We lined up on the four lane loop around the pool building and baseball fields. Having four lanes to run in meant I wasn't concerned about finding the right spot to line up. Shane, my mother-in-law (with Ash in the stroller), and I lined up right up front to the far left. The announcer explained the course was two loops, one counter clockwise and one clockwise, and then we were off.
The race begins!
I went out as hard as I felt I was capable of today. I kept Shane in my sights and tried not to let him get too far ahead of me. For most of the first loop I could either see him or catch glances of him as I rounded each bend. I was shocked to realize the course was nothing but hills, big ones, steep ones, rolling ones.... just hills! I forced myself to maintain pace as best I could on the ups and really hammer the downs.
As I approached the turnaround I saw Shane just coming back. He was in roughly 4th or 5th place. We high-fived as we passed eachother. I wanted nothing more than to just quit right then but something told me I was doing well regardless. I didn't wear my Garmin so I had no clue what pace I was running but it felt fast.
Shane approaching the turn around.
I took off from the turn around and tried to catch some of the guys in front of me. It was all I could do to keep pace with them for the most part but it gave me something to focus on besides the pain. Then it started to rain and I sank into that dark place reserved for runners' minds. Within a few strides of basically deciding it would be okay to give up and jog it in, a woman passed me. I instantly thought, "Aw, hell no!" and sped up to catch her. It took me a tenth of a mile or so but I caught her again, passed her, and then just focused on keeping her behind me.
As the finish chute came into sight I dug deep and found my after burners. I put a good 10-20 second lead on the woman and just tried to hang on without puking or passing out. As I approached the clock I could see 24:3x. I almost stopped to rub my eyes and check again but I realized I wasn't hallucinating and a PR was in my grasp. I turned it up just a notch more and got some pretty rousing cheers from the spectators. I crossed the line in 24:52 for my first official sub-25 minute 5k and a new PR!
Shane finished in 22:11 and Ash and my mother-in-law both finished around 40 minutes flat. Shane and Ash each won second in their age group and Shane's mom won first in hers. I got the short end of the stick with 4th place in my age group. Of 69 finishers, 18 were in my age group. 26% of the field were women between 20 and 29! Holy crow!
I tried to get a picture of Shane, Ash, and his mom with their medals but Ash wanted no part of sitting still so this race report will just have to be boring. ;)
Have you ever been in a race where it seemed like the whole field was in your division? When you set your last PR did you expect it or not?