Well, I made it through my first 5K since 2010. My net chip time (according to the race website) was 27:28.50, making my average pace 8:51 min/mile. I came in 61st of my age group which placed me in the top 15%. I’m happy, but not as thrilled as I could be. And I’ll get to that. But first, my thoughts on the race itself.
Since I haven’t run an organized race in a while, I don’t exactly have a lot to compare. I ran the Baltimore Women’s Classic in 2009, and my memory is a bit blurry to even compare that one to this year’s. However, here are my initial impressions for the 2013 race: for organizing a race with over 3,200 finishers, I think it was well done. Holding the pre-race festivities in a large, open park benefitted both participants and spectators. The JA brought Watson, and while I was running, they could hang out in the park or walk around Baltimore. The race was clearly marked, but mile markers were a bit off according to my GPS and the course ended up being a tad bit short. Volunteers and police were stationed throughout the course and all were supportive, cheerful, and encouraging. The race village had some good vendors, but with so many people, I ended up staying on the outskirts. After crossing the finish line, volunteers handed out roses, medals, and a cold, wet towel. They did a great job in distributing these items quickly to avoid bottleneck. The course wasn’t hilly, and took us on a nice jaunt around the Federal Hill area of Baltimore.
Now, to my performance. I had two goals: run the whole race, and run it in less than 30 minutes. I CRUSHED the one goal, but was so frustrated I didn’t check off the other. I’ve mentioned before that I have trouble pacing myself and I also let my mind get the best of me. After hearing my pace for the first mile, I freaked out a bit. Once I heard it for the second mile, I freaked out a lot. I felt good, but didn’t trust myself with the humidity rising and my legs covering ground so quickly. I was so upset with myself after I crossed the finish, and that feeling stuck with me for a good hour or so, despite my friends and families best efforts. I had run more than 3 miles before. I had trained for this race. I had properly fueled, and was stretched and fully hydrated at the start. I could have done it. I got in my own way.
What helped me get over it was a bit of reflection. The JA and I cleaned up and went to Mass after the race. It gave me the chance to step back and get a bit of perspective. Instead of being mad at myself for walking, I became thankful that I had legs to move me. A body that works with me instead of fights me. A mind well enough to motivate and push me.
I spent the rest of the day reviewing upcoming races for the rest of summer and fall. I’m aiming to complete another 5K (this time not giving in and walking AT ALL) and have sights set on finishing a 10K before the end of summer. I’ll keep y’all posted!
What’s your biggest challenge when preparing for or competing in a race?