I came in second place! I wasn't even going to do this race, since I'm supposed to be about mile 16 by now. But since I was around, I thought sure, why not? Never mind that I haven't done any 5Ks on my own in a long while -- any races of that distance in the last two or three years have been with one or the other of the boys, at their pace. I've been doing 10Ks, which I love, since you go out hard but can't give too much or you burn out before the end, and of course, the half and full distances. So it was going to be a change for me to do a 5K.
Elder Child was volunteering as part of his Scout troop, so we had to be at the race site (at TDP DinoBoy's school) by 6:30ish. TDP DinoBoy chose not to participate since he had a retreat at school starting at 9:00, and the 5K started at 8:30. He could have done the mile run, but he wanted to do the full instead, so he opted to sleep in (is this my kid or what? Not even worth getting out of bed for a mere mile!!). I dropped the older one off and then turned back to the 'bucks on the corner for my oatmeal breakfast, since I had about an hour to kill before the first race.
After a bit it was time to head over for registration. I drove the route to get an idea of the elevation changes (which were gradual, but definitely there was an incline at mile 2 and a couple of rollers toward the end of mile 3 right before turning toward the finish). I parked at the remote lot about half a block away, then got there in time for the flag raising, pledge of allegiance and opening prayer (it's a Catholic school, so we get to do that), then it was time for the one mile run. A lot of the kids and families I know were out there, so it was fun to see the kids running and having a good time. Before long, it was time for the 5K group to line up.
This was an inaugural race, so nobody really knew how many people would show up. I was evaluating the field and trying to figure out how many of the women there were in my age group, and if they were, how many might be faster than me. In actuality, I wasn't concerned with whether I won in my age group, but only that I came in faster than the other 2nd grade moms!! It had been threatening rain all morning, and right before the start, it did start to sprinkle a bit, but just enough to make it steamier. There was a little bit of a wind, so we knew it was not going to be an easy go. The race coordinator gave us instructions, which basically were "Turn right," but he also told us that it was a challenging course, and he warned us about the uphill at mile 2. And then we were off.
I had a hard time catching my breath at the outset, and the humidity made it tough to find a groove. I was pretty well established in a good pace by the first half-mile though, and the wind kept us a little cooler. At the first mile marker, I was surprised to see that I had clocked a 9:28. The second mile was uphill almost immediately, and it was tough to maintain that pace. I also stopped at the water stop for a cup of water to drink and a cup to douse myself. That immediately brought some relief, as the humidity was starting to take a toll on me. We turned the corner again and immediately hit another hill. Bleagh. But, by now, we knew the worst of the elevation was behind us, and we also knew that we were past the half-way point. I hit the 2nd mile marker and was pleased to see another sub-10:00 split, although it was slower than the first one at 9:53. I was definitely starting to fade by the time I made the last turn into the final stretch. I could hear someone coming up behind me, but was determined not to let them catch me. We hit a downhill about then, and I cranked it up. I kept hearing Grace Lazenby's voice in my head, telling me to keep my shoulders back, head up, just a little more, just a little more. I don't know who was behind me, only that they didn't catch me. I pulled away right before we hit the last big incline leading to the school, and I knew they weren't going to catch me then. We had the very last turn toward the finish and I was thrilled to see 29 and change on the timer. I knew I wouldn't make sub-30, but I had gone into the race expecting 31 and something since I knew the hills were going to be a factor. But when I crossed at 30:38 on my watch, I was very happy with the result.
I hung around for a while, talked to some of the other parents I saw, and got a breakfast taco. I wasn't sure where I'd come in, though, since I saw some pretty strong women in front of me, and I could only guess at their ages. I had to get home to make ice cream for last night's dinner club, though, so I left while they were still picking up the course. I didn't think anything more about it until this morning, when we picked up the paper and flipped through the results in the back of the sports section. Check that out! I placed second in my age group! Who knew?! I went online to check out the full results and saw that of 90 female entrants, I came in 24th overall, which is the first time I've come in the top third. I also came in 51st among all 146 finishers, so I barely missed top third there. So I'm pretty jazzed. Almost worth the headache I had later in the day from going out too fast and not re-hydrating enough! But mostly, I was pleased to have run hard and finished well.
Today is looking like a serious lazy day as far as family stuff goes. Hockey was postponed to Wednesday, so we really just have laundry and groceries to do. But I am going to try to hit the TM for some hills, just so I don't feel like a total slug.