As we were visiting my parents in Ohio this weekend, I took a look at the local race offerings for something close by in which I could participate. I found A Most Excellent Race 5K which was being held at Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights about 25 minutes away. This morning I headed out around 7:45, arrived at the race venue, picked up my packet, and did a warm-up jog. The race started just after 9:00 with a decent crowd of runners. I settled into what I felt was a good cruising pace and let the gradual downhill on Fairmount Blvd lead me to a 6:55 first mile. I hit mile 2 at 13:54 (I think...I wish I had been paying closer attention) which would have made it a 6:59 pace and then the third mile turned back onto North Park Blvd and was one long, gradual uphill that totally killed me. I was really struggling, and thought well, there goes my chance at a PR and my stomach was roiling uncomfortably and I was breathing like a steam engine but I passed the mile 3 mark at 20:00 and change and then I brightened up and thought, let's kick this thing, girl. I knew if I really dug in I would be able to set a new PR. Uphill finish? Phooey! I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other just a little faster. As I approached the finish line I could see the timing clock was still in the 22:00 range. I wrung every last drop of energy I had out of myself even to the point of an involuntary groan of agony and finished in 22:44. I pulled over to the grass and bent over with my hands on my knees, utterly spent. I couldn't even move for about 30 seconds. I turned in my timing chip and got some food and water and did a cool-down jog. At 10:45 the awards ceremony got under way. I decided to hang around because I thought my performance might have netted me an age group award. I was not mistaken; when they announced the 30-34 group I took first place. I won a tote bag!
I hopped online when we got back to Michigan and looked up the race results. I finished first out of 13 in my age group and fifth out of 83 women. And not only that, but I set a new PR by 35 seconds!
This also means I shaved my 5K Stubble Time in the Shave Your 5K Challenge put on by Vanilla from Half-Fast. Edited to add: Well, I just reread the official rules for the challenge and my "smooth time" has to be from a 5K race held during November or December of this year. I guess that means I still have some work to do.
1/13 age group
PR by 35 seconds