Friday, July 4, 2014

Westerville Rotary 4th of July 5K race recap

I kind of feel out of practice with race recaps... it's been over 2 months since I last donned a bib!  This was my second year running the Westerville Rotary 5K race, held each year on July 4th.  Last year, it was my 2nd-ever 5K.  I came in with big goals, and I was stoked to accomplish them.  My big goal was sub-25:30, and I went a 25:21. It was a huge PR for me (by 2 minutes and 44 seconds!), and I felt awesome about my race.  I placed 89th out of 435 runners, and was 8th in my age group (30-39 year old women).

Less than a month later, I ran my 3rd-ever 5K in 24:21, and that's where my PR has stood for almost a year, as I haven't touched a 5K race since then.  I just don't enjoy running 5K's.  They're too short and too fast for this lover of distances and negative splits.  That being said, I was really looking forward to today's race, for many reasons. One: several of my awesome friends were going to be joining me.  There was a huge representation from the Moms Run This Town group that I run with, and we arranged to meet up before the race for a picture.  A few of the mamas even met at my house and walk/ran to the race start with me!  Also, a couple of my "marathon buddies" (Stephanie and Carolyn), who I picked up during the full at Toledo, were going to be there too. I love seeing friends, it makes it more like a party than a race! 

#tbt The Glass City Marathon with Steph, Carolyn, and Elisa!

Two: the weather today was amazing.  I mean, couldn't ask for better. At race start it was 61 degrees, with 75% humidity.  Pretty much perfect for a July race.  And three: I had huge plans for this race. I have been training really well, and I just knew I was going to run well.

I had a pretty good night's sleep, and woke up 2 minutes before my alarm went off at 6:18 AM.  I had my banana, did my usual dynamic stretching routine, and before I knew it, it was 7:00 AM and my friends Laurie, Andrea and Christine had arrived.  Just like last year, I had planned to walk a mile, then do an easy 1-mile run, to the start of the race, which is almost exactly 2 miles from my house.  My friends thought that sounded like a great plan, especially since parking isn't so great at the race start, so they joined me.  It's so much more fun with people coming along!  We chatted our way to the start, and met up with some more moms from our MRTT group.  There were actually a total of 13 of us running in this race, so this picture doesn't include everyone.

 Love my MRTT mamas!

After our pic, I did a few more dynamic stretches and some quick strides (short sprints) to get my legs moving.  I felt good. Nervous, but good.  I headed up to the race start where I was stoked to find Carolyn and Stephanie.  Carolyn had forgotten her watch, so she planned on hanging with me for the first mile at least.  The race start kind of snuck up on me (I was having so much fun chatting with my friends); all of a sudden, Steph's husband Nate said the race was starting in 30 seconds and I was shocked!  But again, I felt ready.  Carolyn and I took off, and my friend Jen (our honorary MRTT cheerleader for the day) was right there cheering us on.  I love to hear her voice during a race! 

The first mile pretty much went perfectly.  I had told Carolyn that I wanted to go around 7:15, and that is exactly what we went.  I lost her right at the 1-mile marker.  I felt pretty good, although I could tell when we were about halfway into the race that my plan of negative-splitting this race (going faster each mile) wasn't going to happen.  I tried my best to keep my eye up ahead on Andrea, who is Jen's super-speedy friend.  She wasn't too far in front of me, and watching her kept me focused.  Mile two clocked in at 7:15 again, which I was surprisingly fine with.  I felt I could push mile 3 and end up with a strong finish.  

It was at around mile 2.1 or 2.2 that I realized that I just didn't have it in me.  My pace was inching up.  I started to have trouble regulating my breathing, which isn't usually a problem for me.  I kept telling myself that there was less than a mile to go, that I could do this, but I just couldn't go any faster.  I still was passing people, but my pace wasn't where I wanted it to be.  Mile 3 ended up being my slowest, at 7:21.  I was able to push the final 0.18 of the race (it was a bit long, probably due to the winding trail we ran on), finishing that part of the race in a 6:41/mile pace.  I definitely gave it my all at the end there, and I knew that I was going to be close to a sub-23, which was my "A" goal for this race.  Jen was cheering for me at the finish, and I just kept hoping it would be over soon! 

Jen's pic of me at the finish

Sure enough, I passed under the finish arch in a 23:02 on my Garmin, and that was also my official race time.  I can't be upset with a 1 min 19 sec PR, right?!!  I'm happy with the PR, but I honestly felt like I'd go faster today.  I was even more bummed when I found out that I just missed out on an age group award (the top 2 girls in my age group were 1st and 3rd overall, so I was 4th in the age group awards).  Final place was 6th out of 88 in the 30-39 women, and 64th out of 607 total runners.  Looking at those numbers, compared to last year's, I really have improved a ton.  I am not an experienced 5K runner, so I know I can only get better.   I already have a goal of placing in my age group next year--I want a Fleet Feet (running store) gift card! 

After milling around chatting with my friends, watching people finish, and taking more pictures together, we got some food (bagels, bananas, and of course Cheryl's Cookies!).  We stayed for the awards ceremony as Andrea had won 1st place in her age group (40-49), and then Jen dropped off Andrea, Christine, Laurie and me at my house.  It was a really fun race, and I'm so glad that I did it.  I need to be proud of that shiny new PR!  I just know that I've got bigger things in store, and that fire in my belly grew a bit stronger after today.

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