The race is 5 miles. My previous 5 mile PR (of all time) was 47:16. Today, I ran (officially) 47:03 and came in 10th place which is the first time I have ever cracked the top 10 for this distance. I have done it for the 5k but never any longer race.
All that is wonderful, and I am thrilled, but here's how it went down.
I timed my warm up perfectly to finish right around race start.
I had talked to Coach earlier in the week after being a little stumped as to how to run this race. This race is 2.5 miles downhill and 2.5 miles uphill. Now, the hills are nothing serious, very mild but still affects pacing when the goal is to speed up throughout the race.
I told her that I usually run too hard at the start and my pace drops. What do I do? She surprised me when she said, "I'd hit that downhill. If you do, just remember, you're going to be in a world of hurt on the final 2.5 miles."
Ok. There you have it. What the hell? I mean really, why not just run it?
When the race started, it starts on steep downhill. I was running way too fast....as in blow up fast. I had to back off.
When I hit the first mile marker, I realized that I was running a PR pace. Can I do this? Can I run a PR today?
At that minute, I decided, "Yes. I'm going to run a PR today."
At the 2nd mile marker, I did "check systems"....."all systems go". I am feeling good, and I feel it in my legs, but I'm really ready to do this. I have my mile splits for the 1st and 2nd miles. I'm increasing my pace each mile.
At around 2.5 miles, my garmin vibrates....I mean really vibrates. I glance down at it, and I've lost satellites.
Ok. I have no idea what my pace is. I have no idea where I am with distance. Here's what we're going to do: effort must increase. I know I have around 2.3-2.5 mile left.
I can still make this PR happen. Note your time when you hit the mile markers.
At mile 3, I was around 28 minutes. I knew that to PR, I had to run 2 miles in 19 minutes, uphill. I can do this. My legs are starting to hurt, so I know I'm running hard. I wanted to ask the woman next to me what pace we were running, but I didn't want to ruin it. I thought "Just run. Just run hard. Don't worry about anything else. If you do that, you'll have a great race."
Mile 3 was the hardest mentally. I kept losing focus and slowing down. As soon as someone would try to pass me, that would snap me out of it, and I'd run harder.
The nice thing about this race is that I've run this course many many many times over the past 2 years. I know where 4 miles is. I knew that it was the hardest part of course. I knew that the 2 steep hills were coming.
But dammit, I'm going to get this PR.
Half a mile left. I start the first climb. It's so damn steep, it's more like hiking. But once I got over it, I knew I had about .25 miles left. I look at my watch 44 minutes. I have 3 minutes to run .25 miles up a bitch of a hill.
I can do it. I can do this. When I got to the top, the course flattens out, and I start sprinting as hard as I could go. I don't know if I have ever really run that hard. All I know is that I am very very close to a PR, and I don't want to lose it because I chose the easy path at the very end.
I crossed the finish line, and look at my garmin 47:02. Oh crap. I think that's a PR. I don't know. I can't think straight. Is it a PR?
I need a minute. I'm a little shaky. I get some water and gatorade and go run my cooldown. The whole time, I'm thinking "Did I PR"? I hang out for a few minutes and watch the 10 milers start. Then, I head back to the car.
Once I got there, I looked up last year's race (where I PR'd) sure enough 47:16. I just had a :13 PR. Not a huge PR, but a PR. I'm thrilled. I held on without knowing how fast I was running.
Once I lost satellite, I knew I had to feel my effort go up. I was running uphill. Effort was going to go up, but if I wanted a PR, it had to go up even more. I wasn't even sure if I could do that. So, I just stopped thinking and started running.
I did this without really trying. I admit to losing focus during mile 3. And Ok, I could have run harder the first 2 miles. As far as execution, I think I did a pretty darn good job.
Next week, I'm running a 5k. It's an all out effort and my last 5k of the season.
Hold on tight. This is gonna be good.