Monday, June 18, 2007

Flag Day 5K

I was hoping the race results wouldn't take forever. It has now been almost a week and unfortunately no results yet. So here is the unofficial "rundown."

I got to the race very early, about 5:45pm in hopes of getting a good parking spot and having lots of time to check out the course and warm-up. I walked up a very very large hill to registration. This hill was going to be a challenge to run up if it was part of the course. I ran into some old friends and chatted with them after picking up packets for me and the Walrus.

I hit a very slow warm-up for about 20 minutes and ran out and back through the Deepwood Center and up a very small hill as compared to the one on the way to registration. I saw a lot of "fast" people here and thought today was going to be rough to place in the top half of runners. There was a cash purse for anyone that could set a new course record for men or women. Note the men's course record is 14:54 and the women's is 16:43. Those times are extremely fast. There are only two people that can run those times and they are the ones that set the records. It was also hot and sticky and I never have run well in the heat. I had tried a couple hard runs in the heat only to cramp and feel like my guts were going to explode. A PR was only a small thought in my mind. I was concerned with finishing and not feeling like sh%t.

I jogged up the big hill to the start and met up with some friends. I saw a course map that showed we ran down the big hill twice and up the backside through the woods in which the grade was a lot less significant. This was a good sign. The race was not chipped so I had to start up toward the front, so as not to lose too much time. There were some speeches and the national anthem and then the gun went off....

The first mile was one of the fastest I have ever done. I was like a rocket, along with everyone else down the hill. I hit the bottom and slowed to set into my pace, but was already breathing hard. Uuuuuggghhhh, this was gonna hurt the whole the way around. It was too late now I was going to have to finish what I had started. I tried to focus on keeping my ragged breathing as regularly ragged as possible and using my arms to drive me forward. I was almost at the first turn when I saw a car do a U-Turn and turn right into all of us runners. I was already cranky from running too hard, so I used what little breathe I had to yell "you f*cking #sshole!" Luckily, no one was hit and he had to drive behind all the runners for about 3 minutes. I saw the Walrus on his way back and I tried to refocus on my running. I got to the first mile at 7:43. Yeah, that was really fast for me. I figured the big downhill had helped with that but I knew I was hurting a little too much.

The second mile was a little uphill and there was another hairpin about halfway. I was having a really hard time moving my legs forward and not dropping form. I tried to focus on the runners ahead of me and noticed many of them had gone out hard too. I picked a couple off as I came back down the hill to the straight. I made the turn and felt a little better. I hit the 2 mile marker and although I knew it was slow at 8:28, I wasn't giving up. As I passed the finsih, I saw the fastest runners coming down the big hill. I didn't see the Walrus and I had to turn off the road to hit the woods for my final mile. I was not happy, but then there he was coming down the hill with another runner. He was running with everything he had just 1 or 2 steps behind the other runner. I couldn't help myself. I started screaming at him to run that guy down and get him. He passed by me and I couldn't see his finish, but I hoped my yelling had helped.

I hit the trail to the woods and uphill it went. My legs were like lead and my lungs were on fire. I could see a couple more people in front of me and barreled forward. I caught 2 or 3 more runners. I thought if I could just push a little longer I and get through the woods it would litterally be all downhill from there. I was mistaken, they had thrown another quickie trail in the course, but it was fairly flat and I passed another guy. Okay, I thought this is it, pick-it up. I ran through a water sprinkler a volunteer was holding and thanked him and then took off with everything I had left. I came down the hill, and saw the Walrus running up. He yelled something at me, but with my headphones I couldn't here. I was so focused on busting my ass down the hill to get the finish I just ignored him, but I was glad to see him. I could tell by his face he had broken his old PR time. I hit the bottom of the hill and could see the finsih about 150 meters or so. "Hold on, " I told myself. I did something I had never done before, I closed my eyes. I willed myself to run and pumped my arms so it would help pull my legs. I was almost done. C'mon keep going and don't look at the clock, just get to the cones. I forced myself through to the cones and hit the split, but wait the guy I passed ran by me to the guy collecting the BIBs and turned it in ahead of me. WTF???!!! Oh great, the shoot was before the finsih not after and I still had to run for another 5 seconds or so. Sh#t, I didn't know this because I had my headphones on and couldn't hear the volunteers. Apparently the first female had done the same thing along with a few other runners. My watch said 25:06. That was a PR by 34 seconds!!! I know I did not waist that much time walking through the shoot so I still got my own PR today. Wow!!!

I saw the Walrus and ran over to him with the good news. He had a big smile on his face and he knew something I didn't. "Did you get it?" he asked. "Yup I did!" and then I jumped on his back and gave him a big hug. He laughed and told me he hadn't stopped his watch and when he saw me he knew if I could hold on I would PR. I asked him what his time was and his smile got even bigger...17:52!!! I couldn't have been happier.

I hit a quick 10 minute cool-down and chatted with some friends to find out they had run great races too and then I hit the post race food. They had these awesome double chocolate chip muffins, pasta salad, rice and beans. It was so good. The Walrus won his age group and although my age group was 20-29 while everyone elses was 5 year age groups e-speed still pulled off an age group award. What a great frickin' night. I just need the official time now :)

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