So since my half marathon last August, I’ve been pretty down on racing. I didn’t really feel like it when I was so slow. And then toward the fall I was starting to get a bit faster, but I still wasn’t motivated to race. I was slow and I’ve also shifted to running just because I like it.
But then the weather warmed up in the last few weeks and I was feeling really good about my strength and my running. I found that after March 1, registration for the Shamrock Shuffle didn’t include the shirt. I run all my races for shirts! But I kept thinking about it and thinking about it and finally decided I’d be kicking myself if I didn’t run that race on Sunday. It came down to the realization that I hadn’t wanted to run a race this much in a while. So I registered last Wednesday night about an hour before online registration closed. Can we say last minute?
However, I am oh so glad I did! I ran my fastest race in a long time! I had to go back and look, and found I was correct, that the last time I ran this time or faster was in summer 2012. In early summer that year I came closer to breaking PRs than I had in a long time. It was also summer 2012 when I was early pregnant with Peyton, so my speed disappeared soon after a couple near miss 5Ks in June and July.
That summer was the third since I had given birth. And that summer was when it seemed I’d finally gotten my speed back. I’m not sure why it took so long, probably because I’m slow to begin with, but it had taken me a long time to lose weight and a long time to get back into shape. As with right now, it took a long time to get the right combination of training.
So last fall I was thinking that this coming summer will again be the third since I gave birth. I was gaining speed last fall, so I was theorizing that this summer might be like that summer of 2012… and this past Sunday’s 5K certainly makes that theory seem plausible!
I was looking forward to having my family there to cheer for me on the beautiful spring morning. Sadly Peyton was sick last week and just wasn’t up to going out on Sunday. So I went by myself. Going to races by myself does make certain things easier, but it definitely makes me sad too!
Anyway, I got there and got my bib. The good thing about not getting a shirt was I didn’t have to take anything back to the car. I had about a half hour to wait for the start. The start line was very spread out, which kind of annoyed me but didn’t really make a difference in the race I suppose.
So finally it was time to go and I was just flying! I hadn’t run that race in a few years and I didn’t know how much of if the course had changed. Last time I ran the race, it was a loop and only included the infamous Observatory Hill once. This time, however, it was out and back, so the hill was in there twice. And I always manage to forget that Observatory Hill is really more like three hills in one. Going out you go up a lot and then down a bit, up some more and then down, level and then down a lot. That made it on the way back up a lot and then level, then up again and down a bit and then up one last time for the very large down hill at the end.
Needless to say, I was quite surprised by my split times. The hill was in miles 1 and 3. My splits were: 11:51, 11:17 and 1:49. My pace for the last .1 was 11:17. I had no qualms about walking the hill. So it surprised me that all my splits were still under 12 minutes! In the second mile I was just about relaxing so I wouldn’t lose it at the end, which has happened many times. I relaxed and fot faster. During the second mile I was really cruising comfortably and even passing people! Like, a good number of people! That never happens!
Then when I got to the Observatory Hill the second time, my legs were starting to feel pretty weak. I wasn’t sure how I would feel once I was done. But the reward for making it up the hill the second time was the very long downhill! And as I got to the bottom I passed the Union where Metallica was blasting and I was just giving it all I could. I was a quarter of a mile from the finish… why were people walking? I wasn’t going to walk!
I knew I was going faster than I predicted, but I was still waaay surprised to see my Garmin register 36:22. What?? I had predicted 38:00, so to be that much faster than my prediction… well it hasn’t happened in a very long time. And then I checked my official time later and saw the 36:20. Yeah, I’ll take it.
And I predict I’m going to be a lot more interested in racing this summer!