On turkey trot morning I had my strategy all planned out on how I was going to set a PR and finish a 5K under 27 minutes. I wanted to go out at around a 9 minute pace for half a mile, then 8:30 for a half a mile, 8 for a mile and half and then push hard for anything under 8 till I finished. Only problem was, I forgot to bring a watch so I had no way of knowing what my pace was. So much for strategy! : ) Still, I've run the 5k distance so many times in training that I thought I'd have a pretty good idea of how fast I was going.
Taber and I did an easy 15 minute jog to warm up. It was actually the first time I've ever warmed up before a race. I should probably do that more often. We stretched for a bit and then headed toward the starting line and waited with nervous anticipation.
The horn blew and we took off. I meant to start out slower but with all the race day adrenaline I kicked it up and when we passed the first mile I hadn't even finished two songs on my iPod. most songs are around 4 minutes long so I figured I must be doing around an 8 minute mile. The second mile was tough because we went from being on the road to this little forest trail that was lose, rocky, twisty, and thin. We had to run in single file and Taber pulled ahead but I got stuck behind this slow guy. Finally we came out of the forest trail and I sprinted ahead of the guy and passed Taber in the process. I exerted way too much energy doing that though and at the higher altitude my lungs were burning. Taber easily caught up to me and passed me.
With one mile to go I was getting tired and depressed as I realized I wasn't going to be able to catch up to Taber. He was probably about 50 yards ahead of me when the temptation came to just stop running and catch my breath. That's when I noticed a girl who looked about my age about 10 yards ahead of me. I knew I couldn't catch Taber but I vowed I would catch her. I kicked it up and steadily started closing the gap between us. I could see the finish line and gave it everything I had left. I passed her about 20 feet before we crossed the finish line and finished just 2 people (and 9 seconds) behind Taber.
There wasn't a clock at the finish line and I was dying to find out my time. I knew I ran hard so I felt good about that, but I wanted to know if I had met my goal. Finally the results came out. I grabbed my card and a huge smile broke across my face as I read: Becca Rigg, female, age 29, finish time 25:46, average pace, 8:17 min/mile.
It was such an awesome feeling to set a PR! That's one of the things I love about running. I know I'll never be the fastest girl out there but it's fun to race against myself and improve. Last year when I started running I was doing 11 minute miles on the treadmill and that was tough. Kind of cool to see what a difference a year makes.
The next day when the official results came up online I found out that I also placed 10th out of 77 in my age division of 20-29 year old women. I wouldn't have made it into the top 10 if I hadn't passed that girl. Glad I didn't give into the urge to walk and finished strong instead!