MADD Dash 5K Race Recap

Three days out and I still haven’t written a race recap for this race.  Bad girl.

Since I put together my local 5K here in town I got to know a few other race directors.  The one who puts this race together, a 5K to raise money for MADD, was one of them.  He offered me free race entry into this race (a common practice amongst directors).  I hadn’t been sure if I would take him up on it until the last minute.  After all, it’s August and might be hot, and I’d just gotten back from vacation in Puerto Rico, where I ran only once (and by run, I mean struggle on the beach in the heat until I ran/walk in spurts until about the 2 mile mark where I gave up and walked back to the condo).  I only had one good run in under my belt since returning, but when I saw the weather forecast was for cool(er) and sunny that morning, I decided to go for it.

This race was held at a local beach (I see a theme in my race choices….lots of beaches represented) on Long Island Sound and in the surrounding neighborhood.  It seemed to be a smaller race judging by the race numbers being passed out.  I got there nice and early, as is my usual practice.  The day had indeed dawned sunny and gorgeous, low humidity, but a tad warmer than it had been the previous few days.

1209307_10153134841920344_646912752_n 304_10153134842775344_1098028900_nThis is the first race I’ve run since May alone.  My girlfriend had been joining me for races this summer, but she wasn’t able to come this time.  It felt a little weird to be all alone in the lead up to the race, but since that is how I always used to do races, familiar.  Running is usually a solitary thing for me, so I allowed myself to just get my head into the game and tried to talk myself into a fun, enjoyable race where I wasn’t worried about pace.

Even though this race was a smaller one, I did notice that our governor was amongst the runners getting ready.  I actually ended up walking up to the start line with him and having a brief conversation.  I didn’t want to stop and have a photo taken with him or anything, but it was kind of cool to just chat with him.

I set myself up in the back of the pack and waited for the race to begin.  I could hear the usual kvetching around me about late start, not being able to hear the announcements, people eager to get moving.  Finally, we did.

The first mile was fantastic.  Sunny and warm, with views of the Sound, there was a nice breeze most of the way.  I was surprised when I passed the first mile marker so quickly.  The herd thinned, as it always does, and I found myself in a pack of about five people.  One Really Old Guy, One Guy About My Age, One Girl About My Age, and Two Much Younger Fit Looking Girls.  Guy My Age was a little bigger and really huffing to stay on pace.  Girl My Age kept passing and then dropping behind me as she walked.  Same for the Younger girls.  Really Old Guy started out in front of me and stayed there for much of the time.

I started to feel my energy flag around Mile 2.  I hadn’t done a lot of longer runs this summer, and I hadn’t done much over 2 miles at all in weeks.  I could feel it.  Plus it was getting warmer and we had moved away from the beach, so there wasn’t a lot of breeze (or shade).  I still felt OK though and just slowed my pace.  I ended up staying close to pace with Guy My Age.  Younger Girls ended up actually walking behind me for a while.  Really Old Guy slowed too and I passed him.  Girl My Age weaved back and forth.

It got harder and harder.  Even though there were no hills.  Even though I wasn’t going that fast.  I am not sure if it was the bootcamp class I’d done the day before (and was still sore from), if it was the two glasses of wine I’d had with dinner the night before, or the increasing heat, or the longer running capris (rather than the shorts I’d debated on wearing) but the heat was wearing on me.  I grew tired.  Around 2.6 miles I allowed myself a thirty second walk.  My five friends all were around me, and I saw the distance between them and I grow.

I hate when a race ends like this.  I just hit a freakin’ wall.  In a three mile race!  Ugh.  I struggled that last half mile.  It was sunny and full on hot by this time.  Really Old Guy started catching up with me again.  Young Fit Girls and even Guy My Age were ahead now.  I gave myself two more brief walk breaks before I spotted the finish line.  It seemed a million miles away (in reality:  .2 miles).  I willed myself to keep moving and not walk.

Finally, it was time for the spurt.  I ran as fast as I could muster to propel myself across the finish line.  Really Old Guy was neck and neck with me.  I pushed myself to beat him, but he kept right with me, and put his foot down on the pad .4 of a second before I put mine down (I know this from the race results.  I also found out that Really Old Guy was 80 in the race results.  Great ego boost).  I stopped and caught my breath and got some water.

It was a good course, decent weather, but it just wasn’t my day.  Between being a little out of training and probably pushing too hard at bootcamp the day before, I just ran out of energy before the race was over.  My time was 37:28, which is my worst 5K time so far this year.  😦  I suppose it’s better than sitting home on my couch.  But still.

Anyway, it was a good cautionary tale for my next race, which is a four miler through Central Park to raise money for Autism Speaks.  I don’t want to hit a wall during that race.  So this morning I got up and got in a good four mile run.  It was a good run.  All I can do is keep at it, and that’s what I’m doing.

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Somewhere on the journey to a better life, depending on the day...moving (mostly) forward.

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