Sunday, July 27, 2014

2nd in age group, 11th female

I really wanted to win a race, even though I'm not the fastest runner by any stretch. Rather than become a super fast runner, it would be easier to find a small race that didn't have the most competitive field. Cheating? No! Deliberate planning.

I figured one of my best chances was the Electric Bolt in Ann Arbor. It's a fund raiser for Ann Arbor Active against ALS, the same group that organized the Twinkie run, where I would have won my age group, if the race was 18 days later so I could be in the next age group.

Anyway, there was both an 8k and a 5k, and I thought perhaps the more serious runners would be in the 8k, and the 5k would be more casual runners, families and walkers (not the zombie type...) I reasoned I had a better chance in the 5k, so that's the one to do.

I didn't sleep well the night before and the weather was something else. It was in the upper 60s, but massive humidity - 90+%. It was too dark for sunglasses, but too bright to not wear them. Plus my legs were still a little lethargic from the 14.5 miles I ran on Friday night.

To PR, I would have to average 9:08s. The first mile was no problem, even though we had to run across grass for a stretch and mostly on dirt roads. Then we hit the hills. I should have looked at the course map ahead of time and prepared myself for the hills. Somehow I passed more people going uphill than any other place in the course. Weird.

It was rough going. I could tell I wouldn't PR, but there was an out and back part, and I definitely looked at who was coming my way, to gauge where I was in relation to the rest of the field. I'm a terrible estimator of ages, but I thought perhaps I could hold on for top 3, even if I didn't hit first place for my age group.

After a huge uphill at mile 2.9, the end was a massive downhill. We turned the corner and the finish was 0.1 miles away. I saw a man 0.04 miles in front of me, and determined that I had to beat him! Somehow once the finish line is in sight, the pain goes away and I can fly.

Then we waited.

Something really nice about small races is the post race food - homemade cookies!!!! Someone made lightning bolt shaped cookies - yum! Plus chocolate milk, coffee, popsicles, fruit, etc. 

Yay!!!!!!!!!!! The winner of my age group smoked me, and I'm ok with that. I'm not sure I could beat her time even on a treadmill, much less on a hilly course. The top three in each age group got a pint glass, which I promptly added to my collection of race glasses that I never use :) Another runner finished after the results were printed at the event, so I was actually 2/7. I looked at all the female finishers and my time was 11th overall among women. Had I done the 8k my half marathon pace would have gotten me 2nd place in my age group for that race. 

Something nice about the ALS races is that they're a la carte. Runners can choose whether or not to buy a shirt. The race fee was minimal - maybe $17 for early entry? It was the same price for the 5k or 8k. Then adding a shirt wasn't bad either - $12? I didn't get a Twinkie shirt, but I wanted one of these because I like the ringer style and it's a super soft cotton so I'll actually wear it. They're unisex, which is somewhat shapeless, but also means long enough sleeves!!! My little cat was very intrigued by it :) The fee could be paid online for a slight charge, could be paid by check in the mail, or could be paid by check or cash in person at pick-up right at the start.
I don't know about this pic - I think I look like a boy lol but I don't want a single piece of hair touching my neck so I pull it back and tie it up and obv I don't waste time on makeup before a run. Bill liked the jersey though and sleeveless was essential on such a muggy morning. We passed a water table twice and I grabbed a cup both times, just to dump it on myself.

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