Saturday was a laid back kind of day. I hit masters swim in the morning and then took my girl for a long walk at Garin. Well, long time-wise. Not so long distance-wise. The routine now is that she hightails it to the nearest creek access point and proceeds to spend 10-15 minutes searching around in the water. Then she comes up, hightails it to the next access point, another 10-15 minutes searching. Repeat, repeat, repeat. So for me it ends up as a series of 5-10 minute strolls followed by 15 minutes of standing around waiting for her. Which is okay, it's her time after all, and it's pretty entertaining to watch her slosh through the water. I had planned to wash the car after that, since we're expecting a pretty good spell of nice weather. But I decided to nap instead. Race prep let's call it. Gotta' rest up the legs. Yeah, that's it. After that, just some puttering around the house picking up and then some reading before bed.
After much contemplation about whether our automatic clock would set itself forward for DST, I set the alarm to get my butt out of bed at 6:30 this morning (which is *really* 5:30, I hate DST, but whatever). I proceeded to wake up throughout the night to, I don't know what exactly, check on the clock?!? There must've been some subconscious reason niggling at me though, because I eventually woke up at 6:37. Yeah, no alarm. Ah well, at least I was up in plenty of time to eat, pack up and head to the race. We arrived with what seemed like plenty of time to get my t-shirt, do my warm up and head to the start line. Except that the t-shirt line was ridiculously long. So my warm up was a little shorter than prescribed, but I felt ok. A little tired, not great, but ok. I wasn't sure what to expect of myself today since I didn't feel 100% great, but was ready to find out.
Jeff had headed toward the start line while I did my warm up and I found him hanging out on the sidewalk by the 8:00/mile pace sign. I thought that might be a bit ambitious, but what the heck, might as well go for it. I still had about 5 minutes until the start and I realized that there was a small cluster of people by each pace sign with huge empty spaces in between. What's the point of that?!? So I scooted myself right up behind the first batch of people. And it's a good thing too. There was no big announcement. Just someone yelling, without a bullhorn even, "1 minute"....."30 sec".....and then BLAAAAAHHHH, the sound of a horn and we were off. I can't imagine that anyone even 50 feet back would have heard that. And with a clock start, but chip finish, that hardly seemed fair. Maybe they figured anyone serious enough to be worried about their time would have scooted up to the front. I dunno, but I'm glad I did.
The bad part about starting out there was, of course, that there actually were people who could keep a sub 6 min/mile pace. And silly me, I felt myself trying to keep up. And while I felt like I was heading out too fast, I didn't feel too bad. I tried to pull myself back a little, but still hit the first mile under what I should have. The timer yelled out 8:01 and I realized I might be in trouble. But then again, as coach said, from here it's *only* two miles. Two little miles.
The second mile felt a little harder, and I was struggling a bit, especially up the small hill that lasted a few blocks. I was pretty sure I remembered the last mile being downhill into the finish though, so I just tried to push up the hill and through as much as I could. When I hit the mile 2 marker, it was confirmed by the timekeeper that I was definitely a bit off pace, as I heard something in the 16:30's. Just after that I hit the start of the downhill. I worked on moving my feet faster, pushing my legs a little more. Just one more mile to hang on. My super-"A" goal was to finish with a sub 8:00/mile average. I was pretty sure I wasn't going to hit that today, but just kept pushing toward the finish line. I saw Jeff on the bridge over the path just as a woman I'd been 'targeting' and passed earlier in the race re-passed me. Are you kidding me?!?! I tried to get a quick feel for how hard she was pushing and told myself to not go for it too far from the finish line. Down the tiny little underpass and back up. I could see the finish line. Now, go for it. I pushed a little more, and a little more, and managed to pass her again about 100 yards before the finish line. "Good job" she said as I went by. "You too" I huffed.
The sun seemed to be shining right on the finish clock, so I couldn't see my time, but looked down at my Garmin to see 25:11. Yes! So even though I didn't quite hit my "A" goal, I was really happy with the run and how I felt doing it. It's really nice, and exciting, to see the hard work paying off. I never would have imagined that I'd be targeting a sub 8:00/mile pace for a 5k. And now......I have a pretty good feeling that I could hit that sometime soon. Hmmm...any good 5ks coming up?!? :)
Official results are up:
25:10 which is more than a 2 min PR! Wheeeee!