The week of the race wasn't ideal. Nick had to travel, the kids were sick, there wasn't much sleep to be had...blah blah blah. I even had trouble with a few of my easy runs. I run with a few people at work, and generally we run around 8:30 pace. Yes, I struggled running 8:30 pace for seven miles, which seemed like a bad omen, but I chose not to think about it...too much.
Because Nick was traveling, my parents invited me and the little ladies to stay with them Saturday night, which is really the only reason I was able to run the 5K (thank you mom and dad). I did my typical race morning routine. Coffee and toast with peanut butter and banana, but the race start was at 11:15. I prefer earlier races. The earlier the race, the less time I have to become overly nervous. And I was nervous. Partly because I didn't feel that great, and partly because I had told myself this was the last 5K for a while.
Around 10:00, my dad drove me down to Providence. We parked a mile away from the start and ran in. Even with running to the start, we were still 45 minutes early. If I hadn't been nervous, it would have been a lot of fun watching people. Tons of people were dressed up in all kinds of Christmas decor. Christmas music was playing. The atmosphere was cool. I did feel out of place though. I was in my typical race attire, while everyone else was in long sleeve shirts and running tights. I stuck out and received a few weird looks.
This race was awesome! They had a countdown clock, music, and a great announcer. I loved how everything was organized. Anyway, I lined up right at the front, which always makes me feel self conscious. The worst part of racing for me is waiting at the start. I feel so much better once the gun goes off.
According to the clock at the mile marker, I ran a 6:02. My Garmin didn't agree with the mile markers. I wonder if the Garmin was inaccurate due to being in the middle of the city? Either that or the mile markers weren't in the correct place. In any case, I had to believe the race mile marker. I was a little disappointed. I wanted to run 5:55 - 6:00 for that first mile. There were three women ahead of me, but not too far ahead.
I didn't feel any worse for mile 2, but the clock read 12:12, making that second mile 6:10. Now I was really irritated. I knew that I was going to need to run the third mile faster than the second mile to break 19 minutes, but I have never been able to do that.
I'm guessing you probably read Mary: Iron Matron, who recently wrote a post entitled "How bad do you want it." I'm not nearly as contemplative about such things, but I must have wanted it pretty bad because the clock at the three mile marker read 18:15, which means I ran a 6:03 third mile. I passed the third place female, and really fought with the second place female. She passed me in the final 100 meters. Not because I was slowing mind you. I was hauling, she was just faster.
I was the third place female, and my official time was 18:52. The other two women were only a few seconds ahead of me, which really made the race more exciting. I felt like I was running in college again. When we crossed the finish the race director grabbed us and gave us our loot right away! I was so excited. He said he didn't want us to have to wait around for an hour, which was great because I never wait around. We each received a $50 gift certificate to a local running store.
My goal going into the race was 18:40. Actually, let me rephrase that...going into the race I believed that if I had a good day I could run 18:30-18:40. I'm sure that sounds ridiculous, given that it has only been the last few weeks that I've run in the mid 19 range. I feel weird even writing it. But I've been getting faster. And how exactly am I getting faster? Eh, I don't know. I suspect it might partially be a mental thing. Last year I read another great post over at Mary: Iron Matron entitled "Kicking Some Ass." Again, I rarely contemplate why I run. I find it satisfying, so I keep doing it. But why? I don't know. And how am I suddenly dropping minutes off my time? Beats me, but maybe Mary is onto something...
Anyway, I'll post my training notes next time, but I'm such an odd runner I'm not sure how useful they'll be to anyone else.