What a way to finish out 2008!
2007 was the year that I decided I wanted to become a serious runner.
2008 was the year that I feel I actually became a runner.
2009 will prove what my potential might be. I only have a couple of years until my body starts slowing down even more from aging.
Sasha Pachev from fastrunningblog.com has been informally acting as a coach and guiding me as I try to gain speed and endurance. He wanted me to run this race to see what kind of speed I have in a 5K. I was really scared about this because I knew I would have to be uncomfortable the entire race. I also knew that I had to overcome a mental block I have that says I cannot run fast on the road. This is not just an ‘imaginary’ condition – I really felt (before this) that I could not run fast and every attempt ended in failure.
1 mile warmup off and on to get my legs loose and moving. I am used to marathons, where I have 26+ miles to warm up and knew this would be different. There were only about 17 runners for the 5K – so I knew I could win my age group – but wanted to earn that award. My dad came down to visit with me before the race and support me. That was pretty nice of him on a cold day. I stripped down to running capris, a long sleeved running shirt, cap and gloves. I figured I wanted to not have extra clothes on since I was going to be raising my core temperature through the pace.
Mile 1 – I started out pretty fast, but was kind of bummed that I was soon in last place. This was all too familiar and I was hoping that some runners had gone out too fast and would end up walking or slowing down. I decided that I needed to keep pushing myself and would look at my watch and sometimes say ‘wow’ and other times say ‘push’. 9:10 for the first mile – the body was warming up. I was breathing hard, but not feeling tired – so far so good on conquering the mental block.
Mile 2 – Sasha passed me on the out and back shortly after the start of mile 2 – he had a definitive lead on the other runners. I was speeding up at times, but still dead last and making no progress at picking off other runners. It looked like they were all running easily. Benjamin Pachev (Sasha’s 9 year old son who was also racing) encouraged me at 1 3/4 saying “you can do it.” That was nice of him and gave me an emotional boost. Shortly after the turnaround, one of the guys that was running with a girl about 20 feet ahead of me, slowed down to a walk. Chicked him! …..9:07 for mile 2. I was actually speeding up and maintaining a fast pace.
Mile 3 – I kept telling myself I could push harder. Breathing was really difficult at this point in time. I was really spent. Chicked another guy right around 2.5 miles. There was a small uphill and I tried to push up it. I could see the church where we finished and kept saying “get me to the church on time.” With two turns to go I was pushing hard and feeling like I wanted to quit but refusing to quit. Shortly after that turn Sasha and Julia Pachev came back and got me and kept telling me to catch up and give them 5. I think I caught up twice. Sasha also guided me on the fastest area to run to avoid ice. 8:51 for the last mile. I was trying not to puke a bit at this point.
Home Stretch: Sasha was telling me to sprint. I couldn’t get anything else out of my body and was trying hard, but just didn’t have any get up and go left. (on pace for 8:10 – so I guess I did sprint some).
That was just plain HARD! But so satisfying. I took almost 3.5 minutes off my previous PR and that was on a short course. It sure felt good to quit running. Sasha kind of looked at me like ‘I told you you could do it.’ Sarah said he must have been pleased at my effort because he wasn’t yelling at me. 🙂
Avg: 9:01/Max speed 7:07
After the race I did 2 miles cooldown with Sarah (12:00 avg) on the Provo River Parkway. It was nice to visit with her.
I won a blue ribbon and $2 in prize money for winning my age group (ok – I was the only old person there). I am going to frame my award and prize money. Even better – I really felt like I earned it.
I can’t describe the feelings I felt after this run. Since I started running seriously in Junior High, I felt that I had great endurance, but absolutely no speed. Now, I want to see how much speed I have. I don’t want it to hurt that bad all the time, but it was worth the hard effort to see those incredible results.