Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Braves Country 5K Race Recap

After the 5K in Arizona where I ran a 25:13, which was my second 5K in the 25:10s, I set the goal for myself to break 25 minutes in a 5K. I felt pretty confident that I would be able to do it at some point because the 5K in Arizona, I actually didn’t even feel my best while running. I knew I had more I could have given during that race and was looking for an opportunity to try and break that goal.

With the Braves Country 5K this past Saturday, I thought it might be a good chance to try and achieve my latest goal.  So that is how I started the race, going into an aggressive start corral and taking off RUNNING.

Then literally a quarter of a mile into the race, when I was hot and felt like the air I was breathing in was as thick as jelly (is that a saying? What else is thick? Thick as stew? Thick as molasses? Is that one it?), gave that up mentally.

It was HOT and the course had a number of hills (Arizona was FLAT) so I said to myself, “It’s okay Katelyn, you can PR in a different race. This one might just be about survival.” And I pulled back on my pace a bit.

When I got to the 1 mile marker they had a clock up and I saw that my 1 mile time was about 8:00 minutes. “Huh?” I thought to myself, “I guess I did start out pretty well! That’s not bad!”

Given how I was feeling I thought it would be a lot worse.

I’d previously looked up the course route online and knew that it was a square route and with two right turns, I would be headed back. I told myself to just keep going at the pace I was carrying and see what happened. A PR I still was thinking was out of the picture for this race. I figured I must have run that first .25 miles way too hard and that my pace was still continuing to progressively decline.

There was a little bit of downhill after the first right hand turn and then after turning again and heading back towards the stadium the hills started that were just painful. I literally had to break them up mentally and celebrate the tiniest victories telling myself, “Just keep going until you get to that tree.” “Just keep going until you get to that street sign.” “Just keep going until you get to that garbage can.” Rather than looking to the top of the hill.

While running I try and look at my watch as little as possible and also try to just run as hard as my body will let me. I wrote about this thought when I did the Publix Half Marathon and my running coach was asking me to dothe math to see how much extra time I had cushioned in. I told her I was just going to go hard and if I did the time I wanted, I would. I looked at my watch when I saw I was at 2.4 miles and also saw that my time was under 24 minutes but didn’t do the math to see how well I was doing. Things were pretty painful and I kept thinking, “Where is that damn stadium?!?” Eventually it emerged and my thought immediately turned to, “When the hell are we getting inside?” I was ready for this race to be OVER.

When we hit 3 miles we were still outside of the stadium and they had another clock up and I saw I went by it right around 24 minutes. “HOLY SHIT!” was my immediate mental reaction, knowing that I had 1 minute to finish that .1 mile and that I would reach my goal after all. I immediately kicked my body into gear giving everything I had and sprinting towards the finish. Earlier that week on a midweek tempo run, my friend had forced us to sprint to the finish at the end of a particularly hard run. It was a good practice!

I ran as hard as I could that last .1 mile and I swear to god it was the longest .1 mile ever. I think it was too long, to be honest. I don’t know. Because I crossed the finish line at 24:57 (and technically, I know I was running faster than a 10 minute mile pace that last .1) Maybe they had the 3 mile marker early, I’ll have to check it out when I look at my data online, but I crossed that finish line BEAT.

I thought I was going to throw up and I thought I was going to pass out. I felt similarly crossing the finish line of the Publix Half Marathon, although I did recover much quickly just after the 5K. I had gone hard during this race and the heat and humidity and hills had taken their toll. BUT I PRed and I broke 24 minutes!!! I was so excited but wouldn’t allow myself to be excited right away. According to my personal watch timing of the race, I had PRed, but for races, I go by official times.

I didn’t see the results online until a bit later in the day, and when I saw my time was 24:57 official I was so happy. Never would I have previously thought I could run times like this.

I remember the day I ran “Sean’s Race” which was the first 5K I did where I ran in the 26 minutes.  I thought it was a compete fluke and that I would never see that time ever again.

I remember when I ran 25:35 for the first time at the Jailhouse Rock 5K and attributed the time to the majorly downhill coast to a finish (the race advertises that it is where you will get your “summertime PR.” And then again when I ran 25:10 and then another 25:13. And now I have ventured into the 24s?! Unreal.

My place was 14/215 runners in my age group. Which although not the gold medals I’ve pulled in on the last couple of races that I have done, is still pretty incredible to me and something I am very proud of. I still am only competing against myself. I will not be running to win races and my own personal past race times will still be the main thing I am competing against, however, I do like to see where I stack up in my age group.

We are ranked against our peers in everything that we do our whole lives. It is only natural. I think back to in high school when it is most obvious with the coveted “class rank” that came out on every report card showing you how you stacked up against your peers. I naturally compare myself to those around me and maybe it is mental but I never feel like I stack up to the majority of other people around. Never smart enough. Never pretty enough. Never successful enough. Never thin enough. It’s cool to see myself do something that I WAS NEVER GOOD AT and be at the front end of the pack. I’m a little ashamed to admit that because I feel like I should be saying that the place rankings mean nothing to me. And they don’t mean everything, by my means, but it is cool to see where I stack up and does make me feel good to see that I am not just good “for me” but I am getting pretty good, just in general! It teaches me to expect more of myself. Not having high self esteem my whole life, you can tend to set low expectations for yourself. I’ve been an average/middle-of-the-pack type person in most things I’ve done my whole life. I will repeat this because it keeps repeating over and over in my mind, but it makes me feel proud to have found something that, even late in my life, I am fairly good at. And it is RUNNING, you guys! Something that was my arch nemesis my entire life – RUNNING – that I can do not. It reminds me that I can accomplish anything. 

1 comment:

  1. SO PROUD OF YOU (for so many reasons). PS: That post-race picture of you is so hardcore! Love it. xoxo