You are supposed to run a 5K so hard that you feel like puking afterwards right? So, today could be considered a success. Alas, I am disappointed as my average pace really was fast enough for my sub 24 goal, but the course ran a little long (3.17 miles). But, I digress. Let me start from the beginning.
Last night there was a huge, windy, downpour of rain, thunder and lightening that caused my power to go in and out like crazy. Thankfully, my G was charged, since it was my last shot at an alarm. Anyone remember my Nashville trip??? This was starting to shape up to be similar. This is not my year for racing luck at all. At least the rain seemed to cool things off a bit.
Both alarms I had set woke me up. Shower, dressed, and Cytomax in hand I was off to the gas station for gas and a small coffee. Credit Card machines were down, so I bought my coffee with my last bit of cash and went across to the other evil BP station (not the good potty one) to get gas. Total time wasted 20 minutes. At least I had left 15 minutes early, so only 5 minutes late. Okay, plug the intersection of the race start in the GPS and off I go. Huh, can’t reach server? Try again later? Later I don’t care. It figures that this would be the one time I didn’t print out directions. Oh, well. I know where I am going, sort of, right? I called my mom just to verify and I avoided yet another roadblock.
Made it to the race start WAY before the packets were able to be picked up. I walked around the River Walk and took some photos. I made multiple potty stops and jogged a nice easy mile w/ some pickups. Thankfully, the weather though warm (70-75 ish) was still overcast. Lots of clouds and very little sun. I lined up, just a couple rows back from the front and just as the race was starting the clouds went away and there was the blazing sun beating down on us. There was a VERY loud groan from those of us runners who knew how awful this was. I was still very determined for my sub 24 and we were off.
I let the lead pack go and just tried to keep my pace a little faster, banking time for a crash toward the end. I was surprised to look down and see I was keeping a 7:15 or so pace. My first mile came in at 7:16. The second mile is normally where I lose it mentally, which leads to physical hurt and my pace slows a TON. Not today though. I felt strong heading into the turn around. I attribute this to a bit of shade cover from some buildings and bridges/overpasses. I grabbed a water cup, took a sip, and tossed it toward the can, making the shot!!! I “BP’d” and continued on. Dorky, yes, but one of the volunteers got a chuckle at least. Once I turned the corner heading east on the Riverwalk, right into the rising sun it was hot. Off in the distance I could see the finish line area. I kept repeating to myself “I can do anything for a mile and a half, then for a mile (mile 2 split – 7:34), then it’s only less than a mile.” Just keep your legs going, relax your breathing and keep the pace around 7:45 and you got your sub 24! I passed a couple people who had been in front of me for a while during the last mile as they started to fade. With about 1/2 a mile to go, I attempted to lay the hammer down and get it done. FAIL!!! I underestimated the affect of the heat and sun beating on me and was hit with the need to puke. My pace slowed down (8:06 – 3rd mile split) and I gave it my best shot to pick it for the last .1(7) – 7:54. Promptly after crossing the finish mat, I christened the grass w/ quite possibly all 16 oz of coffee I had drank earlier. Amazingly enough I had drank some Cytomax and ate a Clif bar too, but only the coffee re-emerged. A volunteer asked me if I needed anything and I just replied I’m fine, no worries. I grabbed a banana, granola bar, water and sat down in the shade. I felt better within 10 minutes or so. Chatted with a couple ladies, checked the results – 2nd in my age group w/ a chip time of 24:18.
Overall, I am VERY disappointed with my time. So disappointed I almost signed up for another 5K on Sunday. I know that coffee is bad for me on race day (especially in the heat), but I didn’t want to have a caffeine headache all day from not drinking any coffee until 10 AM. I should’ve taken my chances with the headache. Oh, well. I know that for next time. One encouraging thing though is that my average pace on my G said 7:40, which for 3.1 miles IS a sub 24 time. I felt stronger, longer for this race and didn’t fade until mile 3 when the sun started to really get to me, so for the first time I really am convinced that I have it in me. So, the mental hurdle has been crossed. I will get it next time.