Originally, I had planned to get to bed early last night since I was planning to be in Raleigh by 6:30 for the 7:30 start. That did not work out, however, and I made it into bed shortly before midnight – only to lie awake staring at the ceiling – in pain. The past couple days have been spotted with lower back pain – severe at times – that seems to be related to tight hamstrings and IT bands. Try as I might to stretch them out, pain in my hips and lower back was high as I tried to fall asleep. Drugged up, I finally dosed off. Seemingly 5 minutes later it was 5 AM and the alarm was going off. As usual I hit the snooze button once….twice…three times – oops, it’s 5:50. I was supposed to leave home by 6:00. Ok, out of bed – good thing I laid my clothes out and packed my bag last night. I was out the door by 6:05 – not bad at all – only to suffer from another aspect of poor planning….I was almost out of gas. I managed to get the fastest pump ever, and was back on the road by 6:15, making it to my Aunt Judy’s house at exactly 6:30.
Judy graciously let me park at her house and gave me a ride to the start – much appreciated. Her house is only about a mile from the start and the loop course actually passes her block twice (once on each end) so she stood at the corner and cheered for me at each end – it was really great to have someone out there pulling for me.
The race itself was pretty uneventful. My plan was actually based on my HR rather than mile splits and I think I was a bit conservative. The goal was to keep my HR below 190 for the first mile, below 200 for the second, and then just let it go for the final 1.1. I did quite well staying down for the first mile, my first split was just over 10 minutes. I did stop and walk up a deceptively large hill but ran the rest of the race, albeit slowly. Two streets were lined quite nicely with spectators. One street had a few yards with sprinklers set up, and even one spot where three kids were standing at the ready with Super Soakers, squirting anyone who indicated approval – that was excellent.
Coming into the last ¼ mile I had way too much energy left over and had a strong, smooth, fast kick into the end. As a comparison – my average HR for the TA was 199 with a max of 222, and for this race the average was 191 with a max of 212. Those numbers sound high – but they also tell me I could have pushed harder. Final watch time was 34:02…I’ve run one previous 5k in a time of 33:47, however a couple days later it was announced that my first race was actually only 2.9 miles – so I guess this is in fact a PR for the 5k distance.
With a little work on pushing my limits and dealing with discomfort, I know I can do better than this.