When I woke up at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday to see the dew point of 70 degrees and temperature of 71 degrees, I continued to choose optimism. Although historically I really suffer when the dew point is 70+, I decided that since it was "only a 5K", I'd be fine.
When we arrived at the race site, we found my parent's broken down RV in the finish chute (I am not kidding, but at least it was near the food and drinks instead of impeding the course). I found the elite athlete check-in, and as I was getting my number I heard a man saying "This is Sarah Kiptoo, your overall female winner and soon-to-be Oklahoma state record holder" to one of the race organizers as an introduction. That was a pretty bold statement, but I think it was pretty easy to assume she would win overall female, and there was a very nice financial incentive for anyone who broke the record, so I am sure that is why she came to the race (she is a professional who I believe trains in New Mexico). I got a peak at the list of the elite female field, which was pretty intimidating, but I hoped it would pull me to a fast time!
|With Albani & my mom pre-race|
At 8:00 a.m. (which seemed like mid-day to this 5:00 a.m. runner!), we were off! The course was very crowded initially, and it was by far the thickest field I've ever run in during a 5K, which was mostly nice but resulted in more weaving than I'd have liked, particularly as some of the high school boys who went out very hard fell off. The course had clocks at every 1K, and I knew to run 17:30 I would need to run 3:30 kilometers, or for 17:55 I would need 3:35. I was solely focused on effort - at sustaining what felt maintainable for a 5K - but I knew I'd end up doing the math at every clock I saw so I wanted to be prepared. I passed the first clock in around 3:36, which I figured was perfect to start. I heard my watch beep so I knew when I hit the mile but didn't look at my split until after the race (it was 5:48). My 2K was 7:12ish, so my pace was consistent. I was hurting pretty bad at halfway, but I just kept thinking about how my coach said that it was supposed to hurt really bad from 1.5-2.5, and I kept pressing towards runners ahead of me, passing a couple of women and several men, all of whom were apparently slowing worse than me.
|I thought my stride looked good at least!|
|Spoiler: that guy out-kicked me|
|Top 7 women|
My times in training tell me that my training is working, but I'd hoped to have a race to confirm it - but I am fortunate that I'll have a couple more tries before The Big One (Indy Monumental Marathon). I also think back to October 2018 through March 2019 when I would have given almost anything to run a 5K like this, or to run a 5K at all. I promised myself during my fall injury that I would never get so caught up in performances again, but that is admittedly easier said than done. I want to be thankful - so I am aiming to continue with my sometimes blissfully ignorant optimism!
Plus you can't be upset if you did your best, and I did. It took me about 25 years of running to learn that you can't bully yourself into performing or force anything on race days!
|I would have been somewhat happier|
if mile 3 had been 5:48.3, haha!