Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Legacy Park Unleashed 5K


Here I am arriving for the race (left), getting into final configuration. To the right is me in the parking lot, sans hat and sunglasses, and below left is just before the start line.

I lined up at the front, wanting to be sure I knew who I was racing. This race was about the competition, not the time. I ran it in 25:18 last year, in an attempt to break 25 minutes for a 5K. I didn't care what my time was this year, I just wanted to come out on top of female master's. The starting time came and went, with nary an announcement, and I wondered how late the race would start. Several of us chatted nervously.

Suddenly a gun went off, and I was terribly startled and confused. Was that it? Was I supposed to run now? Oh, shoot, I have a wave of people behind me, MOVE! I punched my watch and started moving, sprinting too fast on the way out. Three ladies darted ahead of me, and we were all way too fast. My watched showed in the 5s for a bit, and I knew I'd blow up soon.

As we got our spots, I pulled back into the 7s, but felt the heaviness of lactic acid from the sprint and hoped I wouldn't pay for it later. I'm an idiot, and I got excited and surprised by the gun. I continued to rein it back, recalling that this would not only be my easiest mile, it was also the flattest mile. I finished that mile in 7:30, feeling OK and fortunately recovering from my mistake.

Mile two was getting harder, but I remembered I had to push. Three females (including one master's, one 20-24 year old and an amazing state record holding 7 year old!) were within reach but still ahead of me. The master's competitor was the 7 year old's mom). I knew it was really she I had to beat to get the trophy. I wasn't feeling great, but I had some gas left. I composed my plan to overtake her.

I visualized a fishing rod, and planned to reel her in, inch by inch, until I was right behind her. Then I would hang there and recover. Then, when I thought I had it in me, I would surge past her with everything I had and put as much lead in front of her as I could to discourage her and defeat her mentally. This was the hilliest stretch, but as much as the hills hurt me, they wore on her worse and I could see that because I was looking for it. I made my move at the crest of a hill, and gave my hardest move of the race at that moment. Now all I had to do was hang on.

I didn't dare look back. I kept running strong, certain to make my stride look easier than it felt. I didn't want her to suspect how much I was hurting. I didn't want her to think I was the least bit worried about her. So, I pushed. Mile 2 completed in 7:42 (and with the hills, not bad).

Mile 3 was all about just keeping it going and looking strong. I finished it in 7:23 and just ran through the finish line, knowing I took 3rd female overall and winning female master's brilliantly (final official time of 23:56)! I don't know how far behind me she was, but it was a very comfortable lead I had at that point, not even close.

I finally took home my first trophy!

8 comments:

Travis said...

Excellent work today, Alex!

runner-grrl said...

Thanks for everything, Travis!!

Rick said...

Great job, Alex. You're amazing! I was pretty sure that today knocked off one of your 43 things... check out #32.

runner-grrl said...

Oh! you are totally right! (As usual...) Thanks :-) --Alex

RunColo said...

Well done and congrats on taking home some hardware!

runner-grrl said...

Thanks, RunColo! I had your come-back in mind when I knew I'd only been running again for 5 weeks, and none of it hard (yet).

steve said...

What a performance!! Great to win a trophy which I'm sure will be the first of many :)

Excellent...

runner-grrl said...

Thanks, Steve! Hope you're right ;-)