Last year around the time I found out a friend was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer I also discovered that another good friend has a history of Ovarian Cancer in her family. Having lost her Grandmother to the silent disease and having her Mom who is a survivor of it, Julianne introduced me to NOCC's Run to Break the Silence 5k. Last year this was my 5k training race as part of my 1/2 marathon training. By this point I was running 3x a week and running a 5k was a nice short distance in my increasing mileage. I remember feeling confident going into the race only to have my ass handed to me in what was 96 degree temps and a start of 5:30pm in Sacramento. It was a tough run and I really discovered how heat really makes a difference in your game plan.
Fast forward to this year and due to various germ infestations from my two lovely daughters my summer running has not been exactly what I had hoped for. As I'm getting ready to head out on my drive to Sacramento, Scott asks if I'm excited. "No, I have a headache and my shoulders and back are killing me". Okay, not the world's best attitude but I've been having some shoulder and neck issues that Dr. Bill and I are working out. Scott gave me a pep talk and I headed out. Of course once you get on site it's hard not to get excited. When I arrived I found Julianne and her family. Julianne makes a sign every year and carries it as she walks the course with her family.
As we approached go time Eric (Julianne's fiance) and I lined up to get ready to run. We were pleased that it was only about 86 this year, although standing there in the sun I still felt sweat trickling down my back. He asked what my time was last year which of course I had looked up before I left the house and it was 36:05. He asked if I had been running a lot lately. Hmm, well I ran 2 miles on Sunday and 1.5 on Wednesday. Then Eric asked when the last time was that I had run this distance... um... July. And then we were off! As I fiddled with all my devices, and crossed the start line I actually passed a girl on a Razor Scooter... um, really??? Are those actually allowed on the course? I eased my way into finding a nice pace and promised myself that I would not look at my watch to worry about the distance I had covered etc. About 1/2 mile in I experienced something I have never experienced before... dry mouth! I have never had this happen before, it literally felt like I had a mouth full of cotton balls in my mouth! I had hydrated really well all day and was just stumped as to why this was happening. I kept telling myself just get to the 1 mile mark and there should be an aid station shortly after it. I was a mess, this phenomenon was high;y distracting and definitely affecting me. I nearly sobbed when I ran past the place where the aid station had been last year to find nothing! This meant there was probably only one aid station on the course this year and I'd have to make it another 1/2 mile before getting to water.
I spent the next part of the course doing walk/run intervals to combat the dry mouth issue and the rising heart rate. I know from experience that I can actually overall be faster if I do intervals rather than trying to find a pace where I can run the entire course. I have never been so relieved to see an aid station, as I drank my cup of warm water it was nice to have some temporary relief from the cotton ball mouth. I continued my run/walk intervals which allowed my to actually run sub 10 minute paces during my run intervals. I was also working very hard to run the shortest part of the course. Even though it was 10 degrees cooler than last year it was still hot and I didn't want to have to run long, I did my best to run the shortest part of the course and seemed to be doing pretty well comparing it to the mile marker signs.
As I rounded the corner with about .40 miles to go I was pleased to see that the sprinklers were on again this year! I took the opportunity to run through them agai9n to cool off, maybe I should have tried to drink some of it as well, but I was learning how to survive with the dry mouth. You know all of the things you say to your self to get through your run? I always tell myself that that I can run for x amount more that's only this many minutes of running. I'm keeping a very close eye on my watch at this point and how much more I have to go because deep down I really want to beat last year's time, since it sucked so bad. Granted, I know I'm not running as much as I was then, but I'm a little smarter in my strategy and I know I can beat it. But damn I'm not sure I can push it anymore, I've been monitoring my heart rate and it's around 185 so I know I'm pretty much redlining it. With .25 miles left I can always run that to the finish line and I can usually pick up my pace. Which I try to do but crap my cardiovascular system is disagreeing with me. Back to intervals. Okay .10 miles, I think I can run this but it visually seems so far away even though I know it's not. So if I pass out or puke as I cross the finish line at least I know someone will be there to help me. They call my name as I'm coming in and they get it right this year! I cross the finish line at 34:46 and 1:19 improvement from last year.
After the feeling of wanting to puke passes and I drink a bottle of water I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. I am sure the 10 degree temperature difference helped me out quite a bit but I'm just so please that I found a way to keep one foot in front of the other and beat my time from last year. This course just boggles me, it's totally flat, but every year it kicks my ass. Racing in the evening and in higher temps for sure has an impact on my abilities. After it was all done I looked back at the data my Garmin had collected and found my max heart rate was 188. Yikes! The Garmin site also rates your activity with a training effect, this one was a 5 - Overreaching. LOL, that's a good representation of how I felt.
My friend Mary Sue was right, it did feel good to get back out there!
Official time 34:46