Happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend! My weekend was absolutely fantastic! It ended in some overwhelmed tears, but everything else that happened this weekend was better than I could have ever expected!
And it all started with my race Saturday morning. One of my favorite blog friends, Katie, is the co-chair for the Celebrate Fitness event that takes place at Washington University in St. Louis every year. About a month or so ago, she reached out to some local bloggers, myself included, asking us if we’d be interested in participating in the event. Um, turn down a chance to run a 5K? I was in!
I know most of you won’t believe me, but I actually haven’t been “training” for this race. I’m always training but right now, I don’t have a culminating race that I’m actually working toward. It’s the first year since I was pregnant with MacKenna that I’m not training for the GO! St. Louis half marathon, so I’m kind of excited that I’ve been able to keep my speed and not worry so much about the long runs that I hate so much.
Saturday morning was pretty gosh darn chilly. Warmer than my last race, but much colder than I expected it to be. 38 degrees, overcast, and slightly windy is not exactly ideal racing conditions, but it could have been much worse. I arrived at Wash U, was greeted by some adorable Girl Scouts, picked up my race packet, and headed out for my warmup. I try to get a good 10-minutes or so of easy running in before the race since I usually take about a mile to warmup. I actually went on my warmup run a little early, but thankfully, I could spend some of my time inside the athletic complex so I didn’t get too cold right before the race.
I headed to the start line on the track about 15 minutes before the race started to get a few more warmup exercises in. Katie explained the course was an out and back which went into Forest Park to about the Grand Basin and then we would turn around a come back. Easy peasy.
I started at the very front, not really worrying to much about who I was competing against because I only wanted to run a good time. This was not chip timed, so starting at the very front was key for me. I also did something I haven’t done in a very long time – I ran with my phone to time myself. I usually hate to hear my times because I end up obsessing over it, but I really wanted to run a good, smart race and I needed to hear those splits in order to know what I needed to do.
The front of the pack was me and about 5 other guys. We headed out of the track and toward Forest Park – all of which was completely downhill until we got to the park. I didn’t start conservative like I normally do, but still didn’t start out with a sprint. It was the first time in awhile I actually felt that I had a good start to a race, and to my surprise, I ran my first mile in 6:04. What the what?! My PR – that I set in high school – is 6:03. I know the downhill helped a lot, but I was really freaking surprised to hear that split pop up.
After the turn around point, the race got much harder. I was now running into the very cold wind, my hands were completely numb, and I was just ready to get done. I was able to pass the guy in front of me right before the 2nd mile, which was a great feeling since he had been quite a ways ahead of me the first half of the race. It made me hopefully that I was getting faster, but my 2-mile split told me otherwise: 6:26 for mile 2. A little slower, but I didn’t have the hill helping me out anymore.
I started doing some math in my head. I was right around 12:30 for my 2 mile time, which meant that I could run just under a 7-minute mile and be pretty gosh darn close to going sub-20 again. I really wanted it again and I was still feeling strong, but the last mile really got to me. It was long and it was entirely uphill until the last o.1. And it totally sucked. I couldn’t see anyone in front of me (the one person in front of me finished about 2 minutes before I did) and the multiple entrances to things kept psyching me out that it was my turn.
I finally reached the top of the hill, turned into the stadium and sprinted as much as I could (I’m still terrible at finishing fast) toward the finish. I could see the 19:xx and the seconds just ticking by. I was going to be so pissed if I finished in 20:01. Thankfully, I didn’t!
Official Time: 19:57
Average Pace: 6:26
It took me a minute to stop my GPS since I was still trying to recover, etc. after the race.
That time felt well-deserved. At no point in that race did I feel remotely comfortable. OK, maybe the downhill beginning, but it took me about 5 minutes after the race before I could actually talk normally again. Poor Katie had to talk to me at that point when I could barely breathe and my face and hands were completely numb. Pretty sure I had snot all over my face as well. (Hope I didn’t get any on you when I hugged you, Katie!)
I really loved this race! And not because I knew the race director – but she did do a really fabulous job! The course was simple but difficult at the same time. I would have loved to have a few more turns to liven things up a bit, but sometimes it’s nice to just have a simple race, and one that some people really could PR on, depending on how well you do hills. It definitely helped me realize that I need to be running a lot more hills and maybe a little less time on the treadmill.