Thursday, June 5, 2014

Run Like the Wind

I have read that the definition of an elite runner is a runner who believes he or she can win. Not come in second, or first in their age group, but first for the entire race. The first male or female to cross the finish line.

Last month, I was an elite runner.

Having not run a 5K race in awhile, I decided it was time to find a 5K to see if I could still run fast. I am training for a marathon so my running style has changed quite a bit. I am now trying for distance, not speed. This means I have to run slower. Which is harder than it sounds.

So I woke up early Saturday morning and headed to the race. It’s a course I’ve run several times, very flat out and back. It was a fundraiser for the local zoo. Good cause even though I don't like zoos. Too sad to see animals pacing in cages.

Approximately 100 runners showed up. I was happy about that. I like to see a good turnout for a race because it makes all the work that goes into organizing a race worth it, and it lets me know how good or bad I’m doing. It’s hard to judge how well I really did when only 20 people show.

My plan for this race was to just run and not look at my Garmin. When I glance down at my time, I am either freaked out by how fast or how slow I am going and alter my pace. For this race, I was just going to run like the wind.

I lined up just behind the front runners and off we went. There were a number of young guys in front of me who all took off at the speed of light. Then there were a few slower runners who I quickly passed. The next runner in my way was a guy dressed in blue who kind of ran like a pony. Clomp, clomp, clomp. He wasn’t a big guy, but he sounded like he weighed 500 pounds. I passed him because I found his running style annoying. That turned out to be a mistake because he tucked in behind me and started clomping faster. Determined to get away from the clomper, I ran faster. He couldn’t keep up and the clomping faded a little. Next thing I knew the front runners were coming back at me. I counted five, then two more, then two more. I made the turnaround and headed back to the finish line. I was in 10th place with just the clomper behind me. I kept on the lookout for the first female still coming up on the turnaround. Finally I saw her, a young, thin girl who looked like she could really run if she wanted to. She was probably three-tenths of a mile behind me. She could be waiting to make her move for the second half of the race.

I did a quick assessment of my body. Legs - good. Lungs - good. Heart - good. A young guy came up along side me and slowly passed me. I was now in 11th place and the next female was probably gaining on me. I kept running.

When I got to within a half mile of the finish, I heard the clomper gaining on me. Determined to not let him or anyone else pass me, I gave it all I had. I would either win or run out or energy. I was running to win.

My time across the finish line was 23:02. The clomper wasn’t far behind with a time of 23:12. First female, yes! The second female was several minutes behind me.

First place and new PR!
This race had medals for the winners. I like medals over cheap plastic trophies. I proudly accepted my medal and a $10 gift certificate.

After the race, the clomper found me and said “nice race.” We talked for a few minutes. He was an older guy wearing a Boston Marathon shirt. He had run the 2104 Boston Marathon and said it was his last. He was getting too old for marathons. I told him I would be running my first marathon in October. I asked him if he had any advice for me. “Don’t go out too fast. You can’t bank time in a Marathon.”

I defiantly won’t be trying any elite moves in my marathon training, but it’s nice to know I can run like the wind when it comes to a 5K.

23:02 was a new PR for me. Now I have to break 23:00 before the running season ends. It's good to have goals. 

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