You. Guys. I PLACED FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP AT A 5K!
Okay, sorry for yelling. I’m just so very excited!
I’ve dreamed of entering a small race just to see if I might be able to place, but 1) I didn’t know if it would ever happen, and 2) I never thought about getting FIRST in my age group!
If you recall, my previous 5k PR was obtained while running without a Garmin, while wearing a lampshade, and without really trying. However, I was more in shape during that race than I am now (I haven’t been cross-training), so I didn’t want to get too crazy with my goal for this race. My goal was to finish in 23:59, or less, which would be a whopping 9 seconds faster than my previous 5k race.
I decided to try to keep my pace around 7:40. I figured that any faster would be too fast for me.
On race day, the gun went off, and I took off running. When I looked at my Garmin, it initially said that I was running an 8:30. No good. I sped up. I checked my Garmin a few seconds later, and it said “5:30.” Um. Yeah, so I knew my Garmin wasn’t really accurate. However, I don’t have any other way to make sure that I maintain a goal pace, so I decided to just try to keep it at a 7:40 according to my inaccurate Garmin.
The race started off going up a hill, which was kind of funny to me, because I hadn’t even thought to worry about hills for a 5k. The race also started a 1pm, and we’ve had an abnormally warm year, so it was actually warmer than ideal for running.
Anyway, my watched beeped to signal 1 mile, and I looked: 7:35. Perfect! Or, I mean, if it was accurate, it would have been perfect. About 15 seconds later, I passed a volunteer who said I was at the 1 mile point, and said I had been running for 7:55. I knew that he was also off by a few seconds, but still, I knew my first mile hadn’t been as “perfect” as I hoped.
As I ran on, my pace became increasingly difficult. I started to doubt myself. “I haven’t been cross-training.” “I haven’t been speed-training.” “I’m out of shape.” I can’t do it.” Etc. Simultaneously, I argued with myself, “You can do it.” “Mind over matter.” “Just 10 minutes left, you can keep this up for 10 minutes.”
My second mile beeped in a 7:44. On the one hand, since my first was at 7:35, it would even out to the 7:40 pace that I was aiming for. But on the other hand, I knew my Garmin was wrong, and I still had more than 1.1 miles left. I was tired. I was hot. I didn’t feel strong. I actually thought about walking. But I just kept using the time-technique. “One mile left. That’s less than 8 minutes, if you keep up this pace.” And then it was 7. And then 6. And then 5. Soon enough, I had rounded the corner, and there was the finish! I sped up, but I was hurting. I passed a few people. I looked at my watch. I would get a sub 24 minutes! Oh yay! Or would I??? I didn’t know. I was trying hard, but I might be off by just a tiny bit.
The clock said 24:05 when I crossed the finish line. Dang it! This was such as small race that I knew I likely hadn’t waited 5 seconds before crossing the start line.
I was exhausted. I almost fell over when the volunteer tried to cut off my timing chip. I heard someone say my name. Husband Saign surprised me at the finish! I found some shade and laid down for a few minutes.
Once I felt coherent again, I stopped at the booth to check my actual finish time. 24:02. ARG! I missed my goal by 3 seconds. But…wait…what did that say…first in my age group??? Whaaa??? I was so excited!
Post-race celebratory beer!
I made Husband Saign stick around for the awards ceremony…90 minutes later… But it was my first time to win an award, so I wanted to stay! They ended up just announcing the first place winners for each age group. They didn’t ask us to come forward, or give us anything. I didn’t get a ribbon, but I did scream and clap when the announcer said my name!
I can’t believe that I finally won something at a race. I mean, of course, I won nothing since there were no ribbons, but I still felt like a winner! Yay!
Is it okay to be excited about placing in your age group, even if you only placed because it was a super small race????