Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Will I or won't I break my PR?

So I ran the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick 5K on Sunday, which as you might remember was the event at which I hoped to better my personal record. Let's take a look at how that day went.

1:30 a.m.: My cat, annoyed that I didn't come straight home after work, develops a case of the crazies as I prepare for bed. This results in a (minor) bloody toe. I hope this is not an omen.
This was not taken during the kitty-crazies outbreak. I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of Dusty, and in particular the unimpressed/skeptical look he often gives me.
6, 7 and 8 a.m.: I wake up, realize it's not 9 a.m. yet and roll back into a fitful doze.

8:50 a.m.: I crawl out of bed and recall one of my dreams last night — that the race went poorly, for some reason. So far my dreams have shown no sign of a latent psychic talent, but will this streak continue?

9:30 a.m.: I check Facebook to see that a college acquaintance ran a 5K in 23 minutes, good for a trophy in our age group. My 24:58 three-miler ducks its head, ashamed of its bragging.

10:30 a.m.: I pull into the True Value Hardware parking lot, observe lots of spandex and stretching, but no starting line or registration table. I ask one of the spandex-clad stretchers where the race begins, and she tells me to walk around the fence that says "plague." Her directions are spot-on:

I hope I'm not disseminating gang messages by posting this.
10:50 a.m.: "THE RACE WILL START IN 10 MINUTES," blares a megaphone. Regina and I keep walking until we find ourselves literally at the starting line. Yards behind us, the other runners mill about.

I'm mildly excited, because there are no timing chips, but also feel out of place with the fast kids. Will they trample me? Regina doesn't take any chances with that and bids me farewell.

The man next to me turns out to be a friendly and speedy veteran of this race. We discuss his pace (faster than mine), his clothing choices (not as smart as mine!) and the terrain/route.

10:59 a.m.: "THE RACE WILL START IN ONE MINUTE." Mr. Friendly gives me a fist bump for luck.

11:07.50 a.m.: One mile in, I'm being passed by quite a few people, but MapMyRun tells me I've just run another sub-8:00 mile. Logically I know it's too fast; physically, I know it's faster than normal yet not miserable. Please don't bonk!

11:15.47 a.m.: I've turned around and feel much slower, though MapMyRun later will tell me I was only seven seconds off the first mile's pace. I feel like I'm working — not miserable, but not eager to prolong this much more.

(Time unknown, but 0.66 miles later): Leading up to the turnaround is a slight but long incline. I wimp out and walk a few seconds. Yep, with less than a half-mile to go, I walk. Maybe 0.2 miles later, I do it again. Come ON, Sadye. Seriously.

11:24 a.m.: I've turned the corner, literally, and am headed literally down Grand Avenue, with the finish line in plain sight. Also in plain sight? A completely pancaked squirrel on the road. RIP, buddy.

11:25 a.m.: There's a guy in front of me, but he's not picking up his pace even though we're so close. Well, I'm going to.

11:25.25 a.m.: I pass the guy.

11:25.30 a.m.: I officially finish, breaking my PR by more than a minute.

11:25.33 a.m.: I remember to hit stop on my phone.

11:24.40 a.m.: The nausea subsides.

11:24.45 a.m.: The guy I passed smiles at me and says: "Good job!" in a nonsarcastic way.

11:25 a.m.: The sun comes out, perfect for my sweaty T-shirt and shorts. I wonder how the jacket-wearing Mr. Friendly feels right now.

11:45 a.m.: Regina and I have both finished, rehydrated, dried off, etc., and decide to have a celebratory drink. As we try to enter Sully's, we discover the first one is on the race organizers. Free beer and a PR; what could be better than that?

Nothing says classy like sitting on a Burger King stoop with free mass-produced beer before noon.
12:24 a.m.: We're polishing off the half-beers I snagged before the keg ran dry when age group awards are announced. Turns out I placed second in the women's 20 to 29 group (out of 17).

That's what's better than free beer and a PR — earning your first athletic trophy ever, and NOT just for participating.

I might put this on my desk at work, to make more people ask me about it and then having to congratulate me. 
(And if, like me, you were wondering whether my walk breaks cost me first, the answer is no, thank God. The first-place winner beat me by nearly five minutes.)

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