Today's race was about 5 months in the making. Sometime in November, I convinced my sister to train to run a 5k. Now, my sister has a long standing philosophy of "running only when chased" so running a 5k was a big goal. We started the day after Thanksgiving with a track workout where we ran the straightaways and walked the turns. I gave my sister a few starter workouts and then a training program and off she went. I think she just needed someone to believe that she could do it. Determination is not in short supply in Rote women, which she proved to me once again today.
I picked up my sister and my mom (going along as a spectator) and then headed down to Massillon for the race. My sister had lots of little questions like "what's in a race packet?" "How do I attach a race number?" "Will there be bathrooms?" Sometimes, I think I forget how common going to a race is for me.
We got there around an hour early for the race, picked up our race numbers and shirts. We got ready for the race, and then I had my mom take a pre-race photo. I then went for about a ten minute warmup.
As I got back, I went to the bathroom, then found my sister and listened to the pre-race talk, where it was confirmed that the run was an out and back. As quickly as that, the race started. I wished my sister luck and went to run at my own pace. Truth be told, I had thoughts of PRing at this race, but no such luck. I had a heavy workout week so I was pretty sure my legs weren't prepared for a fast race, despite all of the interval workouts I have been doing.
I created a playlist for this race and even put the songs in a particular order so I would know how the race was going without having to look at my watch. If I heard a song repeat, I would know I was having a bad race.
Well, a quarter mile into the race, the road turned, and there was a little hill that turned into another hill and then another. The first mile of this race was all uphill! What the $%$#? Seriously, I got to the first mile at about 9 minutes. Now, I know I am slow, but that was one tough mile. I made a turn and down a little hill we went, then ran a little ways and down another. The mental, are you f'ing kidding me, I didn't want to run back up them. The first mile killed me. As I started seeing people running towards me from the turn around, I started to notice that, despite my slow pace, there weren't that many people and definitely not many women ahead of me. The thought popped in my head, "Could I actually place at a running race?"
I hit the turn around at the bottom of a little hill by Tiger Stadium and worked my way through the second half of the course. As I made my way up the smaller hills, I scanned the oncoming runners to find my sister. I saw my sister about 5 or 6 minutes behind me. I gave her a little cheer and continued to focus on getting to the finish line. As I made it to the down hill, I started to realize that I was hurting. A couple of times, I thought about stopping, trying to slow down a bit, but I kept pushing through convincing myself that I could keep a faster pace.
I crossed the line with a watch time of 26:39, but a chip time of 26:42, not all that fast, but this was a tough course. I saw my mom, stood with her for a few minutes to recover then went out and jogged to find my sister. I jogged down the road and caught up with her with about a quarter mile left. She was definitely ready to be done, but she kept moving. I ran with her to the turn to the finish then yelled for her to "sprint it in!" and she did. She did her first 5k in 39:01, about a minute faster pace than any of her training runs. My mom was proud of her, and that was a great thing to see, not that my mom is rarely proud of her, but just seeing it on her face was a precious moment.
Out of 243 people, I was 73rd, my sister 189. I was the 20th overall female and.... 2nd in my age group!!!!
Some thoughts about this race:
1. I have a PR of a 5k of 24:48. Will I ever beat it?
2. I was definitely hurting during this race, but I think I could have gone faster. I don't know if it's mental focus or willingness to hurt that intensely for that long that prevents me from going faster.
3. It took me years to convince myself that I could run further than 2 miles, and my sister did it 5 months. She's a badass!
4. This race had 179 feet of elevation gain in 3.1 miles. That's a ton considering half of this race was down hill.
Now, I had some thoughts of PRing at this 5k today. I mean, I have been doing tons of speedwork over the last month, and I am getting faster, but after a long run Friday morning, I knew that my legs just didn't have it.