My sister-in-law, Kristi, had to work one of the booths at the race expo and needed to be there at 6 a.m. That was two hours before the race, but I thought it would be nice to hang out with her, help her find the park in a strange city (they live up in Orange County) and check out the expo before the race instead of after. As we were getting ready to go, she suddenly says to me, "Lisa, it is only 4:30." "No. It is 5:30." (pointing to my clock and my watch). "Um..." she says, "I think last night was the end of Daylight Savings Time. My phone automatically updated." Oh CRAP. You mean I could have slept an ENTIRE HOUR???? I can't believe that I missed the best side of the silly time change thing-- the extra hour of sleep! Alissa, be glad you don't have to deal with it in Arizona.
We arrived at the park bright and early. It was nice walking to each of the booths before the masses arrived. I went to the Roadrunner booth and used their stick, since mine is somewhere in the chaos that is my house after getting all new floors. I was able to use clean porta-potties to my heart's content (three times--blush) without worrying about a line. I registered for the race and was pleasantly surprised to see a timing chip. They gave options of timed or not timed. The best thing was that everyone with a timing chip had a different colored bib and we started at the front. Although it was a large charity event, I didn't feel like I was weaving a lot in the beginning. It was a big pack of people, but we were all running pretty quickly. So quickly that I recorded my best-ever time for that first mile!!!
The mood was pretty festive, considering the serious nature of the charity (Breast Cancer). Many people were running for friends and relatives. They had signs that you could pin on "in celebration" or "in memory" of a breast cancer victim/survivor. I have been very lucky in my life thus far that I have not been personally touched by breast cancer (save a lump scare this past year). A close friend of mine lost her mom a few years ago. I chose to run in memory of her mom, who was an incredible woman who touched a lot of people positively during her life. It gave me a little extra motivation to be running in honor of someone specific, rather than for the cause in general.
When I reached the first mile marker, I looked down at my Garmin for the first time (I was very proud of my self-control not to obsess on the Garmin the entire race). I was happily surprised to see 7:50* as my pace for that lap! I actually pumped my fist in the air. The second mile was even better (7:38*!). I missed the split time for the third mile. I think I would have come close to my best case scenario of 25 minutes if it weren't for the incredibly steep hill that dominated the last quarter mile of the race. It was as steep as any hill I have run in my neighborhood. At one point, according to Garmin, the grade was almost 11%. THAT is STEEP. As I started up the hill, which is a freeway off ramp, I could see the park (where the finish line was) up above. I told myself that I wouldn't walk. I kept telling myself that until I turned a corner and saw it get even steeper (that is where the 11% grade is) for a 100 feet or so. I had to walk. I think I walked for 30 seconds or so. Toward the top I started going again because I could hear the cheers of the crowds and I refused to walk across a finish line. The course flattened out at the very end and I ran across the finish line, determined to make it under 26 minutes.
Check out the elevation of the race, according to Garmin....
Here are my results:
Overall Place: 183/971
Gender Place: 52/589
Division Place: 8/74
These were, by far, the best results I have had. I can't believe I came in the top ten in my age division! If I hadn't walked, I probably would have been even higher. If I can run a sub-25 minute 5K, I could actually place in my age division, something I NEVER thought possible.
I have read 5K results of runners who run around my same pace for longer distances and think, "I can never run that fast." Chris talked about discovering "race pace" last week. I now know what that is. I have tried to run "fast" before, but yesterday I recorded not only my fastest mile, but my average for all three miles is faster than I have ever run a single mile.
*After uploading the data from Garmin my splits are: Mile 1- 7:47, Mile 2- 7:36, Mile 3- 8:28, Last .21 Miles- 2:08 (10:05 pace). Overall pace- 8:06!