I’ve discovered something about road-races: the sure-fire way to run your personal best is to not have mile markers! Last Sunday I ran in Eden Medical Center’s Run to the Lake, a wonderful birthday gift from my boyfriend. The race takes place in the East Bay, and features running uphill for about a mile and a half, and then running downhill for about a mile and a half. It’s a bit of a strange running course, and incredibly un-scenic despite the name, but one I’ve done before and enjoyed. Boyfriend was disappointed in the lack of actual lake or park area for the bystanders to stand by around, so I made it up to him by taking him out to breakfast afterward.
Anyway, the run!!
I had made myself a playlist and estimated about how long the first mile should take me based on my song choices. My first song was almost five minutes long, so I imagined that I should be through the first mile sometime in the middle or end of the second song. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t until I was into the third song that it dawned on me that either there were no mile markers, or I was running way slower than I used to. Which would be fine; different, but fine. However, the turn around point came into view, and it was then I figured that I must be about halfway done.
There was zero idea as to how tortisey or harey I was making my way through the race. My friend Kristin was close behind me, and I knew her goal was to PR (runner speak for “personal record”…pronounced “P.R.” not “purrrr”) so I wanted to make sure our pace hit that for her.
5k’s are relatively short in the grand scheme of running. They are just over 3 miles, and even a slow jogger or a walker with finish them within the hour; the winners tend to run five minute miles, putting them in at 15 minutes. Which, when you think about paying $25 for a race bib, is more than a dollar a minute for running.
As the finish line came into my view, I struggled to make out the time on the board. I kept running, my eyes fixed on alternately on the road ahead of me and on the timer, and as I got close enough to really read the numbers, I couldn’t believe it: I was still within the 20 minute mark!
My final time was 20:44, which is 40 seconds faster than my previous PR. Kristin PR’d as well, so we did some PR high-fives as we drank water and collected T-shirts and chapstick from the post-run faire.
I run road races – especially 5k’s – for the fun of them. And I’ve really stopped running road races in the last year due to money, and because I don’t need that kind of motivation usually. I must admit though, that having the knowledge that my continued running is paying off in the fact that I am noticeably quicker if I am trying is pretty exciting.
Okay, enough running bragging.