|Austim Clinic 5k 2012|
I committed to this race last fall before deciding to train for my first half marathon. Three miles may seem like no big deal in the midst of training for thirteen point one. But it is still a challenge for me.
I knew it wouldn't be as hot at race time this year as it was last year. But running after sunrise at Grand Park is always going to be scorching. There is not much shade, and by race time (9:00), the sun was beating down with intensity even though it was only 63 degrees.
Because I am in the midst of half marathon training, I knew that I needed more than 3.1 miles. So I decided to run a 20 minute warm up before the race, then finish up my miles for the day after the race. I've never done such a long pre-race warm up before. But in some of the reading I've done recently, a 20 minute warm up is highly recommended for a 5k race. Since I needed the mileage anyway, I decided to try it.
My warm up was good, although maybe a little fast. After my warm up, I hit the porta-potty one last time, and grabbed a few dates and some water. I had time to chat with another female runner before the race started. She wasn't sure of the race course, and we jokingly agreed to just follow the people in front of us because we wouldn't be leading the pack. She ended up finishing as first place female overall!
The first mile was good, and I found my pace easily once I got out of the crowd. As I passed the one mile mark, the clock read 12:40. Right on my target pace. Mile two started getting tough. I was out in the sun. I had decided to carry my own water because I knew the water station was at the end of mile two and that I would need hydration before that if I was going to last the morning. But the sun was beating down, so I decided to start run/walk intervals.
I got to the water station, drank a little bit of the cold water, and dumped the rest on me. At this point, the course did a little out-and-back. So as I made the turn, walkers were still coming up toward the two mile marker. When I run, especially during allergy season, I get phlemgy. So I spit. Sometimes a lot. One woman who was walking with her husband were coming toward me, and when she saw me spit, she muttered under her breath "that's disgusting." I turned as they passed me and said, "sometimes it has to be done." Yeah, I usually avoid confrontational situations and thankfully she didn't respond. But ya know, if you're going hang out with runners, sometimes runners do things that you might think are disgusting (like last year when I had to pee in a ditch during a race).
During mile three, I continued doing run/walk intervals, so I would pass the same people over and over in a leap frog fashion. We kept encouraging one another, which made that mile more bearable. As we came up on the three mile mark, we all turned up the energy and ran to the finish.
I'm not sure of my official finishing time, I think the clock said 41 minutes and change, which is better than my 42:13 finish last year. I wasn't expecting to PR because of the heat, so I'm happy with my overall pace for this event.
After getting some water and a banana, I had a chance to chat with a few folks I know, then I went back out for a few more miles to finish my half marathon training miles for the day. It made the race a bit anti-climactic but it's still a race day that I want to celebrate and remember. The only thing I would change would be the start time. Even though it's only April, an 8:00 start time would be better. But then again, it's April, so who knows what the weather will be like next year!