Today I raced a 5k (one I’ve done before actually) and it was… interesting. But I’ll get to that. I went in to this race with relatively low expectations. I just wanted to put out a respectable effort, not totally lose it in the 3rd mile and to have some fun. I know I’m not really in PR shape and I wasn’t particularly in the mood to stress myself out.
After a low-key evening a tons of sleep (9 hours which is TONS for me. Holy crap I feel awesome) I woke up ready to go. It was warm but not hot today. Our high was probably only 95 but (and this is key) it cooled down last night. I warmed up and my legs felt kind of heavy and tired but I wasn’t too worried. Afterall, this was a race I refused to let stress me out.
The race started at 8:30 (really? 8:30? In the summer? How about oh 7:30?) and so it was pretty warm out there. I started wtih my friend Cindy and we ran through the first mile at 7:11. On the one hand, idiot.. On the other, yay I can still run a 7:11 mile! I let her go (she went on to have a fab race) and settled into a pace that was roughly 7:36/mile.
Around mile 1.7 the dreaded 5k nausea and heavy legs set in. This particular course rolls a bit and has lots of turns so I paid special attention to run the tangents (and I did, my garmin read 3.14 at the end which is darn close) and to hug the curves. Mile 3 was a total disaster. I slowed waaaay down and couldn’t make myself run very hard. I finally made a weird deal where I could ease up in the sun and run hard in the shade. It was ridiculous but worked I guess.
I rounded the corner and gave the last bit everything I had. Normally I can sprint the end of the race but this race finishes uphill (so mean) so there was none of that. I finished in 23:55 which is about 15 seconds off of my PR but given the level of training I’ve been doing and the part where I refused to stress out, I’ll take it.
I hug around, cooled down and figured I’d watch my speedy teammates get their awards. This race is allegedly the “Sacramento 5k Championships” but I’ve a) never heard anyone talk about that and b) remain convinced the race organizers made it up to drive attendance. Anyway, my team did really well- the overall winner belongs to us and we had tons of folks win/place in their age groups.
As I was standing around talking, the announcer read off the 3rd place finisher for the 25-29 age group and… it was me! I got 3rd! I got a cheesy medal that says, “Sacramento 5k Championships Third Place.” Even better- my teammates went 1,2,3 in that age group! And, I got to tell people I got 3rd in the Sacramento 5k Championships! Which sounds cool if you’re not deep in the running community and know that it’s made up and not actually a thing. Or, if it is a thing, not something that people talk about or make an effort to win. Anyway, I was 3/89 in my age group and 38/643 for the women. Not bad. And of those 38, I think 15 were teammates 🙂
It was great to place but it was even better to do it with so many teammates around. They are so super fast and I often feel like I don’t belong but I guess today I proved that maybe I do. I felt like I contributed something. Plus, it was fun. And I think I may have gotten over my fear of racing just a little bit. Not every race is going to be a PR and I can deal with suffering for 2X minutes. Just don’t ask me to run a 10k right now…