Location: Mechanicsville, VA
Temperature: 55 degrees
Official Time: 22:04 (7:07 pace), 2:05 minute PR
Place in Age Group (25-29): 1/12
Place in Gender: 3/123
Overall Place: 23/234
As of Friday afternoon, this race was NOT on my schedule. Since I am currently in the middle of marathon training, it can be hard to fit in a 5K. But, due to the fact that a couple of my runs went over mileage earlier in the week, I only needed 5 miles on Saturday. I knew Earth Momma Mer was running a 5K and in the morning and I also knew the weather was going to be perfect for running fast. So, at 8 p.m. on Friday, I decided to race. The next morning, I woke up and headed over to the event to register, ran a one mile warmup and raced my tail off.
The Course: The mostly flat course started with a slight downhill into a residential neighborhood that I have been fortunate enough to run in before. I had a rough idea of what to expect, including the quarter mile climb back to the finish.
My Pace: My goal for this race was to run around 7:30 per mile for the duration of the race. I had run a 7:41 pace for 4.14 miles at Hood to Coast, on little sleep and food, so it seemed simple enough. Right around the one mile mark, I glimpsed down at my watch and saw that I was at a 7:10 pace and that there were only 3 or 4 women ahead of me. At that point I decided that instead of watching the clock, I would listen to my body. If I felt like I could push it, I would. If I needed to back off, I'd do that. As long as no one with a ponytail passed me, it was all good.
The strategy worked. I hit my goal and I didn't check my watch until the finish.
My Placing: 3rd woman overall. 1st in the 25-29 age group. Pretty much the coolest thing ever.
The Outfit: I have to admit that when I got to the start in my new Lululemon skirt and purple SwiftSocks, the other people at the front of the pack looked at me like, "This is a joke, right? She can't possibly run fast enough to be standing with us." (Note the dude in the orange cap giving us the crazy eyes)
It was either that, or they were jealous of "The Quads." Not really sure, but either way, I think I proved that fashion and speed are not mutually exclusive.
My Finishing Kick: When I turned the corner into the finishing chute, I could see that the clock still read, 21:xx. A sub-22 was within my grasp, I kicked it into overdrive and my last .1 was at a 5:36 pace. That is just insane.
The Weather: 55 degrees. Overcast. Light winds. A runner's heaven.
Tired Legs: Since I didn't decide to run this race until 8 p.m. the night before, I hadn't had a rest day in the 5 days prior. And I was just 24 hours off a quick 9 miler. I had run 34 miles in the four days. I have to wonder if fresh legs would have made a difference between 22:04 and sub-22.
Let's be honest, there was no ugly.