A week ago today, Meg Menzies was out on a run when she was hit by a drunk driver and killed. On Saturday, I joined thousands runners and racers in honor of Meg’s life and to help raise awareness of drunk driving, texting and driving, and the overall safety of runners and cyclists everywhere. I thought of Meg every step of my race, and was thankful to be able to race another race on Saturday morning. You can read more about Meg and all the miles run in her honor here.
The Creve Coeur 6K was another race of the Winter Park Race Series. I ran the Reindeer Run 5K a month ago and wanted to run at least one more race as part of the series. In hindsight, I sort of wish I would have registered and raced the entire series since I’m pretty sure I would have won my age group (maybe not since the girl who has beat me in both races is also in my age group), but I’m happy that I’ve at least gotten to race a few of these races.
As I walked out the door Saturday morning, I didn’t feel like it was too cold, but made sure I packed my mittens and an extra hat and earmuffs just in case. I am so thankful I did because it was absolutely frigid at the race. Being at a lake with very little blocking the wind, it was about 10 degrees colder with 20 mph wind gusts. I spent most of my time waiting for the race to start in mine or my friend Michelle’s car just trying to stay warm. Thankfully, that also meant they started us pretty quickly since we were all freezing.
My plan was to start with Michelle and possibly stay with her for a little while. I had absolutely no expectations since it was a new race distance, so I figured I’d just run like I do any other race. But I thought maybe Michelle would start off a little faster than I normally do since right now that is my weakness with my racing. However, about 200 yards into the race, I went ahead of her and just kept on going. I passed quite a few people right at the beginning until I found a pace that was comfortably hard for me and that I felt I could keep up for 3.73 miles.
Before I even finished my first mile, I already knew there was no way I was going to win. I thought there were 2 girls in front of me (there might have been) and they were just too far ahead of me that I knew unless they slowed down or I picked up my speed significantly, there was absolutely no way I was going to catch them.
So, my goal was just to run as fast as I could. I really had no idea of a time for a 6K since it was a brand new distance, but in the back of my mind, I was hoping I could run it in under 25 minutes. I like having some sort of time goal, even if it’s just a few seconds faster than my last race, because it’s something to work for instead of just finishing or finishing in first. I wanted to run strong, and I felt pretty darn good the entire race, despite having a sinus infection all week long. (I feel soooo much better, but still sound pretty awful.)
I spent pretty much the whole race by myself. No one passed me and I didn’t pass anyone. There were no spectators. All I could hear was the breathing and footsteps of the kid not far behind me. It was lonely. It was mentally tough. I thought about Meg. I though about my form. I thought about how my toes and fingers were completely numb. I thought about the finish line. I thought about Meg some more. I felt good but I was ready to be finished. You are able to see the finish the last mile and a half of the race, making it just that much harder. I tried to pick up my pace just a little bit because I wanted to finish strong. And amazingly, I was actually able to pick up my pace into the finish line – something I haven’t been able to do in a long time.
Official Time – 24:38
1st in Age Group
2nd Overall Female
Like I said, I really thought there were 2 girls in front of me, but either there was a guy wearing a bright pink hoodie (possible) or one of them dropped out before the finish (also possible). I was surprised to see the 2nd place finish, but the fact that the same girl beat me again by 2 minutes really killed my spirit.
I feel like this series is extremely competitive. With it being in the cold winter months, only the real “hardcore” runners have been at these races, making it a lot more competitive. There have been a lot of high school runners at these races as well and I’ve enjoyed the challenge these races have provided me. I won’t lie though: I’m kind of hating the fact that I’m not winning these races. Not that I win every race I run, but I’ve been on such a winning streak lately that I’m absolutely hating being beaten.
The girl who beat me averaged 6:00/mile; I average 6:36/mile. I have a lot of work to do, but someday, I will be that fast. I will break 19:45 and maybe even 19:30. A dream of mine would be to even run a sub-19 5K, but I think I missed my chance by not running in high school or college. Who knows though. But I can tell you that I am more motivated than ever, not only to be a better, faster runner, but to be thankful for every single run, regardless of wins or losses, or how good or bad the run is.