Webster Education Foundation 5K (3.15 miles)
Average Pace 9:02/mile
Do you ever have a gut feeling of pending disaster? That's how this race started out.
Sheesh. My last few race recaps just keep sounding horrific. But honestly, I'm doing it to myself. You'd think I'd have learned at the Gandy Dancer race a few weeks back not to experiment with eating crap the night before a 5K race.
Yes, I know - just punch me in the face now. In a pinch on Friday night, and in a car by myself with my dog in the back seat, I was fairly limited in my dinner choices. Driving 100+ miles through rural MN/WI and hungry, what's a girl to do?
Ah, the dinner of champions - a Wendy's basic cheeseburger meal with fries. So gross and yet so good. I try to justify it by saying: Wendy's is a least fresh and includes a larger than average serving of lettuce, tomato and onion on the burger. (I know a few people who are cringing right now... and I'm sure I'm about to "enjoy" a lecture on the health benefits of kale the next time I see them).
Needless to say, I HAVE to stop eating crap the night before a race. My stomach of steel is starting to revolt by telling me grease does not do a body good.
Moving on... and yes, I'll try to avoid the pre-race diet recaps in the future.
As I mentioned prior to my departure last week, I just took a week long vacation. And I have to say, doing this race, I definitely started my cabin vacation off right! How can you go wrong with doing a 5K? Well, aside from the fact that my poor husband ended up sitting around for over a hour on my birthday to spectate... poor guy! He's such a sport, escorting me to check in, commenting on the t-shirt we got, taking my pre-race photo:
Anyway, I don't have a lot to say about check in. I got my bib number (#2... how did they know my stomach would appreciate that joke??), my t-shirt, and my instructions on how to pin the bib. Like I mentioned in the Gandy race report, they were using the photo finish system again at this race. So, I had to have my bib in a specific location to ensure a proper finish log. Ok, easy enough.
Notice that I pinned the bib on the wrong side in my pre-race photo? Yeah, I'm just that smart. At least I figured it out and fixed it prior to gun time.
Having two strikes against me with the stomach and the bib issues, I decide things can't get much worse and proceed to line up at the start to await the gun time. And for the first time ever, I turn on my new GPS watch and waited for the satellites to link in. In less than a minute, my watch told me I was ready to run. Sweet!
Just a few minutes after my watch was ready, the gun went off. So, I clicked the "go" button on my watch and took off, excited to take my new gadget for a spin (literally).
As is typical for 5K racing, it took about 1/2 mile for runners to start to shake out. Seems like it never fails: everyone throttles out of the gate like a bat out of hell when the gun fires. But, by the first 1/2 mile, all the sudden people realize they went out too fast, and they start to burn out. That, in my eyes, is when the real race begins. And, that is also when I start to pick out my competition. Which may be a 6 year old, a granny... or in this case, a man with a kick ass ZZ Top style beard. I saw him and couldn't resist. I just looked at that beard and said: Let's rock this!
I chased him for the first mile, and I have to admit, he really motivated me to move! I forced myself to keep pace with him, even though I wasn't sure if it would be a mistake later in the race... going out too hard can definitely catch up with you in the 3rd mile.
First mile in, my watch tells me I ran under a 9 minute mile. Not too shabby!
I continued to chase ZZ Top until somewhere past the first mile or maybe the half way point. Then, I don't know what happened, but he lost his spark and fell back a little (although he didn't quit running). I have to admit, I was pretty bummed. It was kind of fun to take bets with myself to see if I could beat a middle aged man with a beard like that.
When he pulled back, I powered ahead and picked the next person ahead of me that I was going to "race". Yes, I do this all the time. It's a race, and my goal is to beat whoever is ahead of me. So, even though I'm not going to win, I am going to BEAT SOMEONE DANG IT!! This is about where I have to admit... keeping pace with a 60 something woman taught me the humility of judging a book by its cover, again. I started wondering almost immediately if I would be able to hold her pace to the finish line. I realized I couldn't and started to pull back somewhere just after the 2nd mile, which my watch said I cleared just past the 18 minute mark.
About this time is when I start to realize that my watch is coming in handy! Doing math in my head I discover that even if I ran my typical slow pace from long distance runs (about 10 min/mile), I might finally do it! I might meet my goal of getting an official 28 minute finish time!! Despite my legs feeling like lead, I refuse to let myself go any slower. Which is hard to do, because we've now transitioned onto the last 1/2ish mile of the race and we're back on a trail again. Running on gravel really sucks.
I guess I can add a note here about the course, and use a fun feature of my new toy (a custom map, ya'll!!). As you can see below, we started at the green dot, which was the parking lot of the Webster High School. As indicated by the green/yellow line, I ran like a mad woman through the city streets until I started to fade a bit at the 1/2 mile mark (note how the line starts to turn orange). A bit before the 1 mile mark, we turned right onto a gravel trail, which we promptly exited again at Oak Street... just to hop on again after clearing the 2 mile mark. Gah! Even flat trail running suxxxx!!!
Here's the map:
The race course was actually kind of an ingenious design, because it allowed the water stop to be stationed right in the center of all the trail running... meaning you could have a double stop to get water if needed. Kudos to the person who figured that one out!
The last bit of the race was a transition off the trail onto the grassy field of the high school leading up to the track. That's where this happened:
ARG! Seriously, you guys. This guy just came out of nowhere and passed me! WTH! So pissed! Here's my after face when I realized what happened:
NOT A HAPPY CAMPER.
But, that didn't last long, because as I frantically looked for the finish clock, I realized I was on track for the ever elusive 28. So I canned the pissy mood and pushed for my final sprint.
You should have to be nekkid to streak that fast, amirite? I look like a pro!
And as my husband took the above photo, he then scrambled to capture this (albeit a few seconds too late):
Not going to lie. I did a little fist pump at the finish line before handing in my bib's tear off tag... profusely sweating all over myself in the process.
Since I had high hopes that I beat most of the other 30 something women to the finish line, I decided I wanted to hang around at the finish for the awards ceremony. I heard there were medals for the top three in every age category, and I figured even if it was 3rd, I wanted that metal dag-nabbit!
My husband and I passed the time by watching other runners come in. Before I could even get my heart rate back in line, ZZ Top came through the finish with a very respectable 30ish minute finish.
People kept rolling in, and at the 40 minute mark the cutest little boy realized he was almost to the finish and broke into a HIGHLY focused sprint. I mean, it was the kind of sprint where he looked like he was shooting death rays out of his eyes and his legs were spinning so fast he put the road runner to shame. It was so stinkin' cute the entire audience cheered him into the finish:
At this point, a few more walkers straggled in and the time keepers started tallying for the winner's circle.
I killed time by looking at my watch and marveling in it's technology. Here's a sample of some of the reports I was able to generate post race:
Finally, the moment came to announce the top threes. Why is it so hard to be patient when you really want something bad?
Top females 12 & under... top males 20s...
Ok, here it comes: top females, 30-39!!
Nope, not 3rd place...
Hmmm, not second place either? Well, shoot. I may as well get up and start walking back to the car.
And then I hear it. "First place, Natalie Cobb." I am so shocked that all I can do is let out a yelp of "Oh my god!"
It took me a few seconds to realize I need to hustle up to the announcers and claim my prize... the whole time I'm in a daze, not able to believe I just took first place.
And then, reality sinks in as I start to walk back to my husband. For all the years where I thought I'd never weigh less than 200 pounds ever again, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd EVER take first place in any kind of athletic event. Even as a kid, I was always the chubby one on the side lines, dreading PE class and hoping to make it through any mandatory athletic event without making too much of a fool of myself. And here I am, holding a medal for first place. I proceeded to lose it when I've cleared the crowd, full on bawling on the way to the car. Not out of pain or anger, but out of sheer pride.
It's times like this that I can't believe who I've become. Not only a PR, but first place. Who is this person?! I don't know, but I'll keep her!
In celebration of a race well done, we head to the local coffee shop. Of course, I can't resist a second to bathe in my glory and pose for a Facebook ready gloat photo:
Little did I know, if I had held in there for another 10 minutes, I could have been featured on the race's website as a champion. UGH! Oh well, next year. Regardless, look at that amazing group that I was a part of:
And that's the story of how race bib # 32 joined my collection. Here's to another race soon... which already happened, actually, so watch for my next recap on Friday!