I was nervous for this race. I think I put more pressure on myself. I hardly slept, was up at 5:45 for no reason, and was so nervous riding to the race.
Last year I ran the Germantown 5-miler as a part of the Gazette Healthy Challenge. It was our first challenge and I kept thinking, "Why on earth would they make 10 over weight people run (walk) 5 miles?" Well, most of my teammates had never raced before. Of course, I had and knew that 5 miles was a long time for all of my fat to jiggle.
As the announcer tried to rally us on the start line... no one was moving up front. COME ON PEOPLE: if you are fast... move up. Why on earth do you want to start at the back and have to pass hundreds of people... does that make you feel better? Maybe it was because we all had chips... but still. If you are fast, go to the front! So here I was, with a mile time of 9:30 near the front of the line. It was CRAZY! I started talking to some women around me who were going to run even slower... and agreed with me, "Why are the fast people behind us?" I met one women named Mary and she said that she was planning to walk/run the race but wanted to do it under and hour. I knew that most of the race we back-tracked, so I quickly sized her up (so I could recognize her along the race) and was ready to go.
I tried not to start too fast. As Lola beeped at mile 1, it read 7:58. Woah Nelly... "slow down, Jen" I said to myself. As we were back tracking, I spotted Mary running strong and yelled, "Looking good, Mary!" She smiled and waved.
I have to take a break to explain myself. I am one of those runners who says, "good job" to people as they pass me. Or I say, "looking, strong!" Or something encouraging. I know some people do not like it, but I love encouragement during races, thus I hand it out loosely!
Mile 3 and 4 were boring. There was this one annoying young girl running in soccer clothes and stomping. She would pass me then I passed her. Thankfully at mile 4 I lost her because her stomping was annoying me. Lola beeped 9:12 - better! I did see Mary again at a wrap around point and yelled, "You can do it... half way there!" She smiled... but I could tell she was getting tired.
At the 3.5 mile mark we passed a police officer stopping traffic and he yelled, "Great job... the easiest part of the course is coming up." I was thinking easy... and then I saw it. It was a 1/2 mile hill. I hate long hills. Give me a really steep hill and I am fine... but long ones just stink. Good thing I have lots of practice with these hills in my neighborhood. I trudged along and when mile 4 beeped, it read: 9:45. Not bad I thought - still can make it under 50 minutes.
But then the worst thing in the world happened. After I had run .3 of mile four, I passed a 4 mile marker. What? Are you kidding me? Is something wrong with Lola? I was mentally devastated. I had started to pick it up at mile 4... but it wasn't really mile 4 according to the race. I decided to just focus on the run... now I knew for sure it was only a mile. I tried to run fast.... but my heart was just devastated.
As I approached the finish line, someone yelled, "It is all down hill past the porta-potties to the finish line." I could see the potties but not the finish line. I started to increase my stride. I saw a teenager in front of me... he was my target. I was reaching far with my strides that even the announcer commented... and I realized I had to quit the long strides and sprint in if I was going to beat him.
And I DID!!!!!! According to them, 5 miles in 45:58. According to Lola, 5.3 miles in 46:14.
I would love to show you a picture of me crossing the finish line... but my husband did not take one. And there were no photographers as it was a low key race. I even raised my hands like they love at the finish line. Oh, well... I may have to start hiring a professional photographers to follow me at races so I can have better pictures to post on my blog.
I looked at the time clock and it read: 57:14. Where was Mary, I thought? I decided to walk back and see if I could see her. I spotted her and said: "Come on Mary... you are almost there, you can do it under an hour! Now pick it up... give it all you got!" And she did. Her final time: 58:37. Way to go Mary!
As we walked back to our car, Brock (5.5 year old) said, "It is okay you didn't get 1st place."
I said, "Mommy will never get first place!"
And he said, "In the Gazette Healthy Challenge, you got first place!"
And I said, "Yes! Yes I did!!!"
Hope you all had great races today and if you are racing tomorrow, I will be praying for a healthy, injury free race and a photographer to get your finish line picture!