And I think I feel fine...but I don't know. Time to sit and think has been in short supply. Our family is smack in the middle of our annual crush of year-end picnics, parties, graduations, performances, birthdays...you get the idea. I figured I should probably blog, though, lest I let so much time pass between entries that Blogger locks me out or something.
I did run a race a week and a half ago. It was the same day that my kids had a music theatre performance in the afternoon so I figured this might be a good way to blow off some early steam and also rearrange the schedule to run long the following day, not taking up the entire morning for a long run. It was the Mike The Headless Chicken 5K (yes, his story is true) and due to the fact that they only give 1st and 2nd place overall, and 1st place by ten year age group, I knew it would be luck of the draw and a crap shoot as far as awards went if I ran well. I placed fifth overall at this race two years ago with the slowest time I've ever run on the course, yet it was good enough for an age group win that time. Last year, I ran it faster, placed fifth overall again but did not place in my age group because everyone but one person ahead of me was 30-39. So, I just treated this as a balls-out all-out "fun run" where I'd just go for it and let the chips fall where they may.
It was cool and rainy which was a welcome change, actually, from the warm temps, cloudless skies and somewhat windy conditions that have been typical on this race course that runs in a square along country roads. I warmed up feeling kind of okay and figured I'd play the "hold on for dear life" game. My first mile was fast for me on this course, getting through it in 6:47 even with a little bit of a hill near the end. I was trying to hang on to a local speedster I've never beaten, and who tends to run the first mile as her warm-up before she drops the hammer and blows away most of the field. I could still see her not far ahead so I figured this was pretty good.
Second mile-not so much. The road was flat-ish with a slight uphill roll, but not enough to really be considered a hill. I tried in vain to keep up but I was losing speed already and she was just getting into her groove. A woman I passed at about half a mile in passed me back. Crap, I thought-she looks like she is in my age group. I finished mile two in 7:36.
I then resolved to just try to get back to that woman and see if I could pass. I did make up a little ground even though I was really huffing and puffing by now. In a 10K I might have been able to make my way back to her eventually but I was only making small, incremental gains. Mile 3: 7:28. I made the last turn up the street to the finish with the Garmin measuring .12 miles in :47, or a 6:32 pace. I came up with a final time of 22:37. Nowhere near a PR but not the worst 5K I've ever run. Still, the fast beginning and finish with slow middle of the race are an indication that I really need to spend my summer season tackling short distance stuff and doing more speed work. Though it's not something that is directly related to marathoning, I think getting ready for, and racing 5K's or other short races can help with mental toughness at longer distances.
It turned out that I was correct about the woman who passed me-she WAS in my age group and darnit, that was the 1st in age group slot, or the only age group award being given. I knew I wasn't in tip-top 5K shape but I still always want to run my best so it was a little frustrating to be that close and no cigar. It gives me good motivation, though, to work harder. The race's official finish line must've been shorter than I thought, or else I hit my Garmin too early at the start. Official results had me down for 22:22, sixth overall and second in my age group. The women's winner ran an 18:xx, and the next two women were in the 19:xx range.
In regular life news, this is the week that I become Mom to a middle-schooler and also attend my son's kindergarten graduation. We've also hosted a slumber party for a bunch of 8-year-old girls (not as bad as you'd think-we kept the invite list small and that made it a lot less hectic than it could have been), and taken our youngest daughter to her preschool class party/graduation at a local park. If I can just make it through this week and over Vail Pass uneventfully, then the Bolder Boulder awaits!
I am very much looking forward to the one day of being totally on my own for the drive and getting to hang out with a couple of friends at what I think is one of the great road races in the United States. The first 32 waves of the race are seeded by time, and I'll be running in the B wave, or the fourth wave to start. I ran that qualifying standard just once, last December, so I am fully expecting to get the crap kicked out of me by runners in this wave, but I will again work my hardest to hang on with them. It's my goal again this year to crack into what are fairly generous age groupings, going 15 places deep by individual age. It basically turns the largest chip-timed race in the country into an event where your odds of placing are the same as at your neighborhood race just down the street. I'm going to enjoy my night out with the ladies on Sunday, and try to get as relaxed as possible before the Monday morning run.