So Saturday was the first leg of the Triple Crown of Running, which is part of the Kentucky Derby Festival but doesn't include the KDF Marathon/Mini-Marathon. Since Matt and I are registered for the Half (the "mini"), I've been trying to stick with the training program we signed up with that's sponsored by Norton Health. I've missed many runs and might not have been able to do the full amount suggested for each day ... but it's been motivating to get out there and get the runs in or head to the Y to run on the treadmill there. I don't like running on the tready at home any longer -- too many distractions.
So we're at the day of the race and I'm remembering my very first 5k in November of 2012. Scared to death, worried I was going to pass out along the way, really just wanted to finish and didn't have a goal time in mind. I think I did it in about 40 minutes. I didn't even keep the medal they handed out but donated it to Medals for Mettle (the medals are then given to kids with cancer or to special needs kids/adults). I didn't really feel like I had earned it anyway -- no training, just doing it for the sake of doing it.
Back to this race ... (I ramble, apparently). Since it was 'only' a 5k, I didn't want to eat too much for breakfast but also didn't want to overeat/overfuel. A slice of 100% whole grain toast w/ organic peanut butter, glass of water and about 1/2 cup of coffee and I was good to go. I didn't sleep well but as before, I didn't really have a timed goal - just wanted to finish and do better than I did on last year's Anthem 5k (different course out in Timbuktu but I was going to use that as the time to beat).
Matt and I are then out the door and looking for a parking place. We were lucky to find one not too far away from the start line (a few city blocks) and found out later was even closer to the finish line (woot woot!). Temperature was 28 degrees -- chilly but it wasn't nearly as bad as when we ran the Indianapolis Monumental Half last year (19 degrees with a single digit wind chill). Lots of people there already and we just walked around and jogged a couple blocks to warm up. By that time it was close to go-time.
A National Anthem later and we're moving along towards the start line. Fortunately, they split the corrals this time and runners were to start first with walkers to start after the runners took off. That really helped as we were all pretty much moving along towards the start line at a regular speed ... until Matt saw a line of port-o-potties and decided to go one more time before starting. I figured he pass me anyway so I went ahead and started. I don't have a runner's watch so I don't know what my pace was but I was comfortable. I wasn't passing too many people and not too many were passing me. Lots of potholes and still some patches of snow/ice on the road -- mainly along by the hospitals, so that's convenient if someone falls. Kentuckiana had just had about 12 inches of snow two days before but we were also in a thaw so a lot of that had melted or would be melting soon ... but it was still 28 degrees so things could have been slick too.
Running along, I saw Matt's friend from footy (also Matt) but didn't recognize anyone else. Was still waiting for my Matt to pass me by. What I was thinking about along the way: feeling pretty good still, looking at the architecture, looking for spectators (they really do encourage me to keep running but there was hardly anyone out!), hey - it's the guy from Pacers and Racers at the one-mile marker!, then trying to remember his name, then realizing a few blocks later that hey - that was the one-mile marker and I'm still running and feeling good!
I'm not a runner -- I'm a run/walker. I don't have set intervals but I run till I'm tired, pick a landmark to stop at, and then pick a landmark to start running again at. It's worked for me in all the other races and I felt good about doing it for this 5k. The thing is, I wasn't getting tired and was still feeling pretty good. Also still didn't know my pace but I was feeling fine. I knew a water stop was on the way and didn't think I'd stop for water -- I mean, it's "only" a 5k. Water stop is here - I see all the lovely cups of water and the friendly faces ... I'm hooked. I tell myself, if I can get over and take from the last person in line, I was meant to have water. It worked and I'm glad I slowed. I walked about 20 feet or so (enough to get a drink without waterboarding myself) and started running again. I didn't really know the route but figured I was halfway at the water stop and still feeling good. By the time we got to Main Street, I was feeling tired and wanted to walk. That was when the talking to myself really took over -- no one's going to know or care if you walk. Go ahead and walk a little! I'll know. I'll know that I walked. (then remembering the medal/bib holder Matt and the kids got me for my birthday) "She believed she could so she did" I'm going to do it. How the heck much longer is this going to be? (I could see the big inflatable FINISH line up ahead but it seemed to be getting further away, not closer) .... and then there I was within a couple blocks. I didn't sprint the rest of the way but I did have some energy left to push it the last bit.
Unfortunately, it's a big crowd of people, even at the finish so my professional photos weren't that good and you can barely see me. But you know what? I finished ... and in 6 minutes faster than I did last year! 32:07! I felt awesome at the end too.
Matt ended not too long after me -- and while I wish we could have run together so I had someone to talk to, I'm also glad we didn't. His pace is faster than mine so I would have felt compelled to run faster OR he would have tried to slow down to my speed. He ended up walking a little more than I did so I would have felt obligated to walk with him OR he would have kept running and might have gotten tired out before the end. We'll never know.
I'm glad it's over and I'm looking forward to the 10k coming up in 2 weeks. This one will have a little bit more hills to it - very slight, but still there. Also probably not as many people participating -- there were about 5500 runners/walkers at the 5k. I'm not planning to run this one in its entirety -- just want to beat my time from last year!
This running thing is fun! :)