Monday, September 12, 2011

Park to Park

I normally don't write about a race when Michelle has already written about it but we did different races at the save venue this time.

I am not crazy enough yet to do anything longer than a 10K so the idea of a 1/2 marathon makes me a little queasy. I am still concentrating on getting my 5 K time down as low as I can. I knew this race would be a good race to go for a PR since it was a flat course and the temperature would be in the 60's. Also, Michelle's running partner, Stephany, was gunning for me. The only time Stephany has ever beaten me was at the Marion Art's Festival when I was running with a bruised medial meniscus. However, Stephany's PR was only about a minute off of mine going into Saturday's race. Is all it would take was for me to have a mediocre day and Stephany to have a great day. She has been running a lot lately so the chances of her coming off the victor were quite real.

We lined up at according to our pace - Stephany and I were at the 8:00-8:30/mile pace marker. The gun went off and Stephany shot off to her normal pedal to the metal pace. I wanted to keep her within reach because I knew if she got too far ahead of me, her traditional sprint at the end would put her out of my reach. At one time she pulled about 50 feet in front of me. I could tell she was worried because every time someone would come up to her shoulder, she would look over at them. I wasn't feeling very good at this time. I was running faster than I normally do and was having a tough time finding a rhythm. I had also been having some problems with a sore left glut muscle that had me worried. After about 1/2 mile, I began to feel better and realized that nothing really hurt (Ibuprofen is my friend). I concentrated on increasing my cadence and having mid-foot landings. This actually increased my speed and I caught and passed Stephany. She yelled at me as I passed, "How's your butt?" I yelled back, "It feels fine. I have no excuses." The day was beautiful and I was actually enjoying the run. The turnaround at 1.5 miles was not marked well - only an orange cone in the middle of the trail. Several people, including my son, Brenden, who is much faster than me, ran past it not knowing it was the turnaround. I actually stopped for a moment with a couple of other runners as we debated what to do. We decided that the cone was the turnaround and started running again. I saw Stephany about a minute or so later and then saw Amber and a bit beyond Amber was Allison (a fellow Zumba instructor doing her first 5K). We cheered each other on and I decided to push a little harder. Mile 1 to 2 is the most difficult for me so I really have to dig in and make myself work. Sometimes I count steps, other times I use my feet to provide the bass drum for a beat that I ring out inside my head. I was getting tired but still felt relatively good. Brenden caught up with me just before the mile 2 marker a bit disgruntled because he missed the turnaround. We ran together for a bit and then he pulled ahead. As I came around the end of the lake, I knew that I was on the home stretch. I could feel myself slowing down and had to really work to pick my pace back up. I knew that if Stephany was anywhere close to me that she would leave me in the dust at the finsh with her sprint. The UNI drum line was playing for us along the trail at about a 1/2 mile from the finish so I began to pick up the pace even more. By this time, I was in a lot of pain but knew that it would be only momentary. Finally, I could hear the announcer's voice and began to see spectators lining the trail. This provided the final push I needed. I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line. Even better was the view of the clock. It said 25:05. I was shocked. I had never run a 5 K that fast. I sprinted the best I could, finishing with a final time of 25:18. I was very satisfied with my time and ended up getting 2nd place in my age group.

I really don't like running that much but I love to race. I love the atmosphere, the people, the challenge, and particularly the emotional high that I get from finishing a race. I also love introducing people to racing. I have had the opportunity to run in races with 2 friends who were racing for their first time. I love seeing the emotion they feel when they successfully finish. Racing is about people making positive changes in their lives and I very much enjoy being a part of that process.

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