Race: Race For The Roses – 5K, 10K, Half Marathon
Distance Ran: 5K (3.11 miles, but Garmin said 3.36)
Splits: 8:42, 8:58, 9:02, 2:59
Age/Gender Group Ranking: 4/82 (really! 4th out of 82! not bad)
Like Heartbreaker 5K and Shamrock 8K, I didn’t train too much for this race. Sensing a pattern here? That’s the beauty of 5K’s – if you’re in decent physical shape you can run one and post a decent time. Anything longer than that and you should probably do at least a few practice runs prior to your race so you don’t kill yourself.
This time last year, all I could think about was running. But after hurting my knee in October’s half-marathon, I had to find other ways to exercise. Perhaps the biggest turning point was getting hooked up with my awesome trainer in December, who helped me to see the error of my chronic cardio ways. Since starting dedicated strength training 2-3 times per week, I’ve seen changes in my body that no amount of running had brought me. And as a bonus, strength training brings out my inner competitor – I love going into the gym and seeing what I can do better than last time.
What a difference a year – and an injury – makes!
Anyway, on to the race report.
The 6:00am alarm came way too early, as is always the case with races. I hit snooze and drifted in and out for another 15 minutes or so before my excitement propelled me out of bed and out into the kitchen to fire up my double shot of espresso. Got dressed in my race clothes, said goodbye to the sleepy hus, and headed for the Oregon Convention Center.
I found parking in a nearby garage rather easily and walked to the OCC. One of the best things about Race For The Roses is that the OCC was open to the runners before and after the event. Which means a real toilet to pee in, water fountains, and a warm place to hang out and stretch – a huge plus on a chilly Oregon morning.
About five minutes prior to the start I headed outside and found my place in the 8-9 minute mile group. The announcer did a great job of firing up the runners and before I knew it – we were off! Over the Steel Bridge and down Naito Parkway we went in the cold sunshine. My legs felt awesome during the first mile, despite the fact that I had to slow down as we were coming off the bridge – with my tender knee the downhills are always a bit dodgy for me. I was excited to see I cleared my first mile in 8:42 with plenty of energy left.
The second mile went much like the first, although I could feel my lack of training setting in, I still cleared 8:58. Sub-9, I was happy. Mile 3 was where we had to go back up the ramp we came down in mile 1, and I could feel my quads and lungs burning in protest. Still, I managed a 9:02 and was quite pleased with myself – even if I did have to stop and walk for a few seconds so I could cough violently. I’m sure the runners behind me thought I was dying, and maybe I was!
My Garmin reached the 5K mark while I was still quite a distance from the finish line. I saw my sub 28-minute hope go up in flames at that moment, but I didn’t really care. I just ran three fast (for me) miles back to back with very little training! As I gunned it for the finish line I saw my time – 29:42. Disappointment washed over me, but it didn’t last long.
I grabbed a bottle of water, guzzled it, and headed into the Convention Center looking for the finisher photo booth. On the way I passed a table piled high with bagels (barf), bananas, fruit-flavored yogurts, and … fresh orange slices! THIS is exactly what I wanted, and I inhaled two of them with a ferociousness that might frighten a small child. I posed for free finisher’s photo, red sweaty face and all.
As I drove home from the race, I reflected on the morning. Sure, I was hoping to see that elusive 27:XX, but it didn’t happen, and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my time. A few hours later I checked the official results and saw that I placed 4th out of 82 ladies in my age group! Time be damned – that feels really good.
I won’t have any more races for awhile, but you can bet I’ll get that 27:xx eventually!