I was a smidgen late getting out the door today…imagine that? I had trouble getting to sleep last night and did not turn off my light until 2:30AM. I was up by 7:30AM and out the door to head to Arlington.
After picking up my number, I spent about 5 minutes stressing over which of the three shirts in my possession I should wear. The tri jersey doesn’t fit the hips just right. The regular green shirt doesn’t have Team Z on it. The winner was my white PRR/Team Z shirt. Before I knew it, it was go time. As we listened to the pre-race announcements, I fiddled with my laces and finished pinning on my number. I felt rushed before the run. I need to remember to plan better my entire race morning routine for my tri’s. It’s one thing to just go out the door for a 5k, but I want to be more diligent for my races the rest of this year.
We were off at 8:35AM. Within one minute I was running by myself…it was like a ghost town! But I had a race plan to follow so I told myself to not think much more about it. The course was an out and back on the Custis trail…which is all sorts of hilly. Seriously, it is VERY hilly. I already knew that I wasn’t going to break my PR so I focused on keeping my heart rate in zone 2 (for me zone 2 is between 125 to 133). It was around 65 to 70 degrees, but it was quite humid. I felt pretty good the first mile….I was straying a bit to a low zone 3 as I would spike while walking up the hills. I decided that I would rather push myself up the hill then worry about staying in my zone…while WALKING. It just seems wrong to be out of my zone while walking! First mile was done in 15:36. Crap! I was hoping that my pace was around 15:00 even.
During mile two I got passed by 3 walkers. Boo! The other runners were starting to head home, so I turned off my Ipod to cheer them on. After the turn around, I realized I was the last runner on the course…well, except for two tween girls on their cell phones! Thank you ladies for bringing up the rear! I put my headphones back on to get back in the “running by myself” zone. First song to queue up was “You are my Joy” by Reindeer Section. I immediately smiled. This song was on my very first running playlist back in the spring of 2005. Mile two was finished in 15:31…good, that was a bit faster!
I was still feeling really good at mile three. So good that I decided at this point to screw the zones…it’s a race after all! I realized that if I pushed it hard enough to do the last 1.1 miles in under 15 minutes, I could finish right at 46:00 minutes! Not a PR, but better than what I did at Scope it Out a few weekends ago. Also, 46 minutes is an overall pace less than 15:00 minute miles…and that sounded good to me! So that’s what I did, I just ran as fast as I could and didn’t worry. Occasionally I would look at my zones to see where I was (high 150’s and low 160’s). I passed the walkers..yay! At this point, they were taking up the whole side of the trail, and I had to swing wide to go around them, which wasted a lot of energy (more than I would have thought). Next time I will say “excuse me” and plow right threw them!
Finally, I was at the turn off from the trail…and it’s this ridiculous uphill to get to the road. I had to walk it….I was feeling a bit tired. I’m about .1 or .2 from the finish after the hill. It’s a flat stretch of road. I turn off my Ipod again to hear some of the cheers from my teammates! I look at my watch and see that I’m at 45:50….CRAP! I push it as hard as I can…crossing the finish line at 46:00 minutes exactly! That means I did the last 1.1 miles at around a 13:31 pace. That is CRAZY!
Janet and Rich were at the finish line with a bottle of water for me! I spent a few minutes teaching Janet my favorite new pose (looking over my shoulder to the camera) and then we mugged it up for Ed’s camera! The walkers came in and then the tweens came in and then the race was over.
I realized that I was the last runner to come across the line.
Being the last finisher has always been a big fear of mine. I worry that people will make fun of me. Silly I know…but sometimes I’m 12 years old. Today, I didn’t care….I had negative splits the whole race….and I actually raced the race. I was so proud of myself that I didn’t really care what others were thinking!
Ya’ll!!! That is awesome! I’m finally starting to see myself as an athlete!