I’ve been looking forward to the Great Grace 5K all year because it’s a really special race. The course runs a flat and fast trail around a local lake during peak foliage. In case you were wondering, this is my spirit tree:
I take a picture of this tree each year. By the time the race is finished, the sunlight hits it just right.
Last year, I won the Great Grace 5K overall female award, which is a gold trophy and a $100 gift certificate to my favorite running store. This year, I won second place overall female, but I ran over 30 seconds faster. I still snagged a silver trophy and a $50 gift card, which I spent within thirty minutes.
Preface: I was up until 4:30 AM watching The Leftovers last night (this morning). I got to see Tom Perrotta read at an MFA event a few years ago and he autographed my copy of the novel. I loved the book so much and the show is just as fantastic. I highly recommend it, if you’re looking for a new series to binge watch this fall.
Anyway, as you can imagine, I was exhausted when my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning. I made a cup of coffee cake flavored coffee and drove over to the race. I warmed up for a mile and my legs just did not want to fire. I had one of those “Can I even run fast anymore?” internal panic attacks in the minutes before the siren went off. I was hoping to win the race again this year, but I noticed a woman who’s beaten me before at the start, so I figure second place would have to suffice.
The race itself was pretty uneventful. I’ve been taking my 5Ks out more slowly and trying to run a more concerted, sustained pace, which is paying off pretty nicely in terms of how I feel at the finish. The third place man and I clashed sneakers a bit about .1 mile in, but we both managed not to trip, which is a miracle, considering how many people I’ve seen trip and fall at races lately.
The lead woman blazed by me at about .25 miles and I just let her go. She ended up beating me by just under a minute, so I’m glad I kept my focus on “Elizabeth’s race” instead of trying to chase after her. I hit my first split in 6:29.
There was a turnaround about halfway through the course. I love it when runners shout words of encouragement as they pass each other. There were tons of friendly faces at this event, which is a large part of why it’s such a joy to run. (Another part is the endless supply of peanut butter chocolate chip and cherry pie Larabars at the finish. I only took two of each flavor, which I think was very temperate of me.)
I hit my second split in 6:45. I ran by myself the entire time. I thought about a few running related things, chiefly the fact that I absolutely need to start doing speed work. I hit my 3rd mile in 6:57 and felt satisfied with having maintained a sub-7 pace throughout. There was no clock at the finish line, so my final time (20:55) was a mystery until I looked it up online (I usually forget to stop my watch at the end of a race). After I caught my breath, I jogged a 2 mile cool-down to round out my weekly mileage (40.17).
Overall, I’m happy with how this race went. At my current fitness level, any sub-21 minute 5K is a decent effort (and a great workout). I felt relaxed and in control of my pace today. At no point did I feel like I was going to die. At several points, I did feel like I might puke, but I managed to hold it together.
I won a silver trophy and a $50 running store gift certificate for finishing second woman overall. My friend Jen came in third place overall, so we took a trophy picture:
Afterwards, I visited the running store and bought a hat and a pair of Yurbuds with my winnings. I desperately needed a good running hat that fits my tiny head and earbuds that fit my tiny ears, so this was a very utilitarian purchase.
Exciting Side Note: This was my last ever race in the 20-29/25-29 age categories. (I turn 30 on Monday!) I’m running a large, competitive 10K next weekend and I’m really hoping to take home a (slightly less competitive) 30-34 age group award.
Questions for the Internets:
Did you race this weekend? If so, how did it go?
What is your favorite Larabar flavor ?
Do you have a spirit tree?