Surprisingly, the weather Saturday morning was cool and pleasant. I even wore a light jacket over my running gear on the way to the race. I got there 30 minutes early, but between checking in and gabbing with the girls I didn't have time for a warm up.
Over the past couple of weeks I've had some lingering soreness in my left calf, so I opted to run the race wearing a compression sleeve. I didn't feel comfortable running on cold muscles, but there was no time to do otherwise.
For a first time race, there was a pretty good turn out - over 100 racers participating. Kelly and I have spent too much time stuck behind jogging strollers, so we also position ourselves towards the front when possible. We always get passed by faster runners, but I race better getting passed then having to work to pass those slower than me.
The course was flat(ish). Certainly not the flattest I've ever ran, but the bumps (I won't go so far as to call them hills) weren't large enough to really affect race strategy. Shortly after the start, I turned on my music and settled into a comfortable pace.
Mile 1: 8:19
I question before the race if my Garmin would help or hurt, and decided to go ahead and wear it. I tried not to look to it too much, but was very encouraged to see my pace at the first mile marker. I was feeling comfortably challenged.
I cheered on the leaders as they met me between the 1 & 2 mile markers (it was an out and back course), and was surprised to see my Garmin said the turn around was 1.46 miles into the race. Some races have a different start/end point, so I assumed the finish line would be a bit further into the road, or up the parking lot.
Mile 2: 8:36
While the temperature was a mild 68* the humidity was still up in the high 70% range. By this point in the race I was beginning to tire. As I pushed myself to maintain my pace, I started wheezing. For me wheezing is the sign of pushing my limits.
I crested the last bump before the quarter mile finish and took off. Don't think, don't look at your watch, don't do anything but run like the wind. As I got closer to the clock, I noticed it read 24:XX. No way I would get there before it flipped over, but a 25 minute 5K was still a PR by almost 2 minutes.
Mile 3(ish): 8:07
As soon as I crossed the finish line, one of my daily mile pals congratulated me, then burst my bubble with 2 words "short course."
Turns out my last mile was an 8:46 m/m average pace - but it wasn't a full mile. The course was only 2.93 miles instead of the 3.1 miles a 5K is supposed to be. This was super disappointing to me, especially when I used a pace calculator to determine my time (if I used my average pace) would have been 26:30 - a true PR by over 20 seconds for me.
Thankfully, the day wasn't a total waste - I took 2nd in my age group!
And for the Jay Fradds of the world - no, there weren't only 2 people in my group. I finished 2nd out of 9! 3rd place was a full 2 minutes behind me. 1st place was 22:XX so no amount of pushing would have gotten me a better standing. Not bad for Asthma girl if you ask me!
Final Time - 25:04 (gun time)/2.93 miles
I quickly grabbed a water, had my chip cut off my shoe, and headed back on the course. The friend who'd asked us to do the race was walking by herself, so I trotted out to meet her. We did the last half mile together, and when we were about a tenth of a mile from the finish, I made her run. I picked it up to a sprint and yelled for her to match my pace. She made it in 39.19 (gun time) - an excellent time for walking the majority of the race! I am incredible proud of her!
I wasn't the only one of the group to take home bling - out of our group we walked away with 2 silvers and 2 bronze awards! (I love that the a/g awards were in gold/silver/bronze like the Olympics.)