About 45 minutes into my drive, I realized I had forgotten my watch (who forgets their watch? - yeah, me! soooo incredibly stupid!!!) but fortunately I had time to run to Target. I got a new watch - I would have liked to get a features-rich one, but I didn't have time to figure out how to set it and use the stop watch features so basic was what I got:
The pre-race atmosphere for this event is unexplainably friendly. The line for the restroom was like we had all been lifelong friends :) So nice!!! Here are some pre-race crowd photos:
The festivities started off with a "Little Princess" .25 mile run - they were sooo cute!!!! In years past there was also a 100 yard men's high heel hustle, but it didn't take place this year.
After a prayer and the signing of the Star Spangled Banner, we were off - wow, can I just say that I have a whole NEW respect for power walkers!!! Running is WAY easier than power walking. It was exactly 1:48 into the race when I looked at my watch for the first time and nearly decided to quit the race - REAL thoughts of dropping out were in my head. My shin muscles felt as if they were going to FALL OFF and it was only 1:48 into the race. Best case scenario - I still had like 45 more minutes. WHAT WAS I THINKING? WHY DID I DRIVE ALL THE WAY OVER HERE TO DO THIS? Then alternate options came into my head - take off my number (which was a walker's number) and just begin running it - it would result in a DNF but at least it wouldn't kill me AND that would be better than quitting! I was surrounded by the hardest core power walkers I have ever seen. The Olympics got NOTHIN' on these ladies. Seriously - there's NO WAY to paint the picture for you - seriously hard core FAST walkers!!!! Unbelievable. Some of them were OLD too - how is it that they can be beating me?!? Some of them were short and their stride had to be the same length as their height - dang they were moving -their arms and legs moved like that of a speed skater . I decided that if they could do it so could I. I next looked at my watch at 5:20 - really? It's been 5 minutes. I'm huffing and puffing and my shins are going to snap - they were ON FIRE burning in pain and it's been 5:20 - could that time be right? Maybe this new watch really wasn't working. I had my music and since I didn't have to worry about an interval timer - I blasted the crap out of my Yurbuds! I decided that I was going to give this thing my best try because at the moment I was sitting in about 15th place out of the walkers (or so I thought) and dang it - I came all the way over to this event to win an award (I was hoping for 3rd in my age group). So I dug in and decided to take this race 5 minutes at a time. And honestly, I really did do it 5 minutes at a time! 5 minutes X 8 (and some change) little tiny painful and incredibly challenging segments of only 5 minutes (that felt like an hour each for the record). And then at 13:38 guess what - I was at the one mile mark!!! Say what? 13:38 is like my "fast" running pace - wow, no wonder my shins are going to fall off - I'm booking it! Hmmm, okay I thought. I only have 2 more miles. Last year the course was super hilly and I feared for the 2nd mile, but returned to the "5 minutes at a time" focus!!! I honestly looked at my watch every 5 minutes and took satisfaction that I lasted 5 more minutes. Luckily the 2nd mile of this year's course was different - it was beautiful and shaded and through woods and just visually relaxing which made for a wonderful contrast to the tight intense burning and fatigue I was feeling. At about the 1 3/4 mark I began to pass some of the women that I had been in awe of thus far in the race. At about the 2 mile mark I passed this incredible woman and her young daughter (seriously, how can they be walking faster than I was for 2 miles??). Then, for the last 3/4 mile I was exactly beside a 70 year old. That woman was walking me into the ground. I didn't so much worry because she was clearly in a different age group than I; however just about 50 yards in front of me was a woman who could have easily been in my age group so slowing down or giving up was not an option. At the 2.5 mile mark I knew there 2 super steep hills, but it didn't matter- I broke into my Olympic style butt shwooshing walk and just sucked.it.up and went as fast as I could. With about 1/4 of a mile left, I passed the woman who had been 50 yards in front of me and possibly in my age group (later I found out she was a group younger than I) - I finally had also passed the 70 year old, but only ended up beating her by about 15 yards. I accepted a few high fives along the way but otherwise this event took my entire focus and energy - a big chunk of my focus was to remain walking - running at this pace seems more natural but is definitely against the rules. I used several different walking styles during this race to give other muscle groups a chance to take some of the stress off my shins and hips at least for a few strides. The oddest style had to be when I bent my knees and kept them bent through several strides - looked dumb, not very effective, but let me use my quads and hams a little rather than my shins and calves - ahhhh, then the quads burned so . . . back to the normal speed walking form.
I'm glad I stuck it out and more importantly I'm glad that I opted to do the 5K walk - why? Well, as long time readers and my training partners know - I have struggled with the mental aspect of running. In prep for last month's solo half marathon - you all gave me GREAT advice and in the past 6 weeks I have had lots of chances to put to use the various methods (counting steps, breaking into smaller segments like just to the light pole, breaking it into smaller time segments like I did at this race, visualizing frenemies, remembering what it took to get to this point, etc). This race forced me to dig to a depth I have never had to go and I was able to knock it out of the park!!!! So glad I had this mental race to challenge me to remind me that I am strong - and that I have the ability to overcome what feels impossible!!!! When it was all done, my time was 42:50 - which for walking is outstanding (at least for me - some of my running 5K's have been slower than that!). That was good enough to get me FIRST IN MY AGE GROUP!!!!! Are you kidding?!?! I got first in my age group - got a trophy. I have NEVER (and probably will never again) gotten first in my age group at any race for anything - last yes, but never first! When my name was called, I did my silly "happy jump" on the way to get my trophy (in front of like 200 women) and then because that got me a loud clap - I did the "happy jump" again after I got the trophy on my way back to my seat. Hee hee! I was thankful for the claps especially since I had no peepes there with me!
|self photo in the car; you can see my nails were painted to match my shirt :)|
When I got home, my hubs took a better photo of me and my new trophy :)
As a side note:
I loved the event so much that I borrowed their fabulous idea and created a nearly identical event in my hometown (with the help of some aweosome women). Our Girls' Night Out event is on Friday, October 14th and is SUCH A FUN EVENING that if you're in the area you SHOULD definitely register - click HERE to learn more about it and/or to register online. Our evening is a 2 mile wellness walk, dinner, chocolates, guest speaker, demonstrations to improve the health and well being of women, and then 90 minutes of zumba. Oh yeah, we also have about 15 door prizes that are valued between $50-$100. It's an evening of fun and pampering and is guaranteed to be a GREAT time!!!
What is your "go to" strategy when a race or a run (or walk) gets really tough?I guess mine is to break the race/run into smaller segments (on this race I did the 5 minute thing, but on my last solo 10 miler, I broke it up into incredibly small distances. Counting steps is a close 2nd choice.
Do you ever enter races/events because you feel you have a chance to win or place in your age group or PR because it's a fast course? And do you consider this okay to do?
Not usually - I did enter the walking division rather than running division for this race because I thought there was a chance I could place in my age group. I'm not sure if I feel it's okay or not - looking for you thoughts on this one.