I should also mention that I put contact paper over the face of my watch. I didn’t want to constantly look down and bemoan how many tenths of miles I had left. I didn’t wear my watch when I PR’d at the Richmond Half Marathon and it was so freeing. I don’t plan on using it during the marathon. And I just read this Runner’s World article about how our technology can hold us back and our bodies know how to pace ourselves for any given distance.
I didn’t want to think about my pace or my abilities. I wanted to run as strong a race as I could without overthinking.
At the same time, I needed my watch for the long run so I couldn’t just leave it at home. And since I had it, I might as well use it! Covering the face seemed like the best option.
When the first mile beeped I did take a peek to see the pace. When I called out to Miranda (who knew not to tell me any data she saw on her own watch) to say “I PEEKED!”, she was already too far ahead of me to hear.
Good for her! And I was on my own. My goal was to keep her in my sight for the rest of the race.
Soon after, a man ran up to me and said, “Nice pace.” Then he asked if we passed the 1-mile point and I didn’t want to be rude so I engaged him in conversation, all the while thinking “DOES HE UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I AM SUFFERING RIGHT NOW?” He ran ahead after a minute, and I was glad for that!
My neck exploded again. The spasm went from the top of my shoulder up the entire side of my neck. It was really intense, and I pushed through the pain.
Right before the halfway turnaround, the new Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop passed me. He is an Ironman.
What up, Mayor! Can you please fix the traffic lights so they SOMETIMES let people walk?
I had some water at the turnaround and continued on my way.
Mile 2: 8:06.
I felt like crap. I wanted to be done. I remembered how miserable 5Ks are.
They are the worst. RUNNING IS SO HARD.
Running alongside Lady Liberty
I knew I wasn’t achieving my goal of negative splits or a super strong, fast finish, but I figured I could maybe speed up a little for this last mile.
That ended up being my slowest mile. By this point I was just keeping my eyes straight ahead for signs the finish line was close. I saw Miranda but there was no way I was getting anywhere near her. I was just happy I kept her in my line of vision the entire time. I kept pushing through.
As I approached the finish, I saw Andy and Larry waving at me and I smiled. That gave me the boost I needed to pick up the pace in those last seconds.
Almost there! I felt the WORST but I saw Andy and our pup. That made me smile.
Mile 3: 8:21
Final .1: 6:45
And then I was DONE!
PR! Also, shirt, shorts & shoes found in my Favorite Running Gear post.
As soon as I crossed Miranda came up to me and said “We are first and second women!”
I couldn’t even care for that first few seconds; I was so relieved to be finished.
And to reunite with my puppy.
My #1 spectator
I’m not sure when I realized I PR’d. It might have been as I crossed the finish line or even a little before, but I knew it for certain when I stopped my watch.
I have two official times on the site, 24:19 and 24:20. That is a 7- or 8-second PR, and I am thrilled!
After the 5K Miranda and I ran a mile and then went to the awards ceremony to receive our awards. Last time I placed, I left because I didn’t expect to win anything. This time, I did. Except that they only awarded first place — and since Miranda and I are in the same age group and she won women’s overall, I got to win our age group.
Awards for everyone!
Accepting my award
Age group winners
I got a certificate and Miranda won a plaque!
After we got out awards, we ran another 4.5 miles and by the end I was struggling to breathe. But I finished my longest training run this year — a total of 12.5 miles — and I feel ready to tackle even longer distances in the coming weeks.
I know that many of you reading can and have run faster 5Ks than me. I’m not (that) dumb. I don’t think I’m some amazingly talented runner. But a small local race is an amazing way for a middle-of-the-packer like myself to get a major confidence boost! I highly recommend it. I feel awesome and I love being able to tell people, when they asked how my weekend was, that I won a race. And I have been saying that. A lot.
I also think that in better circumstances (no injuries) and more training, I could break 24. That is my next 5K goal.
Not only did this race boost my confidence for the day, it boosted my confidence about the entire marathon. I kept wishing I was in the same running shape as last year, and then I beat last year’s time. My rib didn’t kill me, I don’t think my injury is too serious and I do think I can get completely past it if I am smart about the rest of my training. Not only will I take my easy runs easy, I will ice and rest as needed.
Have you ever placed at a race? Do you use small local races to help you feel better about yourself? Has your mayor ever passed you in a race? I NEED ANSWERS.