Race Recap: Downtown Dash 5k

Posted: 08/06/2012 in 5k, Race Recaps, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Well, 32 is now in the crosshairs. I broke a 33-minute 5k – FINALLY.

Which, I know to most of you, a 33-minute 5k is ridiculously slow. But to me, it’s a  WHOPPING BIG DEAL!

Not only am I proud of getting under 33 minutes, but I’m proud of how I coached myself through the run. Good decisions were made on things that I’ve only recently gotten under control in training runs, but have failed miserably at bringing to races. People, I DID GOOD!!!

The Downtown Dash starts off with a bit of flat – about 3/4 of a mile of it – then takes you up part of the hill route for the Flying Pig. A long semi-steep climb of about 1/3 of a mile which levels off for a few seconds near the turn-around, then brings you back downhill and into town across a small swell of an overpass.  Not too easy, not too hard. Room to make up ground if you play it smart.

I went into it not feeling too great – had woken up with a bad headache and stomach that was all clenched tight. Skipped my 5:30 bootcamp, but had all day to try and come up with some remedies.  Was excited to be meeting Nash & Maine there – all of us bringing our men in tow to cheer us on. There would be beer after. ‘nuf said.

BUT – I also went into it with one of the best runs I’ve ever had fresh under my treads. I’d gone out with the running group on Wednesday on legs that were completely thrashed from bootcamp, and coached myself through a decently challenging run. Not only did I keep it moving, but I pushed myself and didn’t let myself slack. It wasn’t my fastest run or furthest run by far, but for self-talk and coaching, my head was IN that run more than I think I’ve ever been in a run before. So that was on my mind as I prepped for the Dash – what were the things I was saying to myself?  How did I feel? When things got hard – what magic trick did I do to keep my feet moving? I had FOCUS on Wednesday. I wanted that level of focus again on the Dash. And I got it!

I told myself from the beginning that I wasn’t going to worry about time. Not feeling great – I just wanted a solid run, but more importantly, I needed to take care of myself since I wasn’t sure what the stomach upset was about.  Since Nash & Maine are WAY faster than me (Nash is a consistently sub-30 chick.) I let them go at the start. When I felt myself picking up the pace prematurely due to the crowd movement, I stole a line from Frayed Laces – reminding myself to ‘stay within myself’, run my own race – the crowd will pass. And pass they did. And pass some more. I gotta admit – I started feeling a little defeated, like CRAP! This entire crowd is going to pass me!. And my brain said ‘so what, just keep moving your feet sweatheart.’

The uphill climb started to take a bit out of me, so I let myself interval 3:1 interval it to the top. That amounted to 2 walk breaks.  As I was climbing, the lead runners were coming down – a moment I always love in a run as I will LOSE. MY. SHIT. cheering for the lead packs. I always figure the lead man knows he’s first b/c of the pace car or bike, but first female might not be sure – so I always yell ‘FIRST FEMALE!’ at the top of my lungs when I see her. I saw Nash  coming down not to far behind the leads, but didn’t see Maine until I was approaching the turn around. She was only about a block in front of me!! And we were heading into the downhill!

But I still had half the race to finish too. Hmmm – the temptation to sprint to catch up with her needed to be resisted because there was no way I could hold it through to the end.  So I told myself to just try and keep her in my sight. If I finished a block behind Maine, that was still going to be a really good run for me.  The last time we all ran together, I was a full 1:30 behind her – so 30-to-45 seconds behind would still signify some decent work on my part.

When we got to the bottom of the hill and began into the swell of the overpass, I’d dropped the distance to half-a-block. I was gaining gradually and still picking up speed. When we hit the end of the overpass, I was about 10 feet behind her with about .4 miles to go. I was pushing myself and I could feel it – thinking ‘holy crap! I’m gonna finish right on her heels!‘. Then, maybe we could run it in together – wouldn’t that be cool? And then I pulled up alongside her and said ‘hey!’. And then she said ‘hey!’ and smiled.

And then she sped up a little.

And then I sped up a little more. I could feel that I had the tiger by the tail – the only question: could I hold on? Maine was not the tiger – this run was the tiger. Could I stay this strong all the way to the finish – especially if I tried to beat Maine in? Now, I normally do sprint the finish – much as other runners have told me that’s shitty. If I’ve got anything left in the tank, I do it anyway under the motto of ‘you don’t leave anything on the field’.  But that’s normally about a .1 mile dash. Could I hold it for .4? Because to beat Maine in – I was going to have to hold on for awhile. But when she sped up, I knew I had to go for it. This was the closest opportunity I’d ever had to beat her or Nash in – and I couldn’t let it pass.

I hit the accelerator ever though my tank was empty. Then I fought for that bitch .4 sprint –

finishing 20 SECONDS AHEAD of Maine!!!

I feel a little guilty about working so hard to beat my friend. But only a little. I’ve been at the back of that pack for too damn long! When you’ve pushed yourself to hit the goal, you have to let yourself be happy about it.  Maine was a good sport about it, but she did seem a little disappointed. Now – I know she can beat me. She knows she can beat me. But she didn’t beat me that night.  She did say that she was working her own goal of trying to keep a steady pace throughout the run – so maybe she let me go once I sped up – but any which way, I still crossed first and I had no way to know whether she was sprinting behind me or not.  What I do know is that I did what any other athlete would do when they just beat their good friend across a finish line for the first time –

I went and laid down on the concrete and tried not to throw up.

Maine took a spot right next to me – and both of sat there for a good 3 minutes to catch our breath and drink some water before we joined up with our crew having successfully not vomited.

It was a well-organized run. I liked the Friday night part of it – so it made a quick & easy date night with Eric. He got to have a beer with the guys while the girls ran – and I got to have a beer already waiting on me when I was done.  There was a band. There was festivities. There was a bike there that had a blender attached to it and you could spin to make your own smoothie – the Mr. got me a t-shirt doing that.

I shaved 46 seconds off my 5k PR. I broke the 33-minute threshold. My goal of hitting a 10:20 pace before the end of the year – a goal which felt very far away through most of the hot June & July runs – doesn’t seem as unreachable anymore. I logged a victory in the Nash-Maine-likeablegirl running trio.  And I didn’t vomit. I think that’s a win.


  1. Congratulations! Be proud of your new PR! Sounds like you were strategic and had fun on the course!


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