Originally posted on: October 26, 2014
Today was one of those days, I will always remember.
Me finishing the Terrier 5K 10-26-14
The race went from something that I honestly didn't want to do, to something memorable.
Okay Harold, WTF are you talking about.
This morning's race - I won.
No, I don't mean I won my age group, I mean that I won.
Something that I have never done before in any race over 200 yards.
Yes, I was/am excited about it. No I am not bragging because 22:28 for a 5K is not a fast winning time, but of the people who showed up for this race -- it was the fastest time.
This was a small local race and there was another larger race going on, on the other side of town at the same time. So the usual suspects were over at that race or had run in one of several other races this weekend.
Okay let's get down to what happened.
Patrick, the President of the Central Maine Striders saw me in the parking lot before the race and we got to talking about club business, when he left, he told me to "win the race".
I very sarcastically said back to him - "yeah right, like that is ever going to happen!" and we both laughed. I usually do okay, but we both know that I am not "that" fast. Age group - mmmm maybe, but overall - not likely.
Little did I know.
We got lined up and I had promised myself that I was going to go out slow, 7:10 or so first mile. I always go out way too fast and then die, so I wanted to try something different. Especially since the start is uphill until the turn onto the River Road and then a long uphill section on the Webb Road.
The first 100 yards there was some jockeying for position as usual and then suddenly I was in the lead. When we got to the turn onto the River Road I was ahead by a few yards.
Which shocked me!
I sped up a little, then remembered that I was supposed to go slower, besides I thought to myself, somebody is going to pass me pretty soon.
Sträva Stats Terrier 5K - 10-26-14
When we got to the turn on the Webb Road, I was still in first, so I sped up a little, which had been my plan to start running harder at the turn.
Then I got to thinking (a dangerous thing), I have never won a road race - ever.
In over 40 years of running, I have never won a road race outright and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to win this race. So I stopped caring about my time - it no longer mattered.
Which meant that I slowed down a little and began to run tactically. A completely different mindset, with only one goal, to stay in first place.
I was really worried about someone picking up the pace after the first mile and hammer by me on the hill. However, the real nightmare scenario that I had in my mind was having my hamstring or Achilles blowing up on me, from pushing hard up the hill and having to walk it to the finish.
I had a little lead and wanted to keep it until I got to the top of the Webb Road Hill and the turn-around. I ran comfortably hard up the hill, no I didn't look back, but I couldn't hear any footsteps behind me either.
This was strange and unknown territory for me, the lead and some space. I was feeling like I had another couple of gears if I needed them, even though I was running uphill. I wasn't going to let someone easily pass me at this point, they were going to have to work pretty hard to go by.
When I got to the top of the hill and the turn-around, I pushed hard for a bit, until I saw where the second place runner was. From that point on, while I was running faster and kept surging every so often, I was running relaxed. I always felt like if someone had gotten up on my shoulder, I had another gear or more to go.
I gotta admit, I did loose focus in a couple of spots, when I looked back and no one was close to me. Those are those blips in the graph, I would let off the gas and then realize what I was doing and speed back up.
Once I turned back on River Road and didn't see anyone behind me, I admit that I relaxed a little and enjoyed the experience of running by myself in first place.
I have a feeling that this is one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences for me, so I lost my running focus for a little bit and kind of coasted down the River Road.
However, when I hit the final stretch, I decided to go for it and ran pretty good to the finish, breaking a sub 6:00 for the final .1 :-).
This was my fastest 5K this year by a couple of seconds, but I really do not/did not care about the time. Could I have shaved a minute or so off the time? Probably, but that wasn't what I wanted this time. I wanted to do what Patrick told me to do.
I still can't believe that I did it.
Oh well, next race will be back to reality, but for one race...no one crossed the line ahead of me.
It must have been because Mary and Bennie were there for the race. My good luck charms.
Bennie and I after the race
Sometimes it is not about how fast you are running, it is about whether you show up. This morning, I was looking for a reason not to go to this race and when Mary said she was going, it took away any excuses about bowing out.
I am glad that I showed up for a change.
One thing I want to add, was how the race was run. It was a well-managed and fun run. The race director, organizers and all the volunteers working the race were so helpful. I like the races run out of Thomas College (although that quick hill at the start is a pain in the petty) and the awards ceremony was fun. Although, the first half was mostly uphill, which meant coming back was mostly downhill, it was a very good race.
They took some photos, so hopefully, I will have them to share later :-)