Last weekend was my 5th time running one of my favourite races, our local 5K – Rebecca Run. I have won my age group in all previous years (gotta love the small town events), but I didn’t think I was going to be able to keep the streak alive this year since I am not feeling the speed. It turned out to be a super hot and humid day (humidex of 34C/94F and sunny for the 10am start), and I was dripping after just an easy 3K run from home to the start with hubs and the pup. We had about a half hour to go and I tried to stay in the shade, chatting with some friends who were also racing. After a pit stop or two, it was time to line up. It’s generally not a fast field and the paths are narrow, so I went up near the front and reminded myself not to take off like a rocket with the speedsters.
Sure enough, I glanced at my wrist after a couple of minutes and saw an average pace of 4:15. Ha! I knew I needed to be in the 4:40s or it was going to be ugly. I reigned it in a little as we ran around Fairy Lake (which is more of a pond) for the first kilometre. [KM1: 4:39] I got to run by hubs and Miles watching along the path before the 2K and I remember hanging my tongue out and announcing “it’s hot!” It was sweltering and I was roasting. [KM2: 4:49] The remainder of the route was an out-and-back, all in the park and pretty much flat. We passed through a water station and I dumped a cup of water on my head. Soon we were nearing the turn-around and front runners were coming back on the opposite direction. My speedy buddy Andy was killing it in 5th or 6th place overall. We admitted later that we both pretty much wanted to die in the moment that we saw each other, but what a boost it is to see a familiar face! [KM3: 4:47]
I realized that I was in 4th place for the women, but I could see two others not far behind me after I made the turn. I made it my mission to hold my position, and it was a good distraction from wanting to lay down in a puddle. I dumped water on my head again when we passed through the water station and kept telling myself that I was on my way to the finish. [KM4: 4:49] The route was more familiar to me than any other, since I usually run on these paths at least a few times a week, so I was picking off landmarks and thinking about how far it was to the bridge, the bend, etc.
With about 500m to go, I could see the 3rd place female just ahead of me, and tried for a few seconds to close the gap. I pretty much knew it was impossible, but it helped me find a kick for the finish. [KM5: 4:15 – the course measured 100m short on my Garmin, so this split + finish time are not totally legit]