A week or two ago, Hollie mentioned a 5k out in Rochester and suggested I come out for it.  Given that Hollie doesn’t have much time left in NY before her move, and it would be a chance to meet Laura for the first time, and what’s better than racing and chatting with new friends, it took me about 18 hours to decide this was a fantastic idea – which was probably about 17 hours and 59 minutes too long.

I didn’t entirely know what I was getting myself into at first, until Hollie mentioned it was a women’s only race, and turnout was usually around 1000 runners.  Um, holy crap.

I set my alarm for 5:30, haphazardly got dressed, threw together a bag, and hopped in the car.  I stopped at a rest station about an hour into my drive, and I realized it was freezing outside.  And windy.  Apparently the wind just like to follow me to races this year.

I got to the park in plenty of time and went to go pick up my bib.  I hightailed it right back to my car and proceeded to have a 20 minute debate over whether I should go with short or long sleeves (this entailed pinning and re-pinning my bib five – five! – different times).  In the end, I decided I’d run in the Oiselle stripey long sleeve I had thrown in my post-race bag and thanked my earlier half-asleep self for having the foresight to pack a long sleeve tee.

I left the comfort of my car to start warming up and along the way ran into Hollie and Laura.  We chatted for a bit and finally proceeded to the start.  They convinced me to line up near the start with them, which was definitely a new and intimidating experience for me.  Girls were doing striders off the line and everyone looked super fast.  I mostly just wanted to pee my pants, but tried to keep my “I’m tough, I’m fast, I can hang with you” poker face on.

The gun sounded and we were off!  Being close to the front definitely pulled me out a little faster then I would’ve liked, but after about a quarter mile, I settled into a pace that felt ok and found a small pack of girls to hang with.  As I mentioned, it was very windy so I put all time goals out of my head – my only goal for this race was to run hard and stay tough – no giving up, pulling back, mentally quitting.  The first mile flew by and I passed the mile marker in around 6:55ish.

Almost immediately after the first mile marker came the first hairpin turn.  This was really tough for me because seeing 6-anything as a mile split tends to give me a bit of a heart attack, and the break in momentum made me kind of check in and realize that I was working, not just cruising.  Mile 2 is always the hardest for me in a 5k anyway, so combining all those things gave me a momentary panic.  I did my best to push those negative thoughts out of my head and focused on the two girls ahead of me.

I eventually picked off the two girls, but was then kind of alone on the course.  I could tell I put some distance between myself and them, but the next girl ahead of me was too far away for me to seriously focus on at that point.  As I approached the second mile marker, I could see the clock reading 13:53.  I tried to start picking it up a bit but the seconds clicked by and the race official said as I approached “…13:56, 13:57, still sub-7 pace here … untiiiiiiil …. NOW.”  I crossed the mile marker at exactly 14:00 on the clock and I wanted to reach out and slap the guy.

BUT I knew I only had one mile-ish to go and that I was on PR pace?!  I just wanted to hang on as best  I could.  The third mile featured another couple of hairpin turns, during one of which I tripped over a curb.  Awesome!  Then a long stretch down a parking lot into the wind.  Awesome!  I tried to stay positive and keep pushing.

After looping around some more, I finally started to see the finish line.  I was literally unable to do math anymore and had no idea if I had totally blown up and ruined my shot at breaking 22 minutes.  The second I saw the clock reading 21:30-something, I kicked it into a ridiculous gear with a huge grin on my face.

Official time: 21:45
A 22-second PR.
18/1049 Overall
4/83 AG

Laura, me, and Hollie.  Rocking the giddy PR grin, all day long.
Laura, me, and Hollie. Rocking the giddy PR grin, all day long.

Hollie and Laura did amazing, placing 5th and 6th respectively in the race and winning Wegman’s gift cards (umm, so awesome).  I missed out on 3rd in my age group and accordingly, my own gift card, by 9 seconds but I really could care less – I was so thrilled with this finishing time on a tough course with not quite ideal weather.  I’ll be back next year to take another shot at that gift card 😀

The first text I sent after the race.  Thrilled probably isn't a strong enough adjective to describe my true feelings.
The first text I sent after the race. Thrilled probably isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe my true feelings.

After the awards, we headed to Starbuck to warm up and chat for a bit.  I had such a great time; Hollie and Laura are absolutely amazing and I was so glad I decided to go out for this race.  Hopefully there will be more running/racing shenanigans in the future!

7 thoughts

  1. I was so wicked excited to meet you…and wicked excited to watch you throw down an AWESOME PR (seriously almost missed you finishing because you were flying). We have PLENTY of running shenanagins in the future! You and I should road trip to see Hollie this summer… (and then she can come for wineglass) sounds like a fair trade to me!

  2. I am also ridiculously happy for you. Seriously on a course like that you will be WELL BELOW your PR. I’m glad we lined up at the start though, I have actually not seen other road races where girls were doing striders. It must be a Rochester thing LOL.

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