Holy smokes! The last time I ran a 5k was almost exactly one year ago, at the same race in Saratoga. I knew going into this race that I was definitely more prepared than the last, but was still nervous because I’ve been focusing all summer on my long runs. My running coach was VERY insistent that I race a 5k to help him predict my finish time for the full marathon and I basically kicked and screamed all summer, holding off until now with 28 days to go. Whoops!
Friday night I ate my second helping of pasta for the day, stayed up late to watch the Mets game and then once I remembered what was happening the following morning, I panicked and whipped out a pace calculator to figure out a game plan = everything I wouldn’t have done in the past. I was pretty laid back until about 11PM. Whoops!
The beau and I drove up early so that I could meet a couple of friends beforehand to do a quick warmup after checking in and grabbing my bib. Thank goodness for them, they helped me keep my goals in check and calm me down, “it’s only steady state!”
Just as we got back to the pavilion, the crowd was starting to line up at the start. I found myself at the front and decided to take a couple of steps back; I didn’t want to overdue it and zonk halfway thru the race. Before I knew it, the horn blew and we were off!
Mile 1: “Oh hey! My legs are moving fast and this feels good! Woah, do I know you?” A newer member of my team was also racing and we caught up quickly before I pressed on to settle into a groove. I was prepared to lap my watch every half mile to better keep myself on pace and did so right at the first half mile; 4:04 a little faster than I had anticipated but not bad (I was aiming for a 4:07 to reach my previous PR). “Did I just pass a grown man? His legs are sooo long! I never pass men!” “Okay, you can catch her! You caught her!” “Did my watch just say 7:45? Sloooow down Jona!” “Shit! I forgot to lap my watch!”
Mile 2: Yup, I forgot to lap my watch at mile 1 = from here on out, I wouldn’t have my mile pace. Whoops! I relied on glancing down at my watch for a current pace but realized that it was jumping all over the place; which happened to me two weeks ago when I ran through the state park. I tried to keep it steady and luckily had settled into a groove only a couple of feet behind another runner.
Mile 3:”I think that man can hear me breathing, he keeps glancing back at me. I AM pretty loud. I don’t care, I’m feeling strong! Eat my dust!” I passed him and he asked me how far we were – 2.23 with over a mile to go was my response. I knew going into this race that the course was too long, by .3 to be exact, and was prepared to stop my watch accordingly. “How many women are ahead of me?! Holy crap, I might be in the top ten!” I couldn’t believe how fast this mile passed for me mentally and turned left keeping the front runners in sight.
…the remaining .1 and then additional .3: I felt great! I kicked it up and kept an eye on my watch to stop it just as it clicked to 3.1 but the thing is, I wasn’t at the finish. I had to keep going and moving fast I was. I actually passed the woman I had trailed the entire time. “What?! Who am I?! Go! Go! GO!” I crossed the finish line and turned back around to go find my friends out on the course, happy as can be!