Saturday morning September 3 was the day for the Charleston Distance Run. For most of the year it was a day I was looking forward to, because it was going to be my first distance run and my first "long" race. But summer came and life intervened, and I wasn't able to train the way I needed to run the 15 miler. It was a big disappointment for me to have put my goal on hold for another year. Felt like a failure, even though it wasn't.
So when yesterday came around, I was a little sad and disappointed in myself that I was "only" running the 5k. But as somebody said, 15 miles or 5k, you're still out there running. Just what I needed to hear.
I'd had it in my head all summer that I wanted to run a 5k in under 31 minutes, so I set that as my goal. I didn't do much speed work or any real intense training for the race; just my normal running schedule. One rare evening with cool temps and low humidity, I did manage to pull off one training 5k in 30:56 - just barely making the goal time. But even so, I thought I had the race down, since it was early in the morning and in September, when temps "should" be more reasonable.
Ha! Mother Nature decided to laugh in my face. Weather forecast for Saturday said it was to be the hottest day of the year. Temperature at 7:00am, when I was getting out of the car: 71. Humidity level: 93%. Yeah, so much for cool early in the morning. It was brutal; sticky sweaty and steamy. Kept my goal in mind, but told myself I wouldn't be too disappointed if I wasn't able to pull it off because of the ridiculousness of the weather.
The cannon went off and off we went. Started out too far back in a really slow bottleneck, so it took a while to get moving and find an open space that I felt really comfortable in. But I found my spot, and picked out my random runner to keep in sight as a pacer. And promptly passed her. Found another random runner to be my pacer, and promptly passed him. And again, picked one out, and passed. Decided I needed to forget that strategy and just run.
Other than being sweaty and hot, I hit mile 1 feeling good, with an average pace of 10:08. A little slower than I hoped for, but I figured it was due to the slow start, and kept chugging along at a comfortable pace. Mile 2 average was 9:40. Whoa! Didn't know I could go that fast without feeling strained (which I wasn't at all). Awesome! Who knew I had that in me in heat & humidity? Didn't want to over do it and crash and have to walk at the finish, so I tried to keep mile 3 steady and even; which I managed with ease. Mile 3 average was 9:42. Entered Laidley Field with enough left in me to sprint to the finish. Finished in 30:42.
Felt awesome the whole race; yeah, it was hot, yeah, I was soaking wet with sweat, but I felt great. Heart rate felt reasonable; never got out of breath. Finished thinking I could've pushed it harder and run a faster pace. But I'll save that for my next race. :o)