Flash forward to Saturday. Our summer has finally arrived, and this was probably the warmest running day I've had yet (certainly the warmest race, anyway). My mom came along as company and photographer (though she had a hard time getting any great photos).
I checked in, got my bib (marked 10K & 5K), and located the bathrooms (about a quarter mile away, "downtown"). (I was pretty irritated about the lack of porta-potties in the starting area, but got over it once I found the public restrooms. I guess no one else really had to go, because there was never any kind of crowd.) I probably did about 1.7 miles of warm-up while I was looking for potties and waiting for the start.
I knew, getting into this, that this race scheme was really a recipe for sucking in both races. Especially if I held back in the 10K in hopes of doing well in the 5K. So what I decided to do was give my best effort at the 10K, then see what I had left for the 5K.
I am not in this picture of the start. There is a female near the back with a blue shirt and black pants and blond hair...that is not me, even though my mother may have thought it was when she took the picture!
For most of the first mile or so the course was downhill, and I was running about a 7:15 to 7:30 pace easily for almost three quarters of a mile. I didn't feel like I was running too fast or working too hard at all. Then we hit the first hill, short and steep, and that slowed me drastically enough that my time for that mile dropped to 8:24 overall. (You can only imagine how slow that hill made me!)
Mile 2 went back downhill and then evened out and I picked up the pace some, almost to 10K goal pace (but not quite). Mile 2 - 8:16. Then we were back to small rolling hills, which are great for maintaining a decent average pace in a half marathon, but difficult to tackle fast enough for a good 10K time! The next few miles told the tale. Mile 3 - 8:29. Mile 4 - 8:32. Mile 5 - 8:36.
Shortly before the three-mile point, the course looped past the starting area, where our first water station was located. Although I don't often drink water during short races, this was a hot day, so I grabbed a cup and took a swig, not minding at all when I splashed some water on me. Another woman that I ran beside for a moment commented that they should have had more water stops on such a hot day! There was one other on the course, somewhere in mile 5, I believe. I drank at that one too. (I also drank when I passed it again in the 5K. They remembered me.)
Since I was hovering around 8:30 pace, I figured my time would be around 52 minutes. Clearly no PR was in the cards. I was able to pull out a small final kick in the last mile plus, though, with 8:20 for mile 6 and a 7:59 pace in the last bit. As I turned the corner which brought me into the final stretch, I was soon able to see the finish clock and it said 51:xx (in the low numbers). I knew that I had a good shot at beating 52 minutes, and poured on the steam. Final time - 51:41.
The course was a little short (which, in this case, I didn't mind at all), so my Garmin pace was 8:26 per mile. My official pace (for 6.2 miles) would be about 8:20.
My mom didn't manage to get a picture before the finish line, but here I am after! Stopping my watch, of course.
By the time I walked through the finish chute and grabbed a cup of Gatorade and a couple cups of water, I only had a few minutes before the start of the 5K. The 5K started at the other end of the block, so I started walking in that direction. That is me in the picture below, wearing a blue shirt and white hat.
I was pretty hot and sweaty from the first race, and I was childishly pleased when a few people noticed that I was running both races and commented on it. The 5K seemed a lot more crowded at the start than the 10K. I don't know if there were that many more people running or whether the starting area was just narrower.* I situated myself in the middle of the crowd. I wiggled a little bit toward the front but I figured there was no point in getting too close.
So, when the race started, I started at a jog with the group around me. Plus we started on an uphill, which further decreased the chance of a speedy pace. I quickly accepted my fate that this would be a slower 5K than I've run in a long time.
The 5K was pretty much the second half of the 10K, but my times for those miles were about 30 seconds slower this time around. Mile 1 - 8:54. Mile 2 - 9:06 (ouch). Mile 3 - 8:42. Final bit - 8:34 pace. I just didn't have the gas in me to go any faster.
This time when I approached the finish area I saw 26 on the clock, but it was in the higher seconds and I doubted that I could get across under 27. A couple of men running near me gave it a good effort, sprinting ahead of me. I could hear cries of disgust when the clock clicked past 27. My final time (official result) - 27:05. Again the distance was a hair short, so my official pace was about 8:50 and my Garmin pace was 8:54.
When I spotted my mom after I finished she told me that they had just announced my name as first place in my age group for the 10K! I missed it because I was still running the 5K. Maybe if I'd been a little faster in the 5K I would have heard it. Oh well. I went up and collected my medal anyway.
Just today I have found the online results, and my age group triumph has dimmed a little because I see that there were only two women in my age group! (But I was first!) That is really uncommon, the 40+ women is usually a strong, and large, age group.
Here's a picture of me after the race. The weird bulge on my arm is the remains of a big fall I took back in December. My bicep has been a little mutated ever since.
I spent a couple of hours after I went home icing my ankle on the patio, and it really hasn't given me much trouble this week at all. Then, later, Rod and I went out to his parents for the Tulare Beach picnic and dance. Fun times!
*Turns out there were 102 runners in the 10K and 252 in the 5K. Quite a difference!