This course is pretty nice for spectators for the most part.
My cheerleaders saw me off at the start...then walked over a block to see me at about the half mile point...then walked over another block to see me at 2.5...then walked back a block to see the finish. I knew from the day before the long straight stretch was going to be the worst part (other than the second little hill). It was SO NICE to have friends to chat with.
I was actually really glad there weren't split callers on the course. I knew we were ahead of pace, but I didn't know we hit mile one at 9:21 (I'm pretty sure that was my fastest mile up to that point in time.) I felt like I could run faster but at the same time I knew I didn't want to run off from my friends only to have them pass me later because I was walking! I don't remember anything we talked about, but it certainly kept my mind occupied which kept it from feeding me a line of negativity!
The course elevation profile shows some hills that I just didn't perceive. The only two I had any thoughts about were on Greene and on Williams. I was concentrating on those hills so intently, I didn't even realize we had passed mile two---split time of...are you ready for this....9:14 (new mid-race mile PR!!). We lost one gal somewhere between mile 2 and 2.5. The hill on Greene was shockingly easy (again). I had intended to slow down just a bit going up the hill on Williams but one of the gals I was running with kicked it in and I didn't want to lose her so I did too. When we got to the top she gleefully said, "I LOVE HILLS!!" Freak. (Yeah, I know...I've said the same thing...I'm a freak too! The difference is, she's much faster than I am....she's done a 50K, she should be faster...)
The down hill didn't feel as good as it usually does....I realize from looking at the Garmin data that's because I was running faster than I think I ever have for any length of time! We got to Cruse Alley and I remember thinking the finish was just around the corner somewhere, but I actually had some trouble at that point concentrating on how much further we had to go. One of the gals started speeding up and although I wanted to stay with her, I just didn't think I could. However, I do know I was still talking just a bit. I wasn't chatting it up, but I was making words. I had the thought that I really shouldn't be making words at that point in a 5K race.
Just after we rounded the last corner, I asked the 50k girl I was with if "that" was the finish....there was a banner hanging up, but I didn't know if that was my goal line or not. She said it was and asked me if I wanted to catch the other girl. I sort of breathed out "yes" in that higher pitched sound you make when you think "that's a good idea for you, but I don't know if that's going to work for me." I started having that sensation I seem to always have that the finish that the line seems to move away from me faster than I am moving toward it!! I started thinking I might throw up...and then I heard my daughter and my best friend cheering for me!!!! I decided I better not puke since they might be taking pictures.
I "knew" I had a kick no matter how drained I was feeling, and I knew I needed to turn it on because it was about to be over and I'd regret it if I didn't try....so with complete disregard for who I might be passing I did my best to sprint.... If you look at the data, it worked. At mile 2.98 I was at a 7:54 pace...mile 3.02-7:30...mile 3.07-6:52...and my final pace was 5:07!!! Amazing!! (Mile 3 split time was 8:52!!!!)
I was breathing hard, but about one minute after I crossed the finish line I was completely recovered. Final official time--28:45, 16/43 in my age group (the master's winner was in my group) and 233/636 over all). I think that's the very first race I've finished in the top half!!!!! Don't get me wrong--I'm OVERJOYED and very happy with the results...and, at the same time...I believe it wasn't the "best" I can do.
I talked to the coach who paced me in the Cookie Dash later and he said I should be able to chat and talk in a 5K. He said I should feel pushed close to my limit the whole time. So...I set a new goal. I want to break 25 by June. I'll need to incorporate hills and speed work into my training runs, but I believe it's completely doable. (By the way, breaking 25 would have put me in fourth place in my age group--third really since the master's winner was in my group.)
It was a great race. The whole process has opened my eyes to the realization that first of all--I'm getting much faster, and second of all--I am still holding back. God gave me an ability that I believe is a gift. No...I'm not saying I'm super fast, or anything like that. But, when I was doing the course run-through I saw a man in a wheelchair who had no legs. I thanked God for giving me the ability and desire to run. Like I said before, I don't want to run faster to prove anything to anyone. I just want what is seen on the outside to match what I believe on the inside. Yes, there is still a nag in my head, but I am stepping out in faith on the belief that she is a LIAR.
I really like what Eric Charette says:
I'm just an ordinary person with average abilities striving to do extraordinary things and through hard work, every day I get a little closer.
Thanks for stopping in, come again soon!
And, Merry Christmas!!!