A couple of months ago I decided that the way I really wanted to spend my birthday was to run! The See Jane Run always gets me with the chocolate and champagne at the end. The nice part about racing on your birthday is that you have options. I could treat this as a fun run and enjoy myself or I could actually race it and try to earn a new 5k PR. Let's just say I left it up until the very last minute to make that decision.
Since I hadn't been able to get my bib on Tuesday I made my friend Alice meet me at 6:30am so we could carpool and so I could get my bib before it got crazy. While we had lots of extra time to stand around, I was glad we had gotten there early since the line at 8am was ridiculous! We debated most of the morning about wearing our pull-overs or not and finally decided to check them.
I went into this race the least prepared ever for a race. Yesterday was Sydney's Birthday party, followed by time trials for her swim team. Besides being on my feet all day yesterday I was also in the sun all afternoon. Let's not even talk about hydration and nutrition. This is not how I would typically prepare for a race but I wasn't worried since by the time last night rolled around I had it in my head that it would be a fun run and that I just wanted to go out and enjoy the day. And then that plan went to shit pretty quickly.
The start of the race was a bit confusing, I didn't hear a countdown and I didn't hear a horn blow or anything. It was simply the wall of people in front of me moving. Now that I think about this, it probably has something to do with the City or East Bay Parks. I do remember there being lots of noise rules because it's a residential area. Once I crossed the timing mat I quickly found an opening to the left and took it. Oops, guess I should have said bye to my friends or something.
I had a huge smile on my face, it felt good to be running and it was my birthday. This was exactly what I wanted to be doing on my 37th Birthday! Then I quickly realized that I felt good and I was here, so why not try for a PR? If I didn't earn one I had lots of good excuses for why I didn't. Staying to the left of the group seemed to work pretty well for getting around people so I didn't have to do too much zig-zagging through the crowd. At some point I realized I was listening to the Mini-Mermaids playlist (a clean bunch of fun songs for the girls that I coach) so I readjusted my playlist. I headed out pretty hard, probably too hard but I was really having FUN!
There was some confusion on the course, as we approached an aid station there were no volunteers handing out water and I didn't have enough time to make my way over to it anyway. I reminded myself it was a 5k and that I would be fine. When we hit the turn-around it appeared that we would not be returning on the path like last year but staying on the street. This was fine at first as most of us managed the two way traffic, but as we hit the walkers it became impossible, I was getting hit on both shoulders trying to navigate through the oncoming crowd. I'm pretty sure I wasted more energy on this than I did at the start of the race navigating around others. Eventually I gave up and hit the path but then was stuck behind slower runners. It was frustrating that the path hadn't been marked better or that weren't people advising the walkers to stay to the left for the folks on the return leg. Eventually I made my way through the crowds. The last mile hurt, I had a side cramp the entire last mile, which was reflected in my pace. Some pain you can push through, some pain you can't. This was definitely pain I could push through.
With about 3/4 of a mile left I checked my pace. I was still running sub10 minute miles which was where I needed to be to earn a PR. I told myself to just maintain my pace and I would be earning a birthday PR! As I got closer to the finish line I looked at my overall time and I was at 29:45, I knew I was going to earn a PR but I was hoping to get as close to 30 minutes as possible. Thankfully I had it in me to sprint to the finish and pass a few people along the way to come in at 30:12! Shaving 1:14 off of my last 5k PR time.
I certainly had no idea I had that in me today, I wasn't even sure I would earn a PR and if I did I felt like I could shave off 30 seconds, maybe. I guess this means next time I have to go sub 30 :)
|My friend Alice - racing 8 months postpartum!|
|Mary-Sue and I celebrating PR's!|