When I woke up this morning, I wasn't at all sure how this day would go. Coming off of a week with some not so great training runs (didn't get all the miles in that I had hoped for and the miles that I did get in were hot and hard). A while back I had set a goal pace and finish time, but was feeling really optimistic when I did it. I didn't think I could hit either. I've run this race that last 2 years, and both of those race days were hot and humid, which made for some pretty miserable runs. I've always finished, but it's always been a struggle. With the tough week I had and the anticipation of the heat/humidity run killer, my expectations were not at all high.
First thing I did when I got up was check the temperature and humidity, so I could decide if I wanted to wear a t-shirt or a tank top. I chose the tank. Orange tank, blue sparkly skirt, green cap, and I was dressed and ready to go in my Goofy-inspired attire.
I got to the parking lot, pinned on my bib, performed my car door lock ritual (for some reason I have to keep checking to make sure my extra car key will in fact unlock the car), and got my ipod situated. I started to walk away from the car and realized I had lost one of the pins holding on the bib. Not good. I looked on the ground; didn't find it. I looked in the car; didn't find it or another one from a different race. So I rearranged the remaining three pins so the loose corner would be in a less annoying spot. Before heading to the start, I thought I'd check around the car again. Guess the light was better this time, because there it was. Bib repinned on all four corners and I was ready to run.
I lined up near the back of the middle of the 5k-ers, and took off nice and slow when the cannon went off. I wasn't in a hurry, and I didn't fall victim to my usual race day rush to keep up with everybody else. I took it easy and slow. It felt great. At the one mile point, my pace was a little slower than my goal, but I didn't obsess about it and just ran. As the crowd thinned out I started to speed up a bit. Still felt really good - no heat/humidity issues, no stamina/endurance issues. I was cruising along to a negative split at mile 2. Awesome! Haven't done that in ages. Since I was still feeling good, I sped up a little more for mile 3. Easy peasy run to another negative split. Wow! Entered Laidley Field with plenty of energy for a nice speedy lap around the track to the finish line (only a tenth of a mile, but it was a negative split too). OMG! I met my goal finish time, pretty much down to the second. Score!
If I had had a plan (other than a time goal), it would have looked a lot like what I ran - starting slow, keeping it easy, getting faster as I went, and feeling awesome at the finish. It's been a long time since I've had a 5k feel easy; if I've ever had one feel easy. This wasn't anywhere close to PR time-wise, but I'm still putting it into the Personal Best category*
*aside - I'm such a West Virginian that I spelled that phonetically as "catergory", before proofreading. ;-)
Finish Time: 32:34 (Garmin); 32:32 (official)
Pace per mile: 10:25
(in case you're curious, my goal was a pace of 10:30 per mile, with a finish time of 32:30)
Definitely feeling the runner's high today, and I have high hopes that my goals for my fall half marathons might not be quite so far fetched after all. Running this year has been a struggle but lately, during the month of August, I've been having some really good runs and running is finally starting to feel fun again. My mindset is changing back to "I get to run x miles tonight" instead of "I have to run x miles tonight." And that's a good thing.
What made the change? I think part of it is I got new shoes. And by new shoes, I don't mean a new pair of the same model shoe in some new exciting color (the new ones are a kind of boring grey). I went to a running store, talked with a run shoe expert and I switched to a totally different shoe. I went from the neutral Nike Pegasus (which unknown to me) caused my feet to tilt inward, to the Nike LunarGlide. It's a stability shoe that keeps my foot flatter. I get more power when I push off every step, which means less leg fatigue and just an all 'round better feel.