Today was the Rudolph Run. Rick and I got up early and I got ready. Rick is still nursing his injury from the DRC 1/2 and wasn't able to join me for this run on the road, but he was there with the camera and in spirit once again as my greatest supporter!
It was about 33 degrees when we left the house, so I was in long sleeves and sweats...I think I need to get some running tights that aren't quite so heavy to run in. When we got there I was amazed! When we ran the Springfest run last spring parking was no problem, but today there just weren't any spots left. People were parking along the road and in the grass, in business parking lots, EVERYWHERE! We went on down and parked at the courthouse and walked back to the staging area. We went over to the tents and picked up our bibs and T-shirts - and I got my chip for the timing. Then we walked by the tents to see what they were giving away, or signing you up for. The annoucer told us at this time that this was the biggest Rudolph Run yet...there were over 3,000 runners participating! The milers were just finishing up and they were calling for the 5K folks to go to the start line, so - off I went.
I participated in the warm-ups and the time went pretty quickly. Before I knew it they were doing the 10 second countdown to start and the crowd started moving. I crossed the start line but still had to walk a little bit before the crowd really started to pick up the pace and spread out a little. It wasn't nearly as bad as some of the other races I've been in lately, I didn't see anyone really walking at the start - they were just packed in so tightly trying to cross the timing mats we couldn't get running very well. Finally the group spread out and we could get to our paces.
I really wanted to make the race a good one and so I was going for under 30 minutes. I've only done that one time so I know I CAN do it...just haven't been able to reproduce that one run. Since it was the same course I was very hopeful for today's race. At the 1 mile mark I checked Garmin and I was at a 9:33 pace - so that was really good and I was on track! I was still feeling good, and even got tickled as I passed a pack of young girls (elementary or middle school age) who were just slowing down to a walk. I heard one ask, "How much farther?" so I told her, "Only 2 more miles to go". I felt pretty good that I had enough air to talk going at that pace...hehehehe.
I kept running and recognized some of the landmarks from last spring. I knew where some of the tougher parts were and tried to prepare myself for them. The second mile wasn't quite as fast, but I was happy with a 9:53. So at the 2 mile mark I was at 19:28 - 30 seconds under a 10 minute mile...if I could keep it up, or speed back up just a little I would make my goal! I kept pushing. I was really starting to feel the run at about the 2.25 mark and I saw the water station and crossed the street to get some water - I think this was a mistake for me...if I had bypassed the water I wouldn't have slowed down and I probably would have been OK - but once I slowed for the water I couldn't get back up to the speed I needed. I noticed my stomach and claves were cramping up so I actually walked for about 30 seconds and then went back to running again. I knew Rick was waiting somewhere up ahead with the camera and I wanted to look good so I sucked it up and took off. I was really feeling the run but I kept looking ahead to see if I could see him - I saw 3 photographers standing just in front of the final turn and I KNEW one of them was Rick...I was right. He was shooting pictures of me and grinning from ear-to-ear!
See here I am leading those other 350 some odd runners to the finish!
Finally, I looked down at the Garmin and saw my 3 mile time was 29:43. I knew then I wasnt going to make my goal, but I was going to be close. This was just after I passed Rick. I felt like I was really dragging, but I was actually still running at about a 10:15 pace...This is pretty good for me - I feel best at about 10:30 on my really long runs. I rounded the corner where Rick was taking pictures and headed for the finish line. I still thought I could be close to my other times - right around 30:00 minutes....I actually finished in 31:18. Not my best, but not my worst either - and an overall 9:55 pace...
I KNOW I can beat that 30 minute mark - and I will, soon. Today just wasn't the day. I finished 7 out of 15 in my age group. I was relieved to see that even if I had PR'd and run under my best of 29:54 I still would have finished in the same place. Overall in the 5K there were 766 runners and I placed number 412. Not too shabby!
Next scheduled run right now is not until the end of February - the Cowtown 1/2....that is where I will be trying for my 2:20 time again. I think I can...I think I can...