What a day! Today was my 1 year Runiversary race! I have been running off and on for years, with injuries, but last year I finally was able to run my first 5K. You can read about that journey here.
In any case, this past year has been the year I really trained and realized that I AM a runner. It's also been the year that I realized that I am going to run the Princess Half, something I have been dreaming of for over three years now. Today I wanted to run the 10K instead of the 5K because I wanted to see if I could improve on my time to submit to Disney. I ran my first 10K back in June and submitted it when I registered, but was hoping to shave a bit of time off that. I went into it this morning not sure I could do anything of the sort, being out for over a month and a half with an injury has slowed me down. Dallas didn't want to run, so I was solo this morning! It was dark still when I left, I had some petsitting to do on the way.
It was also COLD! 42 degrees this morning for the start. After doing my petsits, I drove to where the race was. I had picked up my packet Friday and found out it was the exact same route as last year's 5K, and the 10K is just a double loop. I figured I would like this and I was right. The hills, not so much, but I knew there were quite a few of them and for some bizarre reason I seem to plow through hills, so I was hopeful.
The great thing about small races (about 100 people) is that you just don't have the same issues with crowds or parking. I parked right on the street in front of the start/finish, I could see it when I got out of my car. I was able to sit in the car until 15 minutes before the race, which was good b/c it was freezing!
The start/finish was just past that stoplight, you just cannot see it with the SUV in front of me. I stayed warm in the car, made a trip to one of the two port-a-potties and waited until close to race time so I wouldn't freeze waiting. When I finally got out, I was nervous about standing around alone. This was my first race I haven't had people with me, but it was fine! I stood with a few other people and we ended up chatting until it was time to start. I'm normally really shy with new people but this felt comfortable for me.
Right on time, everyone lined up. It's funny with small races, they tell the fast people to get in front and almost EVERYONE starts backing up and laughing. I think it's the opposite with big races, so I find it amusing when it happens. I was so cold but as soon as we started I warmed up. I don't remember thinking I was cold at all the rest of the time. I took my gloves off at the end, even.
I don't want to put people to sleep, I know I get really detailed about my races, you can skip it all if you want! I started off slow and continued to try to pace myself the first 3 miles. I have trouble starting out too fast and I really wanted negative splits for this race. About a half a mile in, after everyone had already started to spread out a lot, two women dressed as Wonder Woman passed me. They didn't pass me super fast and I decided that I wanted to try to keep them in sight as long as I could. This worked out really well for me! I know some people like to focus on someone and try to pass them, but I knew if I did that I would fizzle out too fast.
The hills were a pain and there were many, but I started watching the garmin closer on them and realized that I could buzz down a hill at a superfast speed (without much effort) and then that speed I gained, I would lose going up, but still it wouldn't hurt my overall time. I did this for all the hills and it really helped. I only took two walk breaks for just seconds, one on a huge hill and one the only time I went through a water station.
I continued to follow the Wonder Women, sometimes they would turn a corner and I wouldn't be able to see them, but I would eventually spot them in the distance, their blue capes helped.
I tried not to speed up too much coming into the 5K, everyone was clapping and cheering b/c they had no way of knowing who was finishing and who was continuing on. It caused me to speed up, but I slowed down after that to catch my breath. It really thinned out at that point when only the 10K people were left. I could only just see the Wonder Women and when I looked back I saw a couple people behind me. It was nice though, I just ran like I was training but trying to find a balance with pushing but not too much.
It flew by the 2nd half and as I approached the water station/little turn around onto another street, I just passed it by. The guy coming down the hill behind me waved and said he would catch up with me soon and I laughed and told him he probably would! Naturally, I wasn't about to let that happen, and that lit a fire under my ass for the last .75! I could see that I was going to PR but I was unsure by how much, so I dug deep and really pushed that last half a mile. as we rounded the corner and headed towards the finish, the Wonder Women had just finished and one of the event coordinators was cheering me on and said something about the guy behind me. I turned and saw him coming closer and I just full on out sprinted! I was laughing, I'm not sure how, since I couldn't breath, but I was! There was no way I was getting passed right before the finish! LOL. I crossed the finish line without being passed, and the guy came up to me a bit later, and told me I was just like his x-wife...he kept thinking he was going to catch me but I would always take off! ;)
My garmin said 1:04:40 and I was over the moon, but still unsure of my exact chipped time. I went over to the Wonder Women and thanked them for letting me chase them the whole race. They naturally had no clue I was doing that or that I was even behind them, but we had a good laugh about it. We were supposed to head down to the Brewery to get our free beer and that is where they would be doing awards, so I walked down there. It was open just for the runners and it was so nice to sit with a beer and relax. One of my closest friends and her husband co-own this brewery and it's just the coolest place even when I'm not hyped up on a runners high with a PR! The Cream Ale was fantastic and just what I needed after that run.
I got my beer and worried that I would feel awkward since I didn't know anyone, but I happened upon a girl I had been standing with before the race and I talked with her and another woman she was talking to. It was great! She took my picture.
BTW, no finisher medals in a small race, but at least I got a free beer, right? We sat down and waited for the awards and it was just really nice. I think it was the nicest time I have ever had after a race. The Wonder Women even came in and sat down next to me, so more people to chat with! As they went through the awards, I started to get excited because I realized that since it was a small race, there was a chance I would place in my age.
I was pretty sure when Wonder Woman #1 won 3rd in her 30-39 age division and then Wonder Woman #2 won 1st place in her age division 40-49. I knew I was next because there was no one between me and them when we were running. Sure enough, I placed 2nd in my age division! When I went up to get my water bottle prize, she gave me a hat too, saying they liked my skirt, so I got extra! LOL. Thank you Sparkleskirts! It might have been the beer going to our heads, but we decided to take our picture together with our prizes. Yep, me and 2 other women I don't know! I love the running community.
Everyone started to thin out at that point and I was ready to head home for a shower. As I was walking out I asked my official time and it was 1:04:47! Seriously not even something I had considered, I was hoping for maybe 1:06 before the race, so I was really excited about it. When I got home I immediately emailed RunDisney with my change in proof for the Princess Half and I'm excited that it might get me a smidge closer in corrals! Fantastic run today, it might even be my favorite to date!
Ahhhh, just one step closer to having my precious! ;)
Ahhhh, just one step closer to having my precious! ;)
So do you socialize with other runners when you are alone? I didn't think I would be able to since I'm normally pretty shy, but it was a blast!