Given the face that I had run nearly 14 miles the day before, I wasn't sure what to expect when I lined up at the starting line for the Run for the Paws 5K on Monday morning.
It's a Labor Day race followed by a parade and festival (featuring free corn!) in a small town that my friend Amanda lives near. I did the race in 2009 and it was a nice small, local race. Knowing I needed to get 3 miles in anyway on Monday and that I hadn't seen Amanda in a few months, I signed up.
Of course, that was thinking my long run would be on Saturday and I'd have a day to recover. Dang Mother Nature.
Before the lightning pushed my long run back a day, I was initially thinking I'd use the 5K on Monday to test out my speed. It was supposed to be cooler and the route is fairly flat. Fast forward to Sunday night, I had legs that were feeling a little trashed (even though I sported my green CEP compression socks all day) and I was seriously thinking of hanging back with Amanda and just getting the miles in at the run/walk pace that she's used to.
But then race day dawned and the legs didn't feel too bad. We lined up at the starting line. I told Amanda I was going to go out and see how I felt. But she shouldn't be surprised if she found me on the side of the road midway through waiting for her.
The gun went off. I started running. There were probably only about 25 people running so I was fairly close to the front. Kind of weird feeling. Anyway.
First mile I was feeling good, but I didn't realize I was running a 9:30 mile. Huh. Guess my legs weren't as trashed as I thought they'd be a day after almost 14 miles. Somewhere around 1.2 miles the route made a left turn and we were heading north on a village street. Straight into the wind. Not a bad wind, but you could definitely feel it. I tried to keep the pace up though. Went through the water stop, grabbed a glass and walked for maybe 10 seconds. Started to run again. Second mile in 10:00.
About a half mile later we made another left hand turn and we in the home stretch. Unfortunately we were also heading uphill. Not a nasty uphill by any means, but enough that it caused my legs to start getting cranky with me. I refused to walk the uphill, waiting until I got to the top before I let myself walk for about 20-30 seconds. This is also when a pair of girls that were behind me - who I had been holding off the entire race so far - passed me along with another woman. Them passing me was kind of a downer, but then I remembered, hello, you just ran 14 miles yesterday. It's OK to take it easy.
I started running again, refused to stop. Made the last turn onto the finish line straight away and tried to kick it into a finish line sprint. I sprinted. But didn't have enough road to catch the three woman that passed me during that brief walk break.
I finished in 30:30. Not too bad considering it was on tired legs from the weekend's long run the day before. And considering it's just 40 second slower than my 5K PR? I'll take it. I got my finisher's medal and chugged some chocolate milk and water. We didn't stick around for the awards ceremony because the pancake breakfast at the high school was calling our names.