On Sunday, October 23, I ran the Make a Difference 5K. It's a small, community-type race put on by the PTSA of Shore Middle School to benefit a local food pantry. I ran the race last year and since it was close to my house and the course went through nearby neighborhood streets as well Veterans Park, a beautiful local park, I figured why not end the month of October with a nice, small race.
The weather was a chilly 50 degrees and clouds until after the race was over. It was also damp so it felt colder than 50. I still opted to wear one of my USMC tank tops and black running skort than long sleeves and capris though.
Going into this race, I really didn't have any goals for the race other than to hopefully run faster than last year (26:07 which somehow snagged me an AG placing even though it was my 2nd slowest time for that year). While I figured I'd have no problem at least breaking 26:00, I really had no plans for much more, especially considering my sister and I went on a winery tour Saturday night. While I offered to drive to where the bus was meeting us which meant I couldn't get all wild and crazy, I still wasn't sure how a variety of local wines were going to agree with me on race day. Anyway, my sister and co-worker were doing the race too but my sister was behind schedule so I didn't see her until she was just finishing up the race. My co-worker and I talked for a bit and then I headed off to do a real brief warm up run.
Even though there was a timing mat at the start this year, I decided to get closer to the front mainly because there were so many kids and I've been in several races where kids have dead stopped right in front of me and I've almost bit the dust because I didn't have enough time to react. Unfortunately, there were more of them than adults at the starting line so I just accepted it for what it was and waited for the race to start. After all, I wasn't looking to PR anyway and this race was supposed to be for fun anyway. The gun went off and away we went. For a small race, it was still congested. I was finally able to get in front of most of group once we hit the park trail around the 3/4 mile mark but it was still pretty slow going up to that point with the amount of kids/slower runners who were in the front of the pack and it was hard to get around them. Of course, it never fails there has to be that ONE little boy who will look over his shoulder and cut in front of me every time I try to pass. This has happened to be quite often this year and I'm beginning to think I'm a little kid magnet. LOL It's extremely frustrating regardless.
Once again, my race strategy was to pick out a runner and either keep up with them or pass them. This plan has served me well and there were several targets in this race. Other than feeling tired like you do when you are racing, there were times I felt in pretty good groove so I just zoned out listening to my tunes and enjoyed the changing trees around me. Towards the end though, between miles 2 and 3, I felt like I was losing steam though and it just so happened Kick Start My Heart by Mötley Crüe started playing and while I don't typically run to the beat of the music during a race, I needed to something to keep me from slowing down. It certainly worked because as we made our way out of the park and back to the school and approached the time clock, I saw it was still in the 24's (to say I was shocked is an understatement), I mustered up whatever energy I had left and gunned it. Finish time of 24:41 which just so happens to by my 2nd fastest time for 2016!!!
They have live results so I went over to the monitor and surprised again, I was first in my AG. Woot woot! But wait, there's more! After my sister and co-worker finished, we met up with a couple of the XC parents (one of the moms ran the race but the other two were there volunteering) and talked while we waited for the award ceremonies. They announced the male overall winers first and then the female overall. Imagine my surprise when they called my name as 3rd overall female!!! I couldn't believe it.
So thus completes race #14 for 2016 and I am so glad I followed the advice of some of the runners on the Runners World Running Forum I am a member of of not making every race a PR this year. I tried doing that in 2015 and all it did was frustrate me almost to the point I didn't know if I wanted to run anymore. Having only one goal race (which for me is the Race for the Place 5K in June) and letting the cards fall as they may with all the others really has served me well. I am also glad that I treat every race as a learning experience and try to find at least one take away. I've learned when you run with your heart rather than expectations, it makes all the difference and with the racing season winding down, I have successfully met another goal for 2016 of not worrying about a PR every race and feeling pretty darn ok about it. =)
This really was a great race all around. Very well organized, a nice course, and decent post-race goodies. I'll definitely go back for round three next year!
Splits: 8:23, 8:22, 7:55
Stats: 1/8 AG, 3/80 Females, 22/130 OA
|My "bling." I also received a $5 gift certificate to the local running store, Second Sole.|
|Me and one of the XC moms who won 3rd in her AG.|