Today, the first day of the new year, I ran a 5k with every intention of cruising across that finish line in anything resembling 29:XX.
I picked up my shirt & race bib on Friday afternoon. I was less than thrilled to see my bib number was the exact same as Reindeer Run. Bad omen? I think so.
Since the race was at 2pm, there wasn’t pressure to get to bed early or the need to abstain from enjoying a few glasses of bubbly to celebrate New Years Eve. Breakfast was eggs, bacon and toast, with a tall glass of Nuun and a large mug of coffee. At noon I had a couple pieces of thin crust pizza, and another glass of Nuun. I was ready and out the door by 1:15.
I made it to St. Phillips United Methodist Church in plenty of time. I stretched out my tight right calf and then we were herded towards the starting line. The wind was at our backs, which would be awesome on the way out but brutal on the return.
After the National Anthem and prayer, we were off!
I had positioned myself pretty close to the starting mat but once we crossed I was being passed by tons of people. I refused to look at my pace, running simply on effort alone. About a quarter mile in, I glanced down at my Garmin to see how slow I could possibly be going to be passed by that many people. It was 8:15.
Apparently no one had gotten the memo saying you shouldn’t go out fast. Just before the first mile marker all of the sprinters had either slowed down considerably or were walking. I picked them off one by one and kept cruising, hitting mile 1 in 9:25.
The second mile was mentally tough for me. I was going back and forth between “you can definitely go sub-30” and “who are you kidding? you drank champagne last night! Just finish this out and you can PR in a later race”
I gave myself a pep talk “you want this PR? then suck it up and RUN” and increased the volume on my iPod to drown out my negativity. I let myself slow to a comfortable pace to conserve energy for mile 3.
Mile 2 – 10:05
Once I was in the home stretch I focused on turning my legs over as fast as possible. I tried to think about anything and everything except for the race.
At mile 2.5, my right shoelace came untied. Nooooooo! You have GOT to be kidding me! I made the executive decision to not stop to tie it, and to increase my cadence to decrease the chance of my left foot stepping on it. Face planting most certainly would not be ideal.
Mile 3 – 9:16
When the finish line came into sight, I took off and burned through all the gas I had left in the tank.
Mile .1 – 1:02
Official Finish: 29:46, 9:34 pace
I am absolutely ecstatic I was able to cross one of my 2012 goals off of the list on the first day of the year. I think it’s a sign of great things to come.
Finally, I was able to escape the curse of 30:XX!