I went into today's race on somewhat heavy legs. Doing the Spinervals challenge has been great for my fitness and while I have been running well during the week I mostly chalked that up to the great weather and in fact when I did run in colder temperatures Friday, I felt sluggish.
Last year I ran a pretty weak 18:43 at this race, on the 'new' course. I also got beat by a dog.
I was not in sync at the end of last year. I'd gained some weight and really, was just kind of relaxed and in my post season. This year I came off the Ironman and really felt like I ran well. It was like I came back to running and it was simple and easy compared to multisport racing.
It was colder this morning than it has been all year and I was really debating whether I was going to run in just my EH singlet and shorts. I ran my warm-up with Margit and then came to the conclusion that yes, I was going to give it a go- hat, gloves, arm warmers, iPod on but the buds tucked behind my ears.
I shepherded Maureen Terwilliger to the starting line after doing my warm-up, starting right in front of Charlie Hornak and next to Bryce Lindamood.
The start off this race is psychotically fast. You're on a four lane road that is wide- crazy wide, and you run basically straight for almost a full mile. A lot happens in that first mile. The pretenders, the contenders, and the tweeners like me all find their appropriate places in this first mile. I knew that I wasn't going to keep up with Greg Pelican, although I was going to try and keep him close, and I knew the guy with the motherfrakking dog was going to be right where I was for the whole damn race.
That guy with the dog.
I got beat by the dog last year.
As we were near the end of the long run out, I settled in, but not the way I often do. I was outside my comfort zone. It's a 5K, I should be outside my comfort zone!
We made the two quick turns and were running the opposite way into the wind and I was losing a little ground on people. The guy with the dog actually passed me so I tucked in behind him to get a break before we turned. We took the next two turns right after that and now we were running away from the starting line but two blocks over (or so) and that's when, in the 2 mile area, I has some doubts about what I'd be able to do. We passed Breuggers and guys were moving back and forth.
I just kept running.
We twisted our way around the course, passing people still going out at less than a mile as we were past two. We humped up a small bridge and I really felt the strength training I've been done, and not in a good way.
Finally, we were back on the main road, headed towards the finish line. I couldn't see the finish. My eyes were tearing a little in the cold, and there were so many people in front of me- that's all I could think, I can't see the damn finish line because I am so far back. But I was just too far away.
Finally, I did see it, just after some 25 year old flashed by me. It was at 17:42 and I was a LONG way from the finish. I so wanted to break 17:59.
I had no one to play off of. I just had to run my ass off. I kept digging. The clock kept ticking.
I gave everything I had. I hit the mat at 17:59 and I was sure that it would tick over the way it always does.