Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Battle of Byron race recap...

I know, I know...who recaps a 5K for crying out loud? Apparently I do! Hang in there though, this one's a good story, I promise.

So I know I've said recently that I'm a little over 5Ks. I enjoyed my 10K back in March a lot, and after finally getting my 5K PR in early March as well, I've been telling myself it's time to move on. But I just couldn't resist one last Spring 5K, especially since this one was taking place in the town I live in. Literally around the corner. Plus, I'll be the first admit I'm a little annoyed I haven't been winning many awards lately, and fourth place seems to be my lot in life. I knew this race would be on the small side, giving me an almost guarantee at placing in my age group. And yes, at that point the thought of winning overall female had already crossed my overly-confident mind.

So anyway, Saturday morning I showed up with my little cheering squad in tow. How cute is it that my kids actually like being dragged to a race at seven am on a Saturday? But seriously, they love it. The crowd of runners/walkers was your usual crowd. But like all races there were a few people looking seriously legit. (I don't think I look seriously legit, to be honest.) I mean, dude, there were people wearing compression socks. I mean, is that really a thing? Compression socks for a 5K? Okay, moving on. So the really legit people make me nervous, and I already mentally have calculated that I will probably just win my age group at that's totally cool with me.
Not a pic from this race, but from my last 5K I ran with my dad, only because it's one of my favorites!

I wish I had pictures of this race, someone was taking them, but I've yet to see them anywhere online, because I totally lined up at the very front like a boss (har har). And I started off super fast, too fast, of course, because by the first quarter mile I think about four or five other women passed me. Also, as soon as the race began, we hit a pretty intense downhill slope. Not a problem right? WRONG! It was an out an back, which meant that brutal hill would be almost at the three mile mark. Not only that, the rest of the race was completely up and down the whole way. I seriously thought to myself around the halfway point, "this is the hardest race I've ever run." Also, "there's no way I'm running this course ever again!"

I managed to move myself up to third about a mile in, and I stayed there for a while. The lady in first was quite a bit older than me, and the woman in second was mid-thirties. So again I'm thinking, "I'll get my age group, great!" The hills were so brutal my pace was 9:30 up hill, and around 7:30 in between. The whole final half of the race I stayed in third, about fifteen feet behind the girl in second, and about thirty feet behind the leader.

We're all suffering up that last, brutal hill and I'm literally dying...when the craziest thought enters my head. I'm thirty feet away from taking the lead, and I'm not going for it?!? So I decide to go for it. Remember, we had just come up a huge hill, so finding extra speed seemed impossible. But I go for it anyway. I'm 99% sure they will see me making my move and speed up to deter me, but it doesn't happen. Not only that, from out of no where, a man about my dad's age runs up along beside me, beckons me forward and says, "Let's go, girl."

Now, I'm a pretty solitary runner, but I've never been so happy to see another person in my life. I'm now past the other two women and in first place with less than a quarter of a mile to go. But...but my legs are dead and I'm pretty sure I'm going to puke, pass out or both. (I'm running like a 7:25 for crying out loud!) I take my headphones out and my running buddy keeps coaching me, saying things like, "Don't look back. Pick you head up. Keep going." I drop my speed for just a moment, pretty sure I'm done, but pick it up as soon as I realize they are right there behind me. And basically because this total stranger is making me push myself harder than I've ever pushed in my life.  Finally I spot the finish line, I see Matthew and the kids waving, cheering. And then suddenly I realize that I've got it. I've won. I cross the finish line.

As soon as the race was over I grabbed the man's hand who had helped me and gasped, "Thank you!" I seriously don't think I could have made it if he hadn't helped me. I turned in my official time and then went to celebrate my first big win with my family.
So ridiculously happy!!!

Running is awesome, isn't it? And I'm not just saying that because I won a cool trophy, I'm saying it because what else in life challenges you that way? What else makes you push yourself to your limits and beyond? And then at the end you realize you are so much stronger and so much more capable than you ever thought?

And how cool is it when a total stranger sees you struggling and basically takes you by the hand and helps you achieve your goal? That's pretty darn awesome if you ask me!

Not too shabby for my tenth race!

Race stats:
Official time: 25:29 (8:13 avg)
Age group: 1st out of 2 (But won overall female)
Overall: 9th out of 82