Ok, so it was a small race, but that does absolutely nothing to dampen my excitement right now. I’m so stoked! This race nearly killed me by the way, but I still somehow set a new PR. Did I really call Step Up 4 St. Tim’s ”just” a 5k only this morning? Please don’t ever let me make light of a short race again!
I managed to rope my mother and my aunt (who also works for my company) into signing up, as well as one other co-worker and his wife. The five of us did a little scouting early on, getting the gossip on new construction projects coming up on campus and who their favorites were in terms of contractors. Once my work there was done, I took off for a super brief warm-up jog and did some calf stretches. Eventually things started picking up as the starting time drew near and I kissed my mama for good luck and headed toward the front of the pack.
First of all, I completely underestimated the speed of all the high schoolers. We didn’t have track or cross-country team at my high school (I don’t think??) and so when I looked at all the kids milling around I more or less dismissed them, not really considering them serious runners. My bad. Those kids were FAST! And not only that, they run those hills everyday - and let me tell you, there were some serious hills.
I lined up about three deep from the start line and when the horn sounded, I was off. For a split second that is, and then I got trampled. I went from a front-runner to about 30 runners back in oh, say about 15 seconds! A humbling experince for sure. I had my Garmin on, but wasn’t paying much attention to my speed. That was a mistake. When I hit the first mile marker a volunteer called out my split time as 7:27. For the record, I don’t even run that fast in my dreams – I’m more a 9:15 kind of girl – and I knew then that I was going to have a hell of a time keeping up as the race went on.
Just past the turn-around there was a water station. I took a cup, nearly choked, definitely stumbled and certainly thought about what a disaster trying to drink while running could be to my time. I tossed the cup and carried on while stuggling to regain my rythem and my breath. My second mile split time was 8:30. Better, but only if I could hold it, which I knew was a long shot – the hill we’d run down in the first mile was not going to be as fun on the way back.
Is it possible to bonk after only two miles? If so, I can say with some level of certainty that I did it today. Mile 3 was a bitch. It was uphill the whole way. The road was winding, and I was spacey – at one point I nearly lost my footing and stumbled off the pavement I heard the runners behind me exclaim, but I just signaled a thumbs-up and kept on trudging.
Midway through mile 1 I had started picking off runners. I overtook two runners in the first mile (one appearing to be a female in my age group) and three more in mile 2. I passed a single runner in mile 3, but she caught up again and passed me with less than a half mile to go. Typically, when I see the finish line, I get a spurt of energy and sprint the last leg, but today I was just hoping to cross upright. I took off way too fast, and finished feeling like shit. I saw the clock read 26:30 as I passed under the balloon archway and was overjoyed, but still disappointed in myself for making such a rookie mistake. I did however shave 1:44 of my best 5k time and that’s definitely something to be proud of.
I devoured a Fage yogurt cup (with cherries!) and a Starbucks blueberry pastry provided by the race organizers while I waited for my mom and aunt to finish. I’ve got to say their food set-up was awesome. They also had oranges, bananas, chips, bagels, bottled water and coffee. There was even an adorable little girl handing out bunches of Gerbera daisies to each finisher.
My mom and aunt took off shortly after the race, but not before a quick peek in the stables. Have I mentioned that we’re horse people? My family breeds Rocky Mountain gaited horses – right now I think we have 9. St. Timothy’s is a beautiful, private boarding school nestled in the heart of Stevenson – green, green and more green. Just beautiful! Their stables were picturesque, just as the race course was.
Anyway, I wanted them to stay for the awards ceremony, but they were eager to hit the road. Big mistake! My aunt’s name was announced first as 2nd in her age group!! Never in a million years did she expect that. So amazing. A few minutes later I heard them call my name as 2nd in my age group; the 20-29 year olds (I’m 28). I just about died. I had hoped, sure, but after that rush of runners that overtook me in mile 1 I didn’t think there was a chance in hell.
Since there was no one with me to celebrate or even take my picture with my shiny new medal *cough*Mom*cough*, I drove to my husband’s office, jumped up and down like a little kid and demanded he take this picture:
I could not be more ecstatic! It’s been 3 hours and I’m still grinning like an idiot. And I may or may not have worn my race number and medal into both Marshalls and Target on my way home.