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I DID IT! (Hook Mountain 5K, April 21, 2013)


Sunday, April 21, 2013

31:55. I can't stop smiling. I seriously wasn't even daring to hope that I'd break 35 minutes -- to break 32? That's crazy-sauce, people! And it feels SO good.

It is a gorgeous April day today. A little chilly, and a whole lot windy, but beautiful sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. We haven't seen a lot of that lately, so it was welcome.

I arrived at the race course (at a local state park) rather late, after a hectic morning. My husband is away, so I had to get up at 6 in order to get my son to my friend's house by 7:30. (I made it in and out by 7:35. This is good for me.) I hadn't pre-registered due to uncertainty over my leg and the baby-sitting thing, but the park is less than 10 miles from there, and check-in was supposed to be open until 8:15, so I figured I was good. Not so. First, this is a classic case of "you can't get there from here" -- all back roads, lots of stop lights, and so on. Second, the race (which shared a start time and most of its course with a half-marathon) was a LOT bigger than I thought it was, at least 1000 people. By the time I got there, the state park was collecting parking fees for the day, and there was a string of cars lined up at the entrance that must have been at least 15 minutes long. I didn't have 15 minutes! I wound up driving around to another lot and jogging the half mile or so to the start.

Then when I got there (around 8:10), they told me registration was already closed! I don't think I could have convinced them to just take my money and give me a number if another late-comer who arrived just behind me hadn't quoted the 8:15 time on the website and held up his cell phone with a big honkin' "8:12" flashing on the front of it. I don't know if I'll make it into the computer list as it is; it doesn't much matter. But I got in!

The course was WAY congested. As I mentioned, it turns out that it was a pretty big race, and for almost all of the 5K and the first 2.75 miles of the half marathon, it's on a ten foot wide path around a lake. I'd put myself way near the back for the start, and so things moved slowly at first (probably took me 10-15 seconds just to cross the start line). This suited me to a T, as I was worried about going out too fast and running out of gas later -- especially since I knew that the course, although dead flat, was going to run into a strong headwind on the more-exposed second half of the race.

I hit the first mile mark at 10:50 (time since start line maybe 10:35-10:40), a bit faster than I thought I would go -- or WAS going, for that matter. It didn't feel fast, though I assumed I wouldn't be able to keep it up the whole way. I'd timed myself for a few shorter runs on roads and trails near my house, and I really thought that 35 minutes might be too ambitious of a goal for the 5K. 10:50 (much less 10:35) is a lot faster pace than that. But I felt fine, so I just kept going.

The second mile time was 20:57 (10:07 since mile 1) -- um, OK? I don't think I've run a 10 minute mile in ten years, but I'm not arguing! I really thought I'd need to do a few serious slow-downs in the last mile, but it didn't turn out that way. I did back off a bit two or three times, but it was more in the nature of "take it easy here" than "I'm gonna die if I don't slow down". My legs just kept wanting to move faster, I guess.

The headwind was pretty brutal in spots, and between that and the slowdowns I assumed the last mile would be a lot slower again, but once I approached the finish line and saw the time was under 32 still I was just amazed. It turns out the last 1.1 miles I ran at a 9:54 pace!

My kind of aspirational goal all along has been to run a 5K under 30 minutes -- to me, and FOR me, personally, that's sort of my definition of "reasonably fit", and it's something I have not been in probably 20 years. About ten years ago, after a period of running 1 or 2 miles at a time for a few months, I managed a 5K in 30:54 (it about killed me), and so beating that is my immediate goal, but for the first time I can really believe I'll beat the big one too some time. That makes me feel good.

About a half mile into today's race, I took a look around me. The runners were all strung out on the path ahead of me and behind me. I was surrounded by people. The sky was blue and the lake was blue and the gone-wild forsythia was bright yellow, and the trees were just beginning to shade green. I felt like I belonged, like I was revisiting my self again after a long time away. I'm very happy.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
CRYSTALGARY 11/13/2013 3:34PM

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RONDLEW 4/26/2013 9:40AM

    emoticon emoticon
That is just SUPER!! How Exciting!!

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PRETTYPITHY 4/22/2013 2:21PM

    Super awesome time! I bet it feels emoticon so good!

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AKATHLEEN54 4/21/2013 10:41PM

    I'm so proud of you.... you did so great!! That was an amazingly good time and the best part is that you didn't seem to be affected by your let at all. It's remarkable considering the rough start you had with lateness, traffic, parking and almost not even being able to register. You're awesome. You should be very proud and very accomplished today. Now you can look forward to working on achieving your ultimate goal! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STAY39 4/21/2013 10:28PM

    Great job! emoticon emoticon so glad you were able to get reacquainted with your inner- athlete! emoticon

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/21/2013 6:55PM

    Congratulations! You deserve to be very proud of yourself.
There's definitely a sub 30 5K in your future.

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MJREIMERS 4/21/2013 3:12PM

    emoticon job! I'm just starting to run so you give me something to work towards. emoticon You should be so proud of yourself!!!! I can only hope that it will be me someday! Keep at it!

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PAMLICO-DAZE 4/21/2013 11:15AM

    Wow! Great time too. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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