Monday, July 15, 2013

Amazing new PR

Saturday I ran in a local 5K race. My goal was 23:58. I wanted to break 24 minutes so bad. Well guess what? I did it!

As usual, I ran a very fast half mile. I lined up right behind the front runners and followed them until the excitement subsided a little and I had to force myself to slow down. The course was fairly flat with just two small hills and then downhill to the finish. I ran it last year and finished with a time of 28:40. That was last year.

At the one mile mark, I was still moving along pretty good, but runners were passing me by. It seemed like a lot. I let them go and just kept running. At a mile and a half, a familiar runner pulled up beside me. “Kathy” is a good two minutes better than me in most races so I decided I would keep pace with her for as long as I could. She glanced over at me several times with a rather confused or perhaps annoyed look on her face. “Why is this girl still with me?”

At two and a half miles she started to inch ahead. My legs were feeling a little tired so I let her go. I needed energy for the finish and still had a ways to go. Bye-bye Kathy. Thanks for the ride.

As I neared the bridge that would take me to the finish line, the clock read 23:06. Yes! That tiny bit of energy I had saved for the end kicked in and I flew across the bridge and down the slight hill to the finish line. So did some big strapping dude behind me. Another few steps and he would have beat me, but it was too late. The race was over. My time: 23:27.

Green shirt, blue shorts, heading to the finish line. 23:24 on the clock with just a few steps to go.
On Sunday, the results were posted and guess who was number one for the 40-49 age group? Me! And guess who won women’s masters? Not me, but Kathy, with a time of 23:00. I was only 27 seconds behind her. A slow race for Kathy, but an excellent race for me. Overall, I finished 61 out of 332 runners

As thrilled as I am with this time, it’s going to be a hard one to beat in my next 5K which is in a few weeks. I always try to do just a little bit better in every race. Can I do better than this?

A year ago I was running in the 28s with visions of 26 or less way in the future. But in my next few races, I hit 26.

Can I really run a number that starts with 22? Seems absolutely impossible at the moment, but I’m going to try. And hopefully Kathy will be having a better day so I can ride her coattail just a little bit faster.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Interesting 4th of July 10K

Up the hill to the finish line.
For the 4th of July, I ran a rather tough 10K race. The course description was “moderately difficult”. Having survived the “very difficult” Vestal 20K, I wasn’t that concerned.

The raced started off fine, then quickly  went downhill, literally. I’m terrible at downhill and lost time negotiating a very steep downhill plunge. Many people went flying by me. I guess downhill is something I need to practice, because if I had kept my current pace, I would have been flying too, probably on my face.

The next mile was mostly uphill. No trouble there except that I did slow down a little. Then the race took a turn onto a dirt road. It was well packed so that was no problem as long as I kept my eyes on the road and avoided rocks. Running shoes tend to be very thin-soled.

Then the coursed took a turn onto a bridal trail. Bridal as in horse. This trail was tricky. It was narrow, very rocky, and in places, very wet and muddy. It has been raining for weeks and there were some large muddy puddles on the trail. I followed the runners in front of me and made my way around all the obstacles. I turned my ankle when I stepped wrong to avoid a root, but recovered and kept on going.

After two miles of this madness, the trail dumped back onto a road. The race was part of a day of festivities and the road was packed with traffic. The speed limit was 20, but there was hardly any room on the shoulder of the road. This made passing other runners kind of impossible. When there was a driveway for a gas station, I managed to pass one runner. That was the only break I needed because the next runner was a good 30 seconds ahead of me and I never got any closer.

A half mile from the finish line, I was directed to cross the road when I could. Yeah, right! Seeing a small break in traffic, I sprinted to the other side and risked my life running with the flow of traffic.

The finish line was uphill, of course, and after I made the final turn off the terrible road full of cars, I was ready to end this race and gave it everything I had to cross the finish line.

My time for the 6.28 mile crazy race was 53:37. Not bad really considering the “moderately difficult" course.

Another medal to add to the collection!
After the race I hung around to see some of the vendors and wait for the awards ceremony. I estimated there were around 150 runners in the race and I had no idea how many were in front of me. Turns out, not many. I was second for my age group (40 to 49) and received a second place medal.

My overall place was 38 out of 119.

I guess it was an interesting race. I ran it because it’s one I’ve never run before. I could have done without the mud and big rocks, but the trail part was kind of fun. I guess.

My next race is a 5K on July 13th. It’s a flat
course I know well and my goal is to set a PR. I want to see 23:something on the clock when I cross the finish line. I don’t care if it’s 23:59, just as long as it starts with 23.