Today I completed my second 5K of April: The 2013 United Way of Mahaska County Live United 5K
Spoiler Alert! New PR (personal record) I finished with an official chip time of 34:21! That is 1 minute and 25 seconds better than the Gene Van Wyk Memorial race (my last officially timed event)!!!!
Oh wait did I forget the best, absolutely freaking best part? Yeah I totally ran the WHOLE time, that is right folks, I am a runner, and I proved that by running consistently for 3.1 straight miles.
Once again I am love LOVE loving my GPS watch. Here I will breakdown my race a little more. The race started inside the William Penn athletic center, it is half basketball courts half football field, we lined up right before the turf started and ran to the exit of the building to enter the race course. This caused some minor complications, one being that there was no true way to figure out the starting point, and the organizers didn't do a great job of ensuring the serious runners were in the front and walkers in the back. I knew I needed to start in front of the stroller crew, but I tend to push to hard the first mile when I am hanging with the runners. Other issue is that my GPS watch was not getting any type of signal inside the building. ICK- I knew I needed it to be working to properly pace myself, and once it locked on signal I needed to push the start button so I could track my run, not something I was looking forward to doing mid stride. However it ended up working out pretty well. GPS signal locked on almost as soon as I exited the building and I was able to push start right away. I keep checking the watch for my pace throughout the first quarter mile and had to keep telling myself to slow down. I started close 6.3 miles per hour (less than 10 minute mile), I had only been comfortably training at 5.2 miles per hour. Once my stride finally evened out I ended up doing about 5.4 miles per hour (about an 11:06 minute mile) The miles were marked which honestly I think is so awesome at every race, sometimes I just need to focus on something to pass. However the first mile marker came up way to soon, my watch was telling me I had only gone .85 of a mile and the timer at the mark said I had done an 8:46 mile (which I would kill for) I knew he had to be in the wrong place. After the race I confirmed this with a couple of other runners who also mentioned it couldn't have been in the right spot.
The second mile included a detour to the stadium and a loop on the track, it was kind of nice to run on good track for a bit, especially because the next section of the race was on gravel. (Why do I keep picking races with gravel? Why do races in perfectly nice sized towns include gravel sections?) When I was exiting the track and starting on the gravel section, Chelsey, Amanda and both the boys were just coming off the bike trail and starting to turn toward the stadium so I was able to get a high five and wave from Charley. I ended up going a little slower on mile two, I had slowed to my training pace of 5.2 but it was really the only section of the race that was all flat. There was a water station right before the 2nd mile mark, I had been debating on weather I was going to stop and drink, run and drink, or walk and drink. I really didn't want to walk- it had been my goal for either this or the next race on Wednesday to run the whole thing. Have you ever tried to run and drink? It's rough I have done it in races before and they usually place a trash can just a couple paces past the water station. This wasn't the case and I didn't feel great about littering because there weren't really any cups already on the ground. So either the workers were doing a great job picking up, or everyone else was throwing them away while still at the table. That is what I attempted- I gulped what I could and dropped the cup, however this got me run into be a stroller, that runner had decided to keep going. With really no harm done to either of us we kept trucking. (Can I say an aside to all the parents out there who can put in a pretty fierce jog with a running stroller? You rock- I have no idea how you do it but you do). And also there is no motivation like getting passed by a stroller. Almost right after the water station was the 2 mile mark, at this point I had run farther in a race than I ever had before and it was getting hot, and my mind was like let's walk. But I told my mind to shut it. I just keep saying, I'm a runner, I'm a runner, I'm a runner. I started to barter with myself, you have to make it to the next street, you have to make it to the next volunteer blocking that road, you have to make it to the start of the bike trail. It worked I keep going, and I had picked up my pace a little as well. By the time I made it back to the bike trail I could see the W.P. building and knew I had to keep going, I just a little advantage of some slightly down hill portions of the trail and tried to continue to lengthen my stride and take advantage of the downhill momentum. My watch keep telling me it was working. When I was finally approaching the end of the bike trail you have a pretty steep hill you need to get up before entering the parking lots before the finish line. normally this is where I would have liked to start pushing it (with less than a 1/4 mile to go). But the hill wipe me out a bit, I kept like 5.7 clip up the hill but found it hard to really push the rest of the way. Also this is where the photographers were camped (someone look for my on Osky's website I'm sure I will be famous). With maybe only 200 feet left I got super dry mouth and wanted nothing more than water, couldn't have happened at a worse time, no one wants to look like they are dry heaving at the finish line. I swallowed some spit and tried to kick it into gear. The clock time was showing 34:?? As I passed so I knew right away I had beat my previous time.
When I later looked up my officially time it was 34:21 (YAY!) and I was 9th in my age division. Let me tell you my aged division always sucks, it is either 25-29 or 20-29 like the case was today. There are always real runners who do 5K's every weekend and run marathons in my division. So I top 10 finish might be the best I ever get- honestly it isn't going to get much easier when I finally move up to the 30-35 divisions. I was, and am still pretty happy with my 9th place finish, but later when I checked there were only 12 participants in my age group, and out of them I was the slowest of the runners in my age group, the next best time after me finished 21 minutes after me. But on the bright side- 1) I finished, 2) It was a PR 3) I ran the whole thing 4) it is still a top 9 finish 5) I was only 45 seconds from being 8th.