was like cotton. After seeing a good friend start walking, I decided to get over my pride and just walk for a minute...which I did. When I started back up I had the chance to chat with another lady who had started walking. I encouraged her to just keep running slowly up to the next light pole with me. She was just as grateful as I was to have someone to run alongside of. We talked for a bit about starting out too fast and the course and the kids who were out there. Her husband came up and was saying how most people don't allow themselves to get into a comfortable rhythm. I tried to take that to heart and just run without thinking about time.
And then I realized the last little incline was coming up...and I walked again for about 15 seconds or so...maybe 30?? I rounded the corner and SAW MY HUSBAND AND DAUGHTER!!! I was so happy to see them right before the little incline that leads to the finish. That gave me such a HUGE boost. I surged up the hill and ran with all my might to the finish line for a NEW PR of 32:4(something)!!
Some good friends were cheering for me which made it all the better. I was able to get some water and cheer in some other good friends. How blessed I am to have made so many good relationships from running!!
ONE MILE FUN RUN
After the 5K was finished...I ran the one mile fun run. I had originally wanted to just run all out as fast as I could go.....but quickly realized that "race" is not a race at all---it's a fun run, mainly for kids. I'd like to say I was holding way back, but I wasn't. I just RAN. Toward the end there was this little boy, maybe 4 or 5 years old who was up in front of me. He would RUN as hard as he could and then walk until I got close, then he'd take off again. At one point he started walking and he fell behind me. I told him he couldn't let me pass him because he was my "pacer"and that I needed him to stay in front of me. I slowed down just a bit and he sped up. I told him I wanted him to run right with me the rest of the way, until we got close to the finish and then when I told him to, I wanted him to run as fast as he could...and he did!! I'm not going to lie, the thought crossed my mind many times that I really wanted to beat him...but I don't know that I could have even if I had made my mind up to try it. The kid was FAST! I ended up running the whole thing in 9:45--with him just in front of me.
Not bad considering I had already run 4.5 miles before, and considering that's my fastest full mile to date and considering I was already starting to tighten up after the 5k.
What that one mile run told me is that a 9:00 goal for the final mile of my 5K was just a bit unrealistic after all!
Sorry for the long post, but it's hard to tell both sides of a story with a short version!!
I think if I could stop being so hard on myself, but at the same time PUSH myself to keep going even when I don't feel like it, I'd be a MUCH happier, and better, runner.
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!