Yesterday, while scrolling my way through the Interwebz, I saw/was reminded somewhere that Megan and her entire family planned on doing the Run for Ribbons 5k today. (Seriously, they do all of these races together, and it's pretty much adorable.)
Itching to race and not having done so since The Crim in August, I quickly texted her to see if I could crash the family party. Since this week was a cutback week in Marine Corps training, I wanted to just throw it all out on the course and see what happened.
With my standing 5k PR set back in March of 2011, I knew it was time to put my skillz to the test. One of two options were likely:
1) Death, or something like it. If I was lucky, I'd cross the finish line having not peed myself nor in need of a med tent.
2) A decent, fast-ish (for me) time and a happy-to-be-back-to-actual-racing-5k's-instead-of-jogging-them-while-super-pregnant disposition as I cruised the post-race refreshment tables.
Neither of those happened exactly, but they both kind of happened together.
So, this morning, Charlotte started stirring at 7:05 a.m., which was good, because I'd wanted to be up and ready 15 minutes earlier. She'd also been super fussy last night due to (what we now know is) an ear infection.
Thus, I made a game-day decision at exactly 7:06 that I would indeed run the race as she seemed to be in good spirits, and Kevin offered to hang out with her while I got some Momma Run Time in.
I made it to downtown Plymouth just in time to register and photobomb Megan's family's pics.
Her whole family was sponsored by Renewal by Andersen. Aren't they adorable?
The race was small - just over 200 people - so Megan and I had a feeling we could do well in the rankings. With an odd gun start/chip finish, we knew we had to actually pay attention at the start. Unfortunately, we didn't get close enough to the line, so we spent the first quarter mile weaving through people and jumping over orange cones.
After that waste of energy, we settled in to a nice pace somewhere in the mid to upper 7's. Both of us held PRs just over 24 minutes, and we were looking to break that this morning.
Although it was a mere 41 degrees out, and I couldn't quite feel my hands, we kept pace nicely as we headed into mile 2. Somewhere in there, we caught up with Megan's brother who made a third point in our little running triangle.
At this point, I started to wonder if I could hold on for another mile and, just like at the Crim, regretted ever trying to run hard. This "I want to PR" attitude is ridiculous.
But then that stupid P90X guy, Tony Whatever, kept popping into my brain. I've only ever done like three P90X videos because I can't stay on track with any exercise regimen besides running, but that guy's stupid peanut-shaped head kept flashing at me, saying things like, "You can do anything for a mile!' and "If this guy with the prosthetic leg can do it, so can you!"
And finally, I begrudgingly listened and pushed on. Megan and her bro fell back just a hair at this point, and I set my sights on a dude who was tall and skinny which of course meant that he was fast. I held the reins until about mile 2.6 and then swung my arms like a goddamn locomotive and kept on his heels until the final .2.
With the final turn and home stretch in sight, I poured my guts into my legs and sprinted past him to the tune of a bazillon cheerleaders from the local high school saying inspirational things.
It felt pretty awesome to chick Tall-And-Skinny Guy Who Looked Fast.
Final: 23:53, 7:42/mile
So I ran fast (for me) and then almost keeled over and died at the end. Luckily, Megan and her bro came in right after me, and we walked over to the delicious spread of food which kept me from a certain end.
If a new 5k PR wasn't enough, a nice race lady began posting official results, and Megan and I rushed over to find out that we'd respectively placed fourth and second females overall.
Never ever have I ever placed overall in a race, big or small, so seeing that made me want to kiss the nice race lady and offer to give her my second born child.
Even though they weren't giving out awards for any placements, Megan and I were pretty stoked to see ourselves up so high, and the post-race apple cider and doughnuts more than made up for it.
Besides, I can always frame a printed copy of the race results, right?
So the moral of the story is this: No more preparing for races. Instead, start rolling out of bed 54 minutes before gun time and hope that the race gods treat you well.