On Saturday, I ran the Girls Just Want to Have Fun 5K. I ran this race two years ago, but missed last year's race because I was in North Carolina helping our son move. Originally, I had a couple of goals for this race - one was to run the entire way with no walking breaks, and the other was to finish in under 40 minutes. But then, I had that anxiety attack during a run two weeks ago, and I pretty much threw all goals out the window and decided to just try and enjoy the run and not let any additional pressure (put on by myself) get to me.
However, it turned out that I could not let it go...so I decided to go ahead and try. I set the slow-pace alert on my Garmin to 12:50 - I knew I could handle that since I just did a race-pace run of three miles on Monday, and that ended up being my average time. CC, who has been coaching me quite extensively for the last month, offered to meet Julia and I at the two mile marker and pace us in. We were all set. I dressed in all black, ninja-style, to make me run faster. I was pumped up by all of the encouragement from my running buddies, and was ready to do this. And surprisingly, I wasn't that nervous at the start, which was a nice change.
The race began and we were immediately behind walkers, so there was some artful dodging done to get around them. We expected that for this race, because it attracts large groups of friends, and we probably should have moved up closer in the corral to start, but we weren't paying enough attention to the time, and suddenly the race had started!
Starting out - I'm doing my standard two-handed wave to Jeff as we went by him. (click on any picture to enlarge)
The slow-pace alert on my Garmin sounded about three times in the first quarter mile, but that was something we anticipated, as we were in a pretty congested group, plus we had to go around a traffic circle. After that, we ran steady, not talking, just trying to keep our breathing calm. We hit the first mile marker just as we crested a small hill - at this point, we were on familiar territory as this part of our normal Saturday route. We turned the corner and and as we headed toward our park, we saw a group of spectators and I realized that my former trainer, Brad, was there with his family! I started running when I was training with him, so that was a pretty cool moment - I liked that he could see that 5 1/2 years later, I was still running. We also saw Dan, former owner of the running store, sitting with Brad. Julia ran over to give him a hug, but I said "I'm on pace - come to me!" and he did, so I got a running hug. A minute later, we were at the park and our friend Andi was there to cheer us on! I don't think it's any coincidence that mile two was our fastest mile, with support like that.
We saw CC as we were coming up on the two mile marker. The plan was for her to keep us on pace - she had her phone in hand and was keeping watch on the time as she ran. She was calling out encouraging stuff, but this was the toughest part - there is a bit of an uphill (that we run just about every Saturday, so I'm used to it, but it was hard to hit after more than two miles at a faster-than-normal pace). My slow-pace alert was going off constantly. I knew that we had banked some time, but as that last mile got longer and longer, I thought that surely we'd burned through it. We finally neared the finish area, and saw Jeff and Loretta standing at about the 2.75 mile mark. They were yelling for us to GO GO GO and we tried to pick up the pace - we still had over a quarter mile left. CC was yelling "you can do this, now RUN!" and run we did:
Coming in for the finish - you can see CC on the left, in the gray shirt. She was yelling at me to "run it in!"
Why is that last tenth of a mile soooo long??
3.1 and done!
We turned toward the finish arch and the announcer said "you're going to finish in under 40!" and I high-fived him as I ran by. As it turned out, #OSTB was a success - we did it!!
Finish time: 38:33
Average pace: 12:29
Mile 1: 12:28
Mile 2: 12:25
Mile 3: 12:43
I can't believe it - after trying and failing so many times, I finally broke 40 minutes for a 5K! I didn't have an anxiety attack while on the race course, and I ran the entire way. With the support of Jeff and a lot of my running friends - Julia, CC, Loretta, Cary, and Andi, I finally, FINALLY, beat my nemesis - me.
Julia and I
CC and I. We realized something funny as we were taking this picture - this is the second race that she's run with me (although this one was only the last mile, unlike the Houston Half, where she ran the entire race), and she's sort-of been a bandit at both of them. She had a bib at Houston, but it wasn't in her name. And this race, well, we're calling her my "pacer"...but I think we need to get her an official "Bandit" running shirt!
Julia, me, Loretta and CC - my crew!
All runners were given a rose at the finish line, and water and Gatorade was served in plastic champagne flutes. Fancy! They also had several chocolate fountains with fruit and cookies for dipping, but I didn't feel like having any of that since we were headed to Blue Baker. As you can see by the pictures, the weather was beautiful - it was 52 degrees when the race started, and except for a bit of wind, it was perfect. The race organizers did a great job with everything, from ease of parking, to having lots of men wearing tuxedo t-shirts directing us on the course, to a nice spread of food at the end. It was an aptly-named race - we did, in fact, have fun!
An under-40-minute running ninja!