We're talking about the time it took me to walk through the water stop in an attempt not to spill a glassful of water all over myself on a chilly day. Or the extra seconds I took to get up the hill without killing myself on the wet, leave covered street.
Eleven seconds is what stands between me and a sub-34 minute 5K after yesterday's YMCA Freaky 5K.
After it poured all day on Friday and was super windy, I was not looking forward to my 6:30 a.m. wake up call Saturday morning. I was almost scared to turn on the Weather Channel or peak out the windows. It was going to be chilly.
And it was. When I left my parents' house to drive over to the race site, the Weather Channel told me it was 37 degrees outside and windy. Great. Maybe the coldness will make me run faster, I thought.
I got to the park, got my race packet and headed back to my car. Because it would have been cute to watch the little kids run in their costumes, it was too cold to stand around for 45 minutes. So I went back to the car, pinned my number on my T-shirt, decided on the ear warmer over the stocking hat and tried to stay warm.
It worked. Kind of.
It was finally time to line up for the start. I walked over, dodged the puddles left over from the rain the day before and waited. My mom had come with me, so the plan was I'd keep my jacket on until just before the horn sounded in an attempt to stay a bit warmer. I was wearing my running pants, a long-sleeve tech shirt and a T-shirt layered over the top along with my ear warmer and gloves. I was cold just standing there, but I was pretty sure I'd be warm enough once I started running.
The gun sounded and I was off.
The course immediately started with a downhill towards the river. Still a little crowded so I didn't go super fast. Ran along the river for a bit and then the uphill climb was staring me in the face. An uphill climb covered with wet slippery leaves, which weren't too bad at the beginning but really stunk near the top of the climb. I took them a bit slow, just crossing my fingers I wouldn't slip and do a face plant into the cement.
I didn't. Made it to the top of the hill and kept running. Passed the first mile marker in 10 minutes, 49 seconds. Not bad I thought.
I kept running. Somewhere around 1.5 miles, this little black dog wearing a pumpkin sweater passes me. He was on a leash, but it was one of those retractable leashes, so the owner was behind me. And that little dog? He didn't like to run in a straight line and wanted to go visit the guy running next to me. And he didn't care that as he moved towards the other runner he nearly tripped me with his leash. Not happy. I gave the dog owner a nasty glare as she ran past me. Next year? Leave your dog at home.
I slowed down to a fast walk when I went through the water station. Didn't want to spill cold water on my already cold self. Drank, tossed the cup and started running again. Hit the second mile marker in 11:13.
Last mile was uneventful. My fingers and toes were starting to get a little cold, but that was the extent of my uncomfortableness. Passed the third mile marker in 11:06, rounded one last corner and the finish line was in sight. I kicked it into a new gear and sprinted towards the finish.
I was hoping to break the 34 minute mark, but realized the hills and weather might play a factor, so I wasn't getting overly optimistic. Finished in 34 minutes, 11 seconds. Another new PR for me this season, but that still leaves me struggling to break 34 minutes.
Since April, when I logged my slowest, stand alone 5K ever, I've managed to whittle away the seconds. Take a look at my 5K times this year:
Oshkosh 5K (April 18) - 37:05
Fox Firecracker 5K (July 4) - 35:36
Scheel's Sunset 5K (July17) - 35:03
Run for the Paws (Sept. 7) - 34:14
YMCA Freaky 5K ( Oct. 24) - 34:11
So yes, I'm glad I've shaved almost three minutes off my time so far this year. But still, I'd love to get past that 34 minute mark. So I think I'm adding an additional 5K on Thanksgiving weekend...my last shot at breaking 34 minutes this year.
Be afraid 34 minutes. Be very afraid.