I’ll start a little backwards on this one because I think lately everyone can use a laugh.
After the race, I was standing around waiting for the awards with my boyfriend and a Twitter friend I finally met. Now I’ll preface by saying it was freezing outside today. The wind was cold and gusty, the mist from the falls was hitting us, and it was even snowing at points. Due to the weather, my hands were glued to the inside of my pockets of my jacket. I had my elbow and arm squished against my body holding my water bottle. As I take my first step, my left foot gets stuck under a tree root that’s sticking out of the ground and as I try to maneuver it out, I lose my balance and start falling forward. I can’t even get my hands out to brace myself and I completely face planted in front of probably 75 people who were standing around.
Even laying on the ground, my hands were still in my pockets and I had to try to get them out so I could pull myself up off the ground. I was so embarrassed, partially crying because I’m laughing so hard, but also partially crying because my nose broke my fall and that makes your eyes tear like nothing else. I made a mud mark with my face in the earth. I had mud and grass in my mouth, mud all over my Garmin, mud on my knees, mud up my sleeves, and of course caked all over my face.
I’m okay, I think — bruised ego, swollen nose, I don’t think I broke anything (though my Mom just told me that my nose is crooked and still swollen, so she thinks I broke it)! I make great first impressions, let me tell you.
Now that we’ve gotten the embarrassing moment out of the way, let’s talk racing.
It was cold today. I actually woke up around 6am to hard rain hitting the window and winds that made the house shake. Not exactly the way I’d like to run my first official 5K since August, especially aiming at a high school personal record. Thankfully by the time we got to the race it was relatively sunny, not raining (but we did get a little snow), and not as cold as it seemed to be last night.
James and I got to Goat Island and picked up our race things. I love the shirts for this one (don’t lie — everyone loves new racing shirts) and it fit perfectly. We did a short warm-up and stretched, but mostly stayed in the car until the last possible minutes. I saw a couple college cross country teams and immediately decided I was targeting the girls throughout the run. Since there wasn’t chip timing here, I made sure to wedge myself close to the front. We had a moment of silence to remember those affected from the events regarding the Boston Marathon and off the gun went.
The race was two loops around Goat Island, which basically runs all along the Niagara River. The race is dubbed Western New York’s most scenic 5k course and maybe it is, but I wouldn’t know because I wasn’t paying attention. I spotted a few of the girls running together from one of the colleges and decided I was going to be on their heels. I finished the first mile in 7:00, though they stationed the first mile marker somewhere at 1.1 which threw me off and I think everyone I noticed ahead of me that was wearing a watch. Actually, I think all their stop watches were off — according to the man standing there, I finished my first mile in 7:48. That’s a huge difference.
The second lap was tiring, but mentally felt great. When I hit the return point it was like, “Second lap already?” and I started looking at who I could pick off. I passed a couple people, they passed me, I caught up with a kid (literally, he couldn’t have been older than 15) and he saw me out of the corner of his eye try to pass him, so being the macho kid he was, he picked up the pace. I know exactly what he was thinking, “Let this girl beat me? No way!” He would speed up, then slow down and I’d catch him again. Repeat… until he was finally tired enough to let me pass him. I think I passed one last man in the final quarter mile, who gave me a high five as he crossed the finish saying, “Good job”. It always makes me feel good when people congratulate each other afterwards, like “Hey, I recognize you worked your ass off and passed me.” I love it.
I didn’t auto lap my splits so I couldn’t concentrate on that during the race. Looking back now:
Mile 1 – 7:00
Mile 2 – 7:17
Mile 3 – 7:09
.1 – :49 seconds
So close to breaking that record I set for myself back in high school (22:08). I finished today in 22:15. By the way, that’s a huge PR since my last official 5k (which was 24:xx). It’s also a PR since setting one in the first 5k out of the Shamrock Run 8k (which was 23:27).
I’m in a love/hate relationship with the 5k. For me, it’s the hardest race to run. It’s 3.1 miles of running pretty much in zone 5 of your heart rate and it’s exhausting. I think I have a mental block against breaking 22 minutes which I carried through all of high school. That’s it. My goal this summer is to break 22 minutes. No marathon (unless I win the NYC marathon lottery), just speed work, maintaining distance, and races fro 5k to 10k. I will be under 22 minutes before the start September.
James didn’t finish too far behind me, but I certainly wasn’t about to let him beat me. I do think I’ve got some work cut out for me if he keeps on running though. He was thinking he’d finish 24-25 minutes, but finished in under 24. I knew he would, but it was nice to be right in a good way. Knowing his competitiveness, I don’t think this is the last race he’ll be running… I might have created a running monster!
I took 2nd in my age group. It was 3rd but the first female overall (19:xx) was in my age group — the same girl who took my age group last year in a 5k that was only about 50 people and over an hour away from this one. Come on! That’s okay though, I got a nice medal to add to the collection and thankfully, all the mud was off my face when I accepted my little award.
Now to relax and enjoy the dirty 30 birthday weekend… I hear some gin & tonics calling my name (and probably having to hear the story over and over, and live with the jokes about walking tonight). Hey, I’m a runner. I never said I was good at walking!