"A New PR"
"A Day of Reckoning"
"Chili Bowl 5k Race Report"
All these titles could have headed this post. I didn't know how to do it justice, so I just settled on the time itself to say it all.
I had gotten a terrible nights sleep before the race just dozing here and there for a bit at the Walrus's house and when the alarm went off I was already awake. The walrus was nice enough to make me coffee and oatmeal (my usual pre-race breakfast ). I fidgeted around with Z watching cartoons and procrastinating, postponing leaving for as long as possible. It was nerves.
I had been taking my iron pills religiously for months now, trained hard and maintained my weight at 130 lbs. Today was the day I would find out if I was forever going to be only an 8:00 minute miler. I began worrying that I wouldn't break the 8:00 minute barrier. I thought I'd probably gotten slower and would end up somewhere between 26:00 and 27:00 minutes today. I was trying to prepare myself for a disappointing race. Realizing I could no longer wait if I did want to race I had to say goodbye. I kissed Z and the Walrus and headed out to my fate.
Traffic was light and packet pick-up was quick. I ran into AS and my now nemesis, CS. He began teasing me about kicking my ass today and having chili waiting for me at the finish, since he would be first. I laughed, but secretly I was really worried he was gonna crush my time. We made a bathroom stop quickly and I headed out for a warm-up.
I ran into Daisy who was also warming up and we jogged around chatting about the not so warm morning. It was 16 degrees. I stretched out a little before the race began and then took my place next to AS and CS for the start. AS said she felt too far up and was going to get passed so she bailed and went a bit farther back. I usually finish in the 50th percentile and I knew there were about 400 or so runners today and we were way closer than 200, so I opted to go back with her. CS was staying put. I told him I'd see him at the finish and went to stand with AS. Man was I STILL all nerves.
My heart was pounding so hard. I couldn't tell if it was from the warm-up or I was just that nervous. I was running without my headphones so I could concentrate on my race. I had even opted for just tights and no pants so as not to restrict me in case of wind. I knew the first turn was to the left but we were positioned in the middle of the pack on the right and I was worried we would get trapped. I was even double checking my shoes to make sure they were double knotted, but not too tightly. Finally, though thank goodness the race started and I had to stop worrying about everything and focus on only the race. AS and I wished each other luck as we crossed the mats for our first 5k of the season.
I was a bit warmer than I would have liked, but it was only 3 miles and I wasn't worried about overheating as we started out. The first part of the race is less than a 1/4 mile and on a decline, so the race started out pretty fast, but you make a sharp left and there ahead of you is THE BRIDGE. We have run quite a few races downtown and know the bridges are about 1 milea and the first 1/2 is always uphill. I was prepared. I had been running hills on the treadmill and riding on my trainer frequently the past two months. I told myself I was back on the treadmill and just had to get through this interval. I stayed relaxed and pushed forward. A few people passed me going up, but I definately passed a lot more than I got passed. I felt strong, but didn't feel any faster than last year. I even thought I might be running too slow my first mile and might come through in the high 8's or low 9's for my first mile. Oh well, I settled in to try my best. I came over the bridge and knew the first mile was just ahead. "7:40!!" I heard a girl call at the split. Holy Shit!!!! I wasn't even hurting and I knew I was about 10 seconds behind the clock, so I was really at 7:30. Last year, I would run a 7:50 mile and blow up. Today I was 20 seconds faster and fine...hhhhmmmmm. This could be dangerous.
I made the turn into Ohio City for the second mile and there was CS just ahead. He had a red bandana on so he was easy to see. I was excited. I might be able to get really close to his time today. I focused on him and kept my body relaxed. He turned another corner, but not before looking back twice!! I couldn't resist a wave. He waved me off and turned back. Now, I was always told to look back is a sign of weakness, so of course I never look back. CS always does it though so I can never tell with him. I made the turn and there he was again, but I was closer. He looked back and laid on a surge. I let him go. Now was not my time to go after him, so I held my pace. He put about 20 additional meters between us before slowing. I began reeling him in again. We came to the second mile at 15:40. Another Holy Shit!! I was sub 8:00/miles for my first 2 miles and still holding it. I did note though I had run an 8:00 minute second mile though (booo). I knew then and there breaking my old PR was definately doable. I was not going to back down today.
The final mile starts with a little straight-away before turning back to recross the bridge. Here is where I caught CS. We ran together to the bridge pushing each other. I was starting to hurt. I knew the bridge was gonna be tough. CS thought the same thing as he said "oh shit, not this damn bridge again.... I hate it." I looked over at him and said "keep your head up, focus on what's ahead, use your arms to pull yourself up the bridge." He gave me a nod and with that I took my own advice. I concentrated on getting to the crest of the bridge. I could feel my legs were getting more and more tired. I was almost there. I looked back, but CS had faded back and I yelled "C'mon" motioning him to catch up. I debated whether I should go back for him, but today was my day. I had been fighting for this moment and training my ass off. A surge of anger for having to struggle to get this far washed over me and I pushed on. I told myself to use the downhill for recovery and keep my foot turn over quick. My anger pushed me past more runners to the final corner.
I hit the last turn and could see the red lights on the clock, but I couldn't read it. Hermes always has a split person at mile 3 and I heard him yell 23:03. DAMN, I wasn't just going to break into the 24's and PR, I could go sub 24:00 if I laid it all out there. Uphill to the finsih, I pumped my arms forcing myself to watch the clock as it got closer and closer to 24:00. "C'mon Bethy, just hold on, hold on," just like I do with all my hard workouts and I hit my watch....23:52 unofficially!!!!!! I had finally done it. I had become a sub 8:00 minute miler. I was grinning from ear to ear and did the Tiger Wood's victory fist as I looked at my time. CS came through less than a minute later. I gave him a hug and asked if he was okay before going back for AS and TZ and a cool down. I felt great. The monkeys were off my back.
I called the Walrus who wasn't quite as excited, because he knew long before this day I would run well. He congratulated me, but added he thought I would have run a 23:45 actually. Uuugggghhh!!! He is such a pain :) Official results finally came up late last night and I was wrong. I didn't run a 23:52. I ran a 23:42. I called the Walrus to tell him I had actually exceeded his expectations and beat his 23:45. He let out a laugh and said he loved me. I laughed to. It was a great day for me:)