So my plan today said, “5 k run for fun.” Thats all it said.
I decided it meant a race. And Skeletor was alright with that. He told me to run it for fun, not to Kill myself with it.
I said, Yeah yeah…but I was hoping to PR, badly, even though it was for fun.
I roped in my friend Lisa in to running it and then 3 other guys from our Central Florida 5K Klub joined us as well.
There was no really local Turkey Trot in our area on Thanksgiving, so we ended up driving up to Ocala, Florida, about an hour away.
That hour made a difference in the weather. It was SO cold. 45 degrees. Because of the cold, and probably more because our other shutterbug friend did not run, I have no photos to share of the event.
I did get to wear my super cute running beanie!
So we got there, and got our packets. Apparently they have had issues with people pulling off the timing “chip” that is attached to the back of the bib. We had already gotten one email, and as we picked up the packet the lady looked us right in the eye and said, “Now don’t pull those off!!!!” We got the number pinned on, and went on our Merry way to change my shoes and take off some jackets. There were tons of joggers with strollers and dogs…apparently this is quite the event in Ocala!
We lined up at the start and it was a very odd start. No Speeches (thank goodness), No National Anthem (which I missed) and no Gun/siren/air horn to let us know we were going. The event had about 1700 people, solo it was crowded.
Most starts have some sort of something marking it.
See the Balloon arch. See we can ALL see it, so even if you are in the back..you know where the race officially starts. This race. NOTHING. Since there was no start time that I heard, I shuffled up with the other folks from our little Klub and we all laughed a bit as we tried to figure out where the start was. And then I saw the starting mat and realized this was it. BAM! So I hit Go on the Garmin and tried to run it out.
The crowd was pretty deep to begin with, but that was no issue, since most people were starting out too fast. Within about a quarter of a mile, people were pulling over to the side and walking. I kind of used the Point and go method that I learned a long time ago. I don’t see others using this, but if there is a hole and I want to move forward in a group of runners, I point to the spot, then I GO. people usually get out of the way.
I was running along at about a 9:30mm pace which is nice and speedy for me. In the first mile I felt that I might not be able to sustain this pace, so, I tried very hard to just kind of keep going. I had looked up the night before what pace it would take to get to a 30 minute 5K. So I was trying to pull back so I wouldn’t burn out later….If you wonder why I was so concerned, Look HERE. Anyway. There were some longer gentle hills in the race, and not knowing the course, I started to get a bit concerned as the hills were not not that easy and kind of seemed to be never ending…but eventually it did go back down and the last mile seemed to be a lot of downhill- whereas much of the 1st and second mile seemed to have been up a gentle but persistent slope. Mile one ended up being a 9:43 pace. Mile Two was about a 9:44 pace. Mile 3 had me worried. I kept expecting to need to slow down, or walk or STOP for some reason. It never happened. Eventually in mile Three, things started to be downhill and I took advantage of that. Mile three, reflecting the downhill was at a 9:18 or so pace.
When I crossed the Finish Line, the time clock said 30:30. Once adjusted for the chip that I did not rip off my badge…LOL…It was 29:43 In some ways this represents a significant achievement. If you Google “how to break 30 minutes in a 5K” you will find pages of advice regarding doing just that. I admit I was pretty stoked about it. When I finished all 3 of our 5K Klub fellows were there. They all heartily congratulated me, even though every single one of them had totally SMOKED me! Lisa, who had just run a PR half marathon about 5 days before came in shortly after me, looking really fresh like she had not exerted herself at all!!!
After that of course we drove home, Lisa made fabulous pancakes, and I was grateful for her friendship.
As I was running the race however, I reflected on what a difference a year can make. Last year, at this time I was still in Physical Therapy just trying to run up to 2 miles at any speed. Now, I’m training with the same said Skeletor, but running rather well. In face, i never really thought I’d break 30 in a 5K, just because I’m not all that speedy.
So yes, Very Thankful today for Running!