Sunday, October 23, 2011
Coastal 5k Race Recap
I have come a long way.
10/23/2010 - Coastal 5k - 46:12
2//18/2011 - RBC 5k - 46:30
4/9/2011 - SOS Autism Clinic 5k - 42:13
6/11/2011 - Susan G. Komen 5k (w/ a team) - 48:00
9/24/2011 - Strides for Autism 5k - 41:56
Each race has been a unique experience. But I came into this year's Coastal 5k with a lot more confidence because I knew what to expect. I didn't register until the week of the race, but I've been mentally committed to it for months. My goal for this time around: 40 minutes.
After setting out all my gear, I went to bed fairly early on Friday night. I set my alarm for 5:40, but knew I wouldn't need it. I woke up shortly after 5:00 and immediately the race day jitters set in. I got up, got dressed, and piddled around on the computer for a while. Finally, it was time to wake the family, start getting them ready, and make my pre-race breakfast.
On an average running day, I don't eat before running. I get up at o'dark-thirty & sneak out the door as quickly as I can. Race time wasn't until 7:30, so I knew I need some nutrition before the race. The best thing for me is a green smoothie. I absolutely love them & know they are a great way to pack in the nutrition without over-filling my belly. This one had: almond milk, a banana, 2 cups of spinach, a teaspoon of chocolate-flavored flax oil, and ice.
(Side note: if you are a member of bookieboo.com, rush over there and enter the giveaway for these amazing flax oils, open until 11/4/2011)
Hubby and Ladybug came along to cheer for me. Poor Hubs. Wrangling a four year old in a crowd that size for 40 minutes is hard. He earned many gold stars on this day.
We arrived at the race site around 7:00. Plenty of time for a porta-potty stop and warming up. I lined up around 7:15 and chatted with an experienced runner for a while. It's so amazing to feel the camaraderie that comes immediately when running is the topic.
At 7:30, the gun sounded and we were off! I started near the middle of the pack. I didn't want to dodge a lot of walkers. It was cold, about 45 degrees with clear skies. I'm glad I bought arm warmers at the expo. Last year I wore a long-sleeved shirt and was too warm by the time the sun came up. The arm warmers were perfect.
This is the first race that I monitored my pace. Most of the time, I just go with how I feel, wanting to have fun and enjoy the experience. But I knew that if I was going to make my goal, I needed to keep pushing myself. I was keeping around a 12:15 pace during the first mile, which is fast for me. So I eased up. I didn't want to run out of gas before the end. I finished the first mile in just under 13:00 minutes. Right on pace.
This is an out and back, flat course. I knew the main challenge would be weaving in and out among the other racers. Most people around me were doing run/walk. I was running the whole way. I know that if I slow down to walk, it gets harder and harder to get myself running again. But when others run/walk, they pass you, then you pass them, etc, etc. It gets a little annoying after a while. Especially when they have earbuds in and aren't paying attention to who is coming up behind them.
I hit the turn-around point at 20:15, so I knew I couldn't ease up any more if I was going to make my goal. I started some positive self talk to keep myself moving. I put my head down and focused on the ground in front of me.
As I came into the final stretch, I saw my cheering section waiting for me. I had told Ladybug that she could finish the race with me. So I grabbed her hand and we started running hard. I didn't look at the clock as we crossed the finish line, but I knew I was close to my goal time. I knew it would be a new PR no matter what, and it was a fun race. Even though I was pushing myself, I still want to enjoy the journey, and I did.
Official chip time: 40:27, 474/683 overall, 50/74 age division.
Ladybug was upset that she didn't get a medal too, so I let her wear mine for a little while. This year's medal is a smaller version of the half marathon medal, and even sports a bottle opener. Very cool race bling!
Another great race experience! I feel more confident, not only in my ability as a runner, but in navigating the racing experience. Now that I've been racing for a year, I look forward to repeating past races. But I also look forward to conquering new distances. The Diva half marathon series is coming to our area in May 2012. I'd love to tackle that challenge.
I know I've come a long way, but there are still so many more miles out there to be run. And I can't wait!