I went into this race hoping to PR. This was my goal race. The race I was determined to PR with. I have been training hard to get faster since January and was pleasantly surprised with my half marathon PR. I really felt confident that I could PR at the Ferguson Twilight Run.
However, I had a few elements to deal with. One, being the time of the race. A 6PM race was going to be tough. I’m used to running in the afternoon, but I was afraid that it being a weekend and not having a consistent routine would really throw me off. In addition to the time, I also had to worry about the heat. We’ve had a fairly cold winter and spring, so I haven’t had to worry about it being hot out nor have I really had a chance to acclimate to the warmer weather. And unfortunately, the weather at race time was supposed to be 85 and humid – not ideal racing conditions.
My goal was to PR. Run faster than 19:58. I ran that time in the fall on a fairly flat course in ideal racing conditions. I had another flat-ish course going for me, but I knew the time and temperature were going to be a factor. I really wanted to PR, but I kept it in the back of my head that this might not happen.
I was running with my brother again (can I tell you how much I LOVE having someone to run with?!) and we decided to do a little warm-up jog before the race on the last mile of the course. I’m so thankful that we were able to do that because the last part of a race for me is the last mile. It gets so mentally tough and I’m tired and just want to be done. Running the last mile really helps me so I know exactly how much farther I have to go.
We lined up at the very front since the fastest pace signs were 9 minute miles and faster (of course, I had a walker line up right next to me). I let the guys I knew who were faster than me get ahead, but otherwise we were directly at the starting line. Looking around at the start, I tried to check out my competition. Very few women lined up in the front and the ones I knew were going to be competitive with me were all running the 10K. So, I knew at least if I didn’t PR, I could win.
I’m in the center of the frame, on the right side of all the runners.
The first mile was actually the hardest of the race for me. For some reason, my hands decided to go numb as soon as we started. I don’t know if it was nerves or something else, but I didn’t get feeling back until we were half a mile in. Plus, the first mile had the biggest uphill, which was nothing compared to my normal route or GO! St. Louis. Brian was a few steps ahead of me until we hit the downhill and I was able to use that downhill to my advantage.
Mile 2 was flat and fast. For a smaller race, there were quite a few spectators along the course. Several spectators and volunteers kept me informed that I was indeed the first female. Brian kept me focused and helped me by telling me exactly where and which way we’d be turning. I was so happy that he was by my side, helping me get through the race.
By the time we hit the third mile, I was hurting and wanting to be done, as I expected. I was so happy that I knew that part of the course though. I knew exactly where to turn and exactly where I needed to start kicking it in. Brian also started to pull away from me and I let him. I was starting to get some side stitches from the heat (and dehydration) and my body just couldn’t hang with him anymore.
Rounding the last corner, I knew I had to start picking it up a bit. I had about 1/3 of a mile left and could see the finish line the whole straight away. Brian kept getting farther and farther ahead of me. I was trying really hard to stay with the guy in front of me, but I just couldn’t pass him. With about 0.1 left in the race, I could see the clock ticking by 19:58. I knew I wasn’t going to PR, but I knew that I could definitely shave some time off my last 5K time.
I crossed the finish line in 20:27 (official time) and was the first place overall female.
While it wasn’t a PR, it’s 30 seconds faster than the 5K I ran back in December. And honestly, that paces I have been training with weren’t for a sub-20 5K. They were for a sub-20:30 5K. My training worked! I pushed myself on every single workout, hitting my times, and listening to my body when I needed extra rest. And it totally paid off. It wasn’t a PR, but I couldn’t be happier with my performance and training.