2017 Race #21
2017 5k #5
Hilton Head Jingle Jingle 5k #3
Like I mentioned last year, I planned and executed a dedicated training plan for this race in the hopes that I would make my 5k PR not so much of an anomaly and try to PR. This course could not be better suited for a fast 5k.
A month ago, I “practiced” racing a short race with the TreesGreenville Turkey Day 8k and quickly learned that I need to focus on mental stamina. That came into play in this race.
We arrived with just a little bit longer to wait before the race than I prefer but got settled in and walked over to the new starting location. I saw few people dressed like they intended to race; many people came decked out in all sorts of fantastic holiday costumes like an Elf movie onsie. (That might have been my favorite.)
Several times as we lined up, the race director specifically addressed the kids lined up at the front and told them to get back from the front. Some kids took a few steps back but not many. One happened to be standing near me. I smiled and asked her if she could run a mile in 6 minutes, what the race director had just stated. She smiled, shook her head and then tried to get her friend to move back with her.
With only a two minute delay, we were off.
Right away I knew that I my 5k racing skills are rusty at best. I knew I took off way too fast but it has been a long time since I have even attempted to hold a 6:50 mile when not on the treadmill. I glanced at my Garmin a few times but the numbers I saw still needed time to adjust. The pace felt fast and I wondered if I would be able to hold on to it.
After about a quarter mile my Garmin had settled down and I saw low 6 numbers as well as one 5:50. No way. I had to slow down or I would crash and burn at the end.
I slowed down a little but the damage had already been done.
Mile 1: 6:33 Way. Too. Fast.
I could feel the pace in the second mile. I could also hear those doubts creep into my mind, the same doubts that led me to walk at the 8k last month. Everything felt so hard but I managed to pass a girl that I had been trailing for a mile. I did not look behind me for the rest of the race but I knew she lurked just behind me.
At various points in the mile I could feel the pace slipping. I kept trying to pick it back up, keep pushing. I spent way too much energy in that first mile and now I paid the price. In the second half of the mile I started to remind myself that it was only 20 minutes of pain and then I would be done. I could do 20 minutes.
It started to turn into what felt like a slog fest with a mile and a quarter left to go. In the back of my mind I knew that my PR chances had flown away. I still tried to push though.
Mile 2: 7:09
After looking at the split, I knew in my head that a PR, thanks to the way too fast first mile, was not totally out of the picture. My body had other things to say about that.
Not only did I spent that last mile fighting the negative mental thoughts telling me to slow down and abandon the attempt, I also started to feel like I actually could not run any faster. I asked my legs for more but I spent too much fuel early in that first mile.
As we got closer, I could hear spectators saying things like “good job, ladies!” I knew that the woman I passed a mile and a half ago had not gone away. I could feel my pace slowing and knew that the PR had slipped away. Enough of my competitive spirit remained that I did not want to be passed by another woman in the last quarter mile of the race.
I kept fighting for that faster pace. I felt like I had nothing left. Several burps felt like they would also bring up things other than air. I knew that the end was in sight though. I could not let up now. Only minutes of pain remained.
As we turned the second to last corner I looked down at my watch and saw it tick over to 21. When I glanced up to find the finish line, I knew that too much distance remained between me and it. I kept pushing though, I knew that woman would love to pass me in the final stretch; I know I would.
With the finish line in sight, I poured on as much of a sprint as I could.
As we drew near the line, someone came speeding past me. I had a brief moment of panic when I thought it was that girl that I tried to hold off the whole time. Thankfully, it was just a guy coming out of nowhere.
I watched the clock tick from 21:59 to 22:00 as I had about 10 feet left to run. Unfortunately, I still have just the one race with a sub 22 time.
Mile 3: 7:38 (Yes, I win for the “best” positive splits.)
.1 nubbin: 6:47 Finally near my goal pace for a single tenth of a mile.
Overall time: 22:06
Just after I finished, the woman who had chased me for two miles came up and talked to me a little about chasing me but just not being able to catch me. I thanked her for pushing me. There is no way I would have been even close to that pace if I had not known that she ran just behind me.
We hung out for a little while for the awards. I knew that I had earned something. This time, my second fastest 5k time, is also my course PR. I won my age group last year and knew that I would at least win that this year.
Mom checked racemine.com for the results but perplexingly, nothing appeared for at least half an hour. Mom kept periodically reloading, in between taking photos of me as I tried to drink my water.
https://flic.kr/p/D9fRDp (how I really felt, of course ;))
She reloaded one more time and results appeared. I looked over as soon as she said something and then we both let out a joyful yelp. I managed to snag a place on the podium!
I love that fact. I had no idea that I would since the winning times last year far surpassed my PR. 5 seconds separated me from the woman I passed, a woman in my age group no less.
Even though I did not come close to my original goal, I know that I made significant progress. I pushed past the negative thoughts and kept going even when I felt like giving up and in the end achieved something I did not even consider possible.
I like ending my 2017 racing season on this sort of note. Stay tuned for future goals.