I had hoped to win an age-group award at this past Saturday's 5K, but never imagined I'd also set a new PR - by twenty-four seconds!!!!!!
After a mini heat wave last week, we got some big storms Thursday night and the weather cleared out and cooled off just in time. Saturday morning was pretty much perfect weather for racing. Cool and cloudy, with temps just below 60.
The kids did their race first, and they loved it, as usual. And as usual, Dante just ran his little heart out, smiling the whole way, and Gabe ran as hard as he could, bound and determined to come in first - which he did. He has clearly inherited Mommy's competitive streak. I don't mind that - as long as he still enjoys himself, too, and so far he does.
Tons of our friends and the kids' friends were there, so they had plenty of pals to play with while I was running the 5K, which was helpful for Scott. He still had to keep close tabs on Carmine, but at least the big boys were occupied. I made my way to the start, and lined up right near the front. I wasn't really planning on a PR, but I was planning on running fast, and hoping to come in right around 23 minutes.
When the horn sounded, I hit 'start' on my Garmin, and took off with the leaders of the pack. First half mile was way too fast, as usual, but this is a super flat course, and because it was so nice and cool and comfortable, I wasn't too concerned with running out of steam at the end. I did slow down a bit after that first .5, though, and settled into a pace a little over 7:00. First mile ended up coming in at 7:10.
The course runs through the parking lots at URI, and loops around at two spots, so you can see everyone ahead of you as they make the turn and run back in your direction. And I was happy to see that there weren't that many people ahead of me! And there definitely weren't that many women ahead of me! I tried counting, and at the first turnaround there were about 5 women in front of me. Not too shabby : )
I was feeling pretty good at the halfway point, and it showed when my Garmin beeped at me to tell me that I finished mile 2 in 7:01. Seven-oh-one!!!!!! That is a FAST mile for me!!!!!
I can't say I intentionally held back during mile 3, but I definitely didn't push myself too much during the first half of that mile. I tried to hold the 7:00 pace as best I could, but I didn't want to speed up too early. I knew my boys were waiting to see me at the finish line, and I wanted them to see me with a smile on my face, not a grimace. Mile 3 - 7:06. Not as fast as 7:01, but still pretty damn fast!
I've run this course many times, so even without hearing the Garmin beep for mile 3, I knew I was almost to the finish, and I did my best to shorten my stride and increase my turnover, and also started looking for my guys.
Just before the finish line, I saw them and heard them, and as I had promised, I moved over to the side of the road so I could give them high-fives. Definitely the highlight of the race for me : )
Almost as good as seeing the clock read 22:20 as I crossed the finish line. 22:20!!!! A PR by twenty-four seconds! Eight seconds per mile faster than I ran my last 5K - and I've done only one track workout in that entire time!
It was exhilirating, but also exhausting. I was spent. I took a minute to begin to catch my breath, grabbed some water, and walked back to see the guys.
Scott agreed with me that the handful of women who had finished in front of me were probably all in the 20 - 29 age group, and we were fairly certain that I had taken first place among 30 - 39-year-olds.
We chatted with friends, and I cheered on my friends who were also running, several of whom also set PRs, which was great to see! And we did more socializing and eating while waiting for the awards. It was a long wait, because this race always has a lot of walkers, but since we had lots of friends there, the wait was fine.
And it was worth it. I collected my final 30-39 age-group award - 1st place! Gabe and Dante came up with me when I got my medal, and they seemed pretty proud - it was a fun moment : )
But after that, we were all pretty tired and ready to go home, so we gathered our collective medals and t-shirts and piled into the car. It was a long morning, but a very, very fun one.
And thus ends my 'career' in the 30 - 39 age group. One third place award, two second-place awards, and two first-place awards.
I won't be running another 5K until the fall, but I'm really excited to see how I fare now that I'm in this new age group. It'll be interesting to scope out the new competition and figure out where I fit in.
I can't stop thinking, though, about the fact that over the course of a year, I have shaved a full minute off of my 5K time, all while running only three times per week, only recently working up to really long weekend runs, and doing absolutely no speedwork at all.
But now that marathon training is only two weeks away, I'm going to begin doing speedwork once a week, and of course will be logging some serious miles on the weekend. I am so, so excited to see what that translates to when I run my next 5K. I see a sub-22 in my future......
For now, though - the stats:
8th female overall
56 out of 42 overall
1st place in 30 - 39 age group.