On Saturday, I ran from my house to the starting line of my town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day 5K. Although the start was less than a mile away (SO ideal), I left early to complete 2 miles pre-race, breaking up the 7 I was aiming for.
At 9:58 AM I quickly slipped into the herd of people waiting anxiously for the “GO!” that would send us on a 3.1 mile jaunt on the back roads of town. By 10 AM, we were off. (A whopping two-minute hurry-up-and-wait time. Local races are the best.)
The course was extremely crowded during the first mile. I couldn’t get into a groove and my heart rate was going crazy from all the speeding up and slowing down. At some point the road opened up, as it always does, (we run this exact course for pretty much every local 5K) and I finally picked up my pace. I was hoping to PR but wasn’t sure I had it in me. I was wheezing a little bit harder than I should have been, especially considering I was basically running a pace that I want to run a half marathon in…in a 5K. Yikes.
I eventually came to the hill that is my nemesis. It’s straight up for about a half-a-mile. Well, that might be aggressive. I don’t think it’s quite a half-mile (more like .40) but it’s HARD. My Garmin tells me that it offers a 100-foot elevation gain. How nice. As much as I tried to take tiny steps and pump my arms, I was still gasping for air. Knowing a steady downhill would greet me on the other side helped…mentally, at least. I was also trying to channel Brendan’s 2012 domination of the hill in this very race, and eventually made it to the top after a lot of huffing and puffing. (Ugh.)
At this point, there was about a mile left and I was contemplating a very particular what-if. “What if I come in a few seconds short of my PR? What if I can reach it…but don’t, because I didn’t use every last ounce of energy to get to the finish?” I couldn’t have that happen, so I started pushing.
But, as I normally do with about 1/4 mile left, I briefly started debating with myself. “You know…no one knows I’m racing. No one cares. Who cares if I don’t PR. I can stop trying now. This is hard.” On this particular day, though, I had the strength to kick that devil on my shoulder to the curb and press on. I willed my legs to move as fast as possible, breathing as deeply as I could. And I survived.
I’m happy with my (negative!) splits. I’m loving the 8:27 and am satisfied that I pulled off a 9:11 with that dang hill.
My current-day 5K PR is 27:01 (as far as I know, since I can’t recall times I posted between high school and a few years ago) so I was 50 seconds off.
I have faith for the future. I’m back to channeling the energy of Reece Witherspoon circa Legally Blonde, when she instantly goes from superficial (read:lazy) to stubbornly determined while wearing a bunny outfit in front of the contemptuous Warner. You know, minus the outfit and the whiney, unsupportive ex-boyfriend. And instead of standing in line to buy an outdated Mac, I’m going to, well, RUN. As fast as I can.
As I finished my cooldown, everyone was taking their spots for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. My favorite part is always the bagpipers.
Later on, Brendan and I took a walk to evaluate the state of the townspeople. By 2pm on Fake St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is usually toasted. And it’s horrifyingly hilarious. Once we officially decided everyone was too inebriated to carry on an actual conversation, we went home to our version of a perfect afternoon:
And here we are again, Sunday evening.
How was your weekend?