Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Race report: Friendly Sons of St. Patrick 5K

When I woke up Sunday, there was no sign of rain to come; there was, however, a weather alert on my phone: "wind advisory."

Great, I thought. But without that wind, I don't know that I'd be able to say the 2015 Friendly Sons of St. Patrick 5K was one of my best races yet.

Not because I notched a personal record (which I did — 23:35!) or because I got an age group award (third place among ladies 20-29), but because it wasn't necessarily an easy day and yet I did not give up.

Toasting our victories: We both finished in under 24:00 and in third place in our respective age groups. 
The first half of the race was the worst part, in terms of the wind. I knew it would give me back what it had taken once we hit the turnaround, so I gritted my teeth and pushed through.

Sure enough, when we hit that turnaround, my pace went from feeling awkward and challenging to smooth ... and still a little challenging, given how much energy had already been used up.

Despite that, I had enough energy and optimism to thank the police at intersections, smile for a photographer and respond to cheering spectators. (Speaking of which: Check me out in this gallery!)

I was more tempted to slow down or stop to catch my breath during the final mile than I was during the first, but I did not yield. Thank God!

As I charged toward the finish line, I had no idea how well or poorly I was doing — I almost immediately had bumped the MapMyRun record-workout screen to an ad and also the friends page, and fiddling with my smartphone hadn't seemed worth it.

So when I saw 23:30 on the race clock, with steps left to go, I couldn't help gasping "oh my God" out of shock as well as fatigue.

It sure felt good to finish seconds after Cory instead of literally minutes. And to know that I focused on what I could control (my own effort) versus what I couldn't (the weather conditions).

The splits: first mile 7:20; second mile 7:36; third mile 7:30; final stretch, at a 6:36 pace (hello, downhill with a tailwind!).

What else can we conclude from this race performance? That every race day must begin with my sister sending photos of our family's tortie cat, Allie, and that my own cats are obligated to repeat this every race-day morning.

OK, so I imposed myself on Dusty, but he didn't flee!

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