So today was the final leg of the "Polar Bear Grand Prix," sponsored by Fleet Feet here in the Ville! (If you want a reminder of the first two legs--Reindeer Romp 4K and Snowman Shuffle 4 Miler
It was actually a little chilly (wind chill in the upper 30's) when we got there and I've been so used to running in mild temps (the last week or so) that I totally forgot to wear a headband and gloves!! DBF and I saw our friend Scott with his son, who seemed like a cool kid! Glad he came out. Then we met up with Joe and Tom and did a nice warmup together. Then, as usual, it was to the Port-a-Pots! The line was long but I got complimented on my speedy "execution." LOL
Almost as soon as I walked out of the bathroom, I dropped my jacket in some trees and found a spot behind the starting line with Scott and Joey. No time to waste, the race started and off we went.
I felt decent for the first mile, though the first mile is almost entirely uphill. I was surprised at how good I handled it though--even my training runs on that hill don't go as well as this did. I felt good! First mile split = 9:40.
Everything went downhill starting around 1.5 miles. Side stitches and cramping! Could it be that running only 24 miles in 3 weeks with no speedwork mixed in could have hindered my fitness? :) I just couldn't get back into the groove after that. Muscle soreness in my right leg just added to the displeasure. Tom told me after the race that he could see in my face when he passed me that I just wanted the race to be done. He read my face correctly. Mile 2 split = 19:20.
I just tried to keep myself focused and composed but I felt like I was crumbling. I had to stop and walk from the cramping and just felt so horrible as I watched several people fly by me. I felt more defeated than I had felt in a long time! I took some deep belly breaths and just pushed myself back into the race--repeating to myself "You can do anything for another mile! Not much left!" I actually started to check my Garmin for the distance to see how much longer I had.
Then...ahead...there was a sign with the number "3". Ahhhh!! Thank you! I strengthened up, pushed it out and kept going until the end. I was so happy when I saw my mom's face--she gave me two thumbs up and told me I was doing good. It wasn't one of those "I'm saying it just to say it" comments, I could tell in her face that I really WAS doing well.
I looked ahead and saw the time clock, which read 29:30. I panicked and picked up my pace. There was NO WAY I was going to be THAT close to running my first sub-30:00 5K and not DO IT! When I crossed, it was about 29:40 and while I was soooooooo happy and so excited, I basically just doubled over as I walked. I felt like doody!
I thanked the guy in front of me because I used him during the race to *sorta* pace myself. He was pretty strong and running around the same pace as me and it always comforts me to have something "familiar" to run with, and he was it today!
So great feeling right now, knowing that I have achieved one of my biggest goals EVER! It was one thing that I have always wanted--not just for this year. I just knew I could make it happen this year. I remember when I first started running again, I thought that this would be impossible. And now, I'm doing it! It's great!
As usual, we all met at Panera Bread and had a great breakfast. I think every runner in the area was in there today. It's so fun to go there and have a great meal AND be around a community of people that are sweaty and charged up from a good run! Tom and Joe gave me a great Birthday gift too! A fresh, beautiful Run the Ville T-Shirt! I'm pretty pumped--it looks great! I'm proud of it and even more, I'm glad that they like the logo that I created!
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!!!
P.S. This is one of my Valentine's gifts! Talk about creamy, smooth chocolate...wow!