Last night I said to my husband, Want to know a secret? I REALLY want to place in my age group.
He laughed and laughed and said, “My dear. I don’t think that’s a secret.”
But I haven’t told anyone! I was afraid I wouldn’t make it and then look like a failure!
He said, “Ok. But I think everyone Knows you Want to WIN.”
So if you didn’t already know, I really wanted to Win.
I knew going into this race that I was not running the main event. The Half Marathon was the Real Race and the 5K was an afterthought. You could imagine the race directors saying, “Well we should probably do a 5K too.” And you could imagine others saying, “Aww do we really have to?” In fact it was totally obvious that this was the feeling the race directors had about the 5K. If you weren’t running the half, then you were a second-class
citizen runner. But I wouldn’t allow my spirits to be dampened. I was excited about this race even if it was the lesser of the two.
The forecast was iffy – 90% chance of rain, although it looked like it may be an afternoon rain event. When I laid out my clothes the night before as I always do, I chose pants, a tank top and long sleeve shirt for the race. The Runner’s World outfit tool that I use recommended shorts and a t-shirt for the race conditions, but I couldn’t help feeling like that would be cold in 55 degrees. On the drive to the run, I decided to ditch the long sleeve and run in the tank and pants. Best decision. It was cool, but not cold, and the wind was very light.
We got to the race about 20 minutes before the start. Later than I wanted, but plenty of time really. I expected a crowd and difficulty parking, but since the Half marathoners had to get bussed to their start, the parking lot was not busy. My husband dropped me off and I ran to the bathroom and then did my warm up. He snapped a picture of me and the little one and I went to the start.
I always think it is funny when people don’t want to stand at the actual start. I know it’s chip timed and so in a sense it doesn’t matter, but don’t you want to be at the front? Well no one else was at the front, but I positioned myself to be close to it. When the race director said, you can move up to the line, of course I moved up. Of course. Because I’m that sort of person – The Type A, Front of the Line, sort.
When they said GO! I took off and kept talking to myself the whole first mile – not too fast; run your own race; ok that’s three girls in front of me…here comes the fourth, oh it’s ok she’s obviously not in my age group. There were no mile markers for the 5K and I don’t have a GPS watch so I had no idea how far I had gone. I knew the water station was supposed to be at 2 miles, but I didn’t know how exact that was. I hit the water stop at 14:33 by my watch. Not too far beyond that was the sign for Mile 12, so that was a touch short of two miles. I wasn’t going to get water but my mouth felt dry so I grabbed a quick sip. I didn’t stop running.
The final 1.1 miles were the hardest. Apparently, I didn’t pay close enough attention to the orientation of the finish, so I thought all I had to do was run up the hill and then cut through the parking lot. Nope. You had to run the entire perimeter of the stadium parking lot. This last bit was tough, but I just told myself Keep Running. I saw my husband and daughter, but they didn’t see me so I called out, Hey Sweetie! and waved. That was a bad idea. It took my breath away and I was wishing I hadn’t said anything. But I got a winning smile and a wave from my daughter so it was worth it.
This was not my strongest portion of the race. But I did it! I crossed the line at 24:44 by my watch. I was thrilled! I really wanted to be under 27 minutes and was even more elated to be under 25! We hung around for a few minutes and then went off to get coffee and donuts. Right before we left, I said I wanted to check the computer results. I typed in my bib number and was astonished to see 1st Place in my age group! My official time was 24:41 and I beat 41 other women in my group! I was so glad I had looked 🙂
It was only 8:10 and the awards weren’t until 9:45. We went to coffee and ran a couple errands and came back in time for the awards. By this point all the Half Marathoners were about done. We ran into our friends from church who had done the half. It was nice to visit with them for a few minutes and then I went to get my medal.
First Place! I can’t believe it!
I did check the half marathon results for my age group and it looked like there were some pretty fast women in the Half so maybe the competition wasn’t that strong for my race, but I’m still pleased. 8th woman to finish and 34th overall out of 397 participants. It’s a great start for my Picture Runner racing!