Monday, September 1, 2014

Steelers Gatorade 5K Race Recap

Wow y'all today was something.  I have not run a 5k since 2011 when I ran the Dukes and Daisies 5k in Ausitn.  The time at that 5k (29:41) remained my 5k PR for 3 years.  Edited:  Turns out I was wrong my PR is from 2009 at the Steelers/Gatorade 5k and it was 29:29.  I knew for awhile that I could easily break that record, but I hadn't managed to sign up for a race.  The reason?  Because I really, as in really, really hate 5ks.  They're so much pressure and I'm not a fast runner, so they intimidate me.  

I was so nervous this morning.  I said a long time ago that I wanted to break 27:00 in a 5k.  It's on my fitness bucket list.  (That bucket list needs updated by the way, not Tim McGraw though, he stays on the "to do" list.)  Anyway, I set that goal a LONG time ago and Tracey also told me that her goal for me was 26:59.  That was an 8:42 pace.  

I honestly didn't know if I could do it.  I told Tracey, going into a race I normally set a goal for myself and it's normally pretty realistic and attainable.  I'm realistic. Today, I really didn't know if I could break 27:00 minutes for a 5k.  Nonetheless, Tracey told me she'd run by my side and help me to get there (or at least try). 

The gun went off and we were off pretty quick.  The pace didn't seem fast at first.  Tracey told me we were running a 8:05 pace, but I told her I didn't believe it because it didn't feel fast.  I told her I didn't trust her Garmin downtown.  

By the half mile mark, however, I did feel like the pace was fast.  I felt my breathing VERY labored.  I tried to control it, but I couldn't help breathing through my mouth.  I really tried to concentrate taking deep breaths in through my nose, but I couldn't get my breathing under control.  I made a conscious decision at that point to just breath through my mouth and say to hell with anyone who didn't like my heavy breathing.  Ha! 

By the one mile mark we could see the runners in front coming back at us.  They didn't seem like they were going that fast, so I imagined I must look like a snail to them.  At this point Tracey was talking to me and encouraging me.  I wasn't even able to say a single word to her.  She knew I was listening, but I really couldn't talk.  

I decided to not get water at the one mile mark because there was water at the 2 mile mark.  I passed it by and immediately regretted it.  Not because I needed water, but because I could have used a break.  Lame but true.  

Soon enough however we were at the turn around point and headed back.  I swear I felt so much better mentally when I hit the turn around.  Physically, however, I was suffering.  I had developed a huge stitch right at the top of my rib cage on both sides.  I managed to grunt out to Tracey that I had a cramp and she asked me if I wanted to slow down.  

I told her I didn't know if we could.  Would we make our goal?  According to our time and distance we were a tiny bit ahead of schedule, but I did NOT have room to slow down.  

Suffering big time right about mile 2 point something 
I really didn't feel well.  I felt like I was going to puke and every part of me wanted to quit.  Well every part except my head and my heart.  I wanted to keep giving it my all and I truly was, but I felt I was slowing down.

As we grew closer and closer to the finish, I kind of had a gauge for where we were.  I knew we had less than a mile to go and I wanted to speed up, but I just couldn't.  As we got to less than 1/2 mile, Tracey told me I would have to pick it up at the end to make it.  She said, "pick it up at the truck."

When I got to the truck, I told myself to pick it up.  I tried, I honestly did, but I had nothing more to give.  I told myself, "that's ok, pick it up at the tunnel," but when I got to the tunnel I STILL didn't have anything to give.

I'm making my way the last 75 or so yards to the finish line and someone goes sprinting by me as fast as he could.  I said to myself, "yes now I will sprint," and I told my legs to go, but they didn't.  I glanced up at the clock.  30:21 (we were 3 minutes behind the gun).  I knew I hadn't met my goal.

I felt so bad at the end.  I was light headed and had to stop to catch my breath.  I couldn't breathe.  I stopped and put my head down on a gate and sat there and gathered myself.  I knew right then and there, I had given it my all.  I really had nothing left to give despite telling myself to give more.  I ordered my legs to go, but they couldn't.

I wound up finishing with an official time of 27:21.  21 seconds off my goal.  I have mixed feelings about this race because on one hand I KNOW beyond a shadow of doubt I gave it my all, but on the other hand,  I didn't meet the goal I set for myself.

Then I looked at the results a little further and I finished 25th out of 168 runners in my age group.  I normally finish in the top 40 to 50% of my age group.  So I made a HUGE improvement FOR ME and for that I am truly and genuinely happy.  Also, back in 2011 I would have KILLED to have run a 27:21 5k.  I shaved 2 minutes and 20 seconds off my previous PR and I'm not getting any younger.

So no, I'm not the fastest runner, nor will I ever be, but I've got a new PR and that's something I can always be proud of.

Thanks so much to Tracey for pacing me.  You encouraged me the whole way and I know I wouldn't have done as well without you.  Also thank you for drinking Diet Pepsi and eating cookies with me after the race.  THAT, my dear, is why we are friends (well one reason anyway).  Love you!

As far as the Steelers Gatorade 5k, this is a GREAT race. It's very highly organized and the course is flat and fast.  I can't recommend it enough if you're looking for your own PR.  I mean who doesn't want to run a race that has cookies at the end?


Kristy said...

Congrats on the new PR, that's fabulous! (Esp w/ the humidity)!!

Susan Tirch said...

Thanks Kristy :D

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