May has been such a chaotic month! Running has taken a backseat to everything else in life. Hopefully this summer will be a bit calmer! Meanwhile, here’s a race recap from earlier this month. (which I’m just now finding time to publish…)
The Independence Park Trot is one of my favorite 5ks every year. The location is not far from my home, and the race is very flat and fast. The park surrounds a Bass Pro Shop, and a small lake makes for a very picturesque run. My mother and I left our house on Saturday, May 3 morning around 7:30 – “early” to most of the world, but just a normal Saturday for most runners.
The race was scheduled to start at 8:00. We found an excellent parking spot near the start/finish line, which was important for my mother, who has a bad knee. We were still a bit early so we stated in the car for another ten or fifteen minutes. We left the car about ten minutes before the start time and wandered over to the tents set up near the starting line.
Most of them were filled by hosts and sponsors from the community – a health food store, the hospital, a physical therapy office. One was filled with information about the Independence Health Department, who organized the run. A family friend works for the health department and was handing out complimentary bottles of water. We stopped to chat with her and saw another friend who was running the race.
At about five minutes to eight, one of the race officials got on the loudspeaker and announced that, due to a significant backup of vehicles entering the park, the race start would be delayed to give them a chance to arrive. My mother and I chatted while we waited.
At the Eagle Egg 5k earlier this year, I ran the first mile and half or two miles much too fast, and was out of energy to push during the third mile. For this race, my goal was to focus on saving myself for that last mile. On the night before the race, I read an article by Jenny Hadfield in which she recommended using colors for 5k pacing. Think of the first mile as “yellow”, the second mile as “orange”, the third mile as “red”, and the last .1 as “fire”. I liked this and intended to use this to pace myself.
At last we all crowded around the start line, the air horn blew, and the race began. During that first mile, I had many chances to see what kind of people came out for the race. It was a large and varied crowd, with several handicapped people (a wheelchair, a few prosthetic legs) and runners of all shapes and sizes. I focused on running “yellow” and forced myself to slow down.
In years past, the health department peppered the race route with signs containing little health facts, like “quitting smoking reduces your risk of cancer” or “the calcium in milk leads to stronger bones”. This time, the only signs were the mile-marker signs. For what it’s worth, I have no complaints about this. It’s a free race, and I would gladly sacrifice some signs to save money!
In mile 2, the crowd had stretched out, with the faster runners ahead and the walkers somewhere behind me. An aid station at the halfway point handed out cups of water, which I appreciated. I had a hunch that my pace was good – faster than my training runs, but slow enough to hold a bit in the tank.
When I got to mile 3, I thought again about the colors. Mile 3 is red. I dug in and really pushed during this mile. I really went onto autopilot – every thought, every bit of my energy went into my legs. I would use other runners to pace myself – trying to narrow the distance between myself and a particular runner, or passing another runner. It was both an incredibly long and an incredibly short mile!
Finally I came to the three-mile sign. During that last tenth of a mile, I really let go. I did not have much energy left, and honestly wasn’t sure if I could maintain my pace to the finish line! I crossed the finish line, but I couldn’t even speak for several minutes because I was breathing so hard!
My mom snapped a photo of me, then I stumbled over to the health department tent for another bottle of water. I was REALLY thirsty! Once I’d quenched my thirst, I went back to the finish-line area and clipped off my chip timer for the race company. My mother and I got into a (surprisingly long) line to get my chip time. Last year, I was given a defective chip and did not know my chip time. This year, thankfully, the chip timer worked. My chip time was 38:58.1.
After we came home and cleaned up, I looked up my Nike+ time and splits.
Woohoo! Check out those splits! This was definitely a champion race!
I’m going out of town this weekend, and my to-do list is a mile long. I’m determined to squeeze in a good run tomorrow – preferably a LONG run! We’ll see how that works out!