From 2 am through my alarm at 5 am Sat morning, I was up with a swollen sore throat yet still deluding myself. I texted Kim that I was up but wasn't feeling great. I planned to meet her for possibly only one 5 mile lap of the Reservoir. Then I got up (ugh) and found a thermometer. Not terrible, but with a 99.9 degree temperature, I really started to second guess whether I should drive 45 minutes each way to run 5 miles or more feeling like crap. We originally planned for at least 12 and I usually aim for 15-20 on weekends. I text Alanna and she was up and able to meet Kim. Thank you both :) With my guilt about missing a training run assuaged I laid back down and woke up about 4 hours later, feeling horrible. I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the Lager run, but I did have until Sunday night to decide.
I had made plans with John to attempt to run from a park in Rahway to a park in Cranford and back on Sunday morning. I guessed it would only be about 6-7 miles each way, but I wasn't sure if the route was really runner friendly. By Sat night my throat was feeling better and my temperature was normal. I really wanted to do this run, but 12-14 miles seemed like it might be a bit far since I wasn't feeling great yet. Not sure what would happen I asked John to meet me, and see how far we could get before I needed to turn back.
John is a good sport. :) Apparently Rahway to Cranford and back is about 13.6 miles and after that morning run, I knew I was more likely to go to the race than not. After all, this was supposed to be the day Rich breaks 20. I had to go!
|Photo by Becky Wiechman from about .3 miles to go.|
I didn't check the weather, but I knew it wasn't bad. I am becoming acclimated to warm weather now, so even at gun time (6:15 pm) it felt tolerable for a June race.
I know this course well and the first and last mile are fast, while the middle mile contains the uphill and it is slower. But overall this course is one the fastest courses we run in the Grand Prix Race Series. Add in mild weather and there is the potential for PRs for everyone! Except for possibly sick chicks who ran over a half marathon in the morning…
I arrive at the starting line, still looking for Rich. People said he was there so I wanted to find him and I did, about three rows back. We discussed some pacing ideas on the starting line… around a 6:20 first mile… expect something around 6:35-6:40's for the second mile with the uphill... and then come back hard in mile 3 for the sub-20. Rich knew I wasn't feeling 100% so I told him to not worry about running with me if he felt good or if I was slow today.
Gun goes off and I start my watch. I cross the start mat and split my watch. (2.4 seconds). Now I have both Gun and Chip time.
At about halfway into Mile 1, Rich pulls away. I felt I was running fast enough at this point with my Garmin showing low 6s. I knew Rich was ready to chase his PR. I just wish I was ready to chase it with him. M1 6:16
As we hit the uphill in Mile 2, I can feel how tired I am and there is nothing I can do about this. I just do my best and hope I have something to come back with after the hill. The hill is early in mile 2 and there is a lot of room to recover from it if you work every decline. I see the 2 mile clock. Rich and I talked about how we needed to be as close to 12:45 as possible to ensure a sub-20. I see him near the clock as it read 12:49. I end up there at 13:01 (which is the same 2 mile split I ran at my last 5k). I knew I was already too slow for sub-20 but I also know Rich still had a shot! M2 6:44
I made a promise to myself in mile 2 to make an effort to kick hard in mile 3 and I don't think I let myself down. My last report discussed how you can't save it for the final mile, but in this case the second mile was up hill and I knew the last was fast. I was a little slower than I wanted to be in mile 2 and had hoped to keep in under 6:40. I just didn't have it today. I pushed with what I had and didn't feel like I was letting up. We entered the track and I could see Rich ahead as I approached the 3 mile mark. M3 6:23
I noted that he was already past 3 at 19:27 on the clock. He needed to kick hard to get it. It was seriously going to be close! I knew I didn't have enough time to kick for a sub-20 myself, but Esly flew past me in the last 200 meters and encouraged me on. My chest was hurting, but not as bad as I anticipated. I gave my best effort.
As I watched the clock roll past 20:00 I knew Rich made it! 10 seconds later I was done too.
Gender 9th Female
30-39 AG 4th place
I won nothing today except the amazing experience of getting to witness a friend's entire PR race from start to finish! Congratulations to you, Rich, for finally getting that 19:55! It was such a joy to watch you execute it perfectly and never appear uncertain any step of the way! You set a goal, you worked hard, and you did it! And I got to see the whole thing unfold, like watching a movie from 10 seconds back. Thanks for making my race extra exciting… and, um, you can stop beating me now… Thank you in advance ;)
And also I would like to wish a Very Happy (belated now but not then) Birthday to Jim O and
give a Shout Out to Ben T for being the most awesome team leader.
That is all. Thank you for reading :)