Race: Run For the Roses: 5K, 10K, 15K
Distance Ran: 5K (3.11 miles, but Garmin said 3.36)
Splits: 8:05, 9:42, 10:33
Age/Gender Group Ranking: 5/7 (jeez there were some fast women there!)
This was probably the most unusual race I’ve ever run, not because of the race itself, but because of my attitude leading up to it.
As my five readers know, I’ve recently put running on the back burner in favor of weight lifting and high intensity interval training, and the benefits have been spectacular. I’ve lost a few pounds, sure, but more importantly, I’ve gained a lot of energy and self-confidence. At the same time, I still enjoy running shorter distances – particularly outside in the fabulous mild Portland Summer – so I decided to sign up for this 5K to see how I’d do with almost no running training.
I was excited for the race and had a time to beat in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t worried about it. I wasn’t worried about negative splits, pacing, or anything. I just didn’t care. My main objective was to just get out there, have fun, and see how far my “power” could carry me. Answer? About one mile.
I clocked in at 8:07 for the first mile, which for me is FAST. My legs felt super strong and I could feel my glutes and hams powering me down the road. I felt awesome! However, I soon reached the limits of my endurance and for the rest of the race I alternated between running a decent pace and walking when I needed to get my heart rate down to a manageable level.
My absolute FAVORITE thing about every race I’ve ever done is the finishing kick – the last 100 meters or so before crossing the finish line. Even if I’m completely worn out, I’m always able dig deep and cross the line at what is – for me – a superwoman pace. Anticipating the energy I would need for that finishing kick, I stopped to walk a bit about 500-700 meters from the finish line. I wasn’t walking for 10 seconds when a young woman tapped me on the shoulder and said
“C’mon. You’ve got this”.
“You’ve got this”.
How many times has my trainer said that to me, when I was faltering on the last few reps of a heavy weight, or when I was feeling completely exhausted at the end of a Prowler session? I had busted through my limits then, so why not now?
So I took up the younger lady’s challenge. That whippersnapper wasn’t going to beat me! I think I said “I am gonna die” and she said “so am I” and we laughed, knowing the finish line was getting closer and closer.
As we rounded the corner and hit the track, I could see the finish line. Some force took over me and I hit a 5:42 pace. It felt amazing, and I beat the whippersnapper by few seconds, too.
That’s me in the black, just edging out the younger woman. Heh.
After I got over the urge to vomit and regained my breath, I walked over to her and thanked her for her motivating gesture.
And then I never saw her again, which made me a little sad.
I really do love the running community. I’ve always felt so welcomed, even though I’m hardly an elite with my 1o-minute miles. I think all of us just share a love for movement and it makes us happy to see others out there feeling it, too.