Saturday, July 21, 2007

I ran down the hill, up the hill and I still beat that woman by a nose

I was so happy last night, I felt like doing a little dance.

But instead of dancing across the finish line, I decided to out sprint the woman next to me instead.

Last night I ran in the Sunset 5K, a run held in conjunction with Paperfest in Kimberly. And the reason I wanted to do that little dance? How about a new personal best for me. That's right, I crossed the finish line in 31 minutes, 56 seconds. A new fastest time for me.

In April, I finished the Oshkosh 5K in 32 minutes, 30 seconds and my time at the Lake Fly 5K in June was in the 33:30 range (but in my defense, that was 3-weeks post Great Neck Slicing). So needless to say, I was quite pleased with shaving off 34 seconds off my 5K time last night.

So a little bit about the race. It was in a park in Kimberly and was two laps of a 1.55 mile loop. The course itself wasn't too bad. Pretty flat in the neighborhood surrounding the park, but unfortunately it featured this nasty hill right before the finish/midpoint.

When we were getting ready to start I lined up in the middle of the pack. I ended up putting myself in a good spot, right around a bunch of runners who were about at my pace. I ran with them for about the first three-quarters of a mile, but then I found myself passing a bunch of folks. And I felt good.

As I passed the first mile marker, the guy yelled out 9:35. Dude, did I hear the man right? Did he just tell me I ran a 9:35 minute mile? That's unheard of for me? But I was pleased. And of course then I started thinking, could I maintain the pace for a 30-minute 5K? Needless to say, that 9:35 minute mile gave me a bit of motivation, especially when I got to the bottom of that nasty hill for the first time.

The hill. It was tough. But I kept running. And passing people who gave up and started to walk up the hill. I got to the top and saw my Mom and niece standing by the side of the road, cheering me on. I kept running and all of a sudden the cheers got substantially louder. What? All these people cheering for little ole me? Nope. Turns out the race winner was right behind and that's who they were cheering for. Yeah, he was fast and deserved all the cheers. But it still felt nice to hear all the cheering and I ran by.

I kept running. I felt like I was keeping up a decent pace, maybe a tiny bit slower, but I was OK with that. The race official at the 2-mile marker told me my time was 20:30. Still not too shabby. A 30-minute 5K was still in my sights, although I'd have to pick up the pace a bit.

Then there was the hill again. People around me stopped running and walked, but I kept running. The top of the hill was in my sights. I rounded the corner and there was the finish line. I started pushing it, hoping to finish in a decent sprint. And I would have been happy to leave it at that.

But then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this woman come up beside me. And there was no way I was going to let her beat me. So I pushed it. I was in a flat out sprint. I swear, the last time I ran that fast had to be in my junior high school track days, the days when I thought I was a sprinter.

And my determination paid off.

I beat her by a nose.

I don't think she was happy.

But me? Not only did I beat her, but I posted my best 5K time yet.


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