I should probably preface this post so I don’t come off completely egotistical ass. I believe anyone who runs is a runner. It doesn’t matter what the pace or what the distance. If you’re making the initiative to get out there and do it, you deserve the title. With that being said, my
huge little competitive monster is my desire to win and beat anyone and everyone around me, whatever it takes. Particularly when it comes to 5Ks and 10Ks.
I race 5Ks to win. The perfect 5K is one where there are between 1000-2000 people racing and I know what my competition will be to place in my age group. Anything larger just makes me claustrophobic and anything smaller makes it too easy for me to win. If I can’t pick out my competition as I’m standing at the start line waiting to take off, I probably won’t run my best.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘fast’ runner. I’m comfortable running 7-8 minute miles when there are shorter distances involved. But anything above a 10K and I revert back to my happy dawdling pace right around a 9-9:30.
This past Friday I raced in the Right Moves for Youth Twilight 5K. I didn’t really know what to expect as I hadn’t heard positive things from friends and I knew it was going to be a hot, humid evening race. I prepared the best I could all day Friday. I ate well without stuffing myself, I consumed an adequate amount of water and I made sure to have two Nuun hydration tablets.
As an aside, I discovered Nuun last year during my summer track workouts. I’ve never felt more hydrated before, during and after a workout. As a runner who is allergic to Red Dye #40, found in nearly every sports drink that isn’t blue or lemon-lime flavored, having appropriate methods with me to replenish the vitamins and electrolytes I sweat out is extremely important. As we come into the summer months, I highly recommend incorporating them into your routines.
I’m a creature of habit. I found 2 flavors I liked and haven’t looked back since. Strawberry Lemonade is one of those flavors of choice. Lemon+Lime is the other. I’ll break out and try a new flavor for my next purchase.
Anyway, so I felt pretty damn prepared for the race. Things started off a few minutes late, which is not a big deal normally but I really had to pee. So I stood at the start line doing my bathroom jig knowing that the feeling would pass as soon as I started running. I started probably 130-150 people from the front line of elites, so relatively close to the start line (there were a little over 1100 people registered). I didn’t want to start too far forward and impede their pace, but I also didn’t want to start so far back that I had to dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge dawdlers (see what I did there?) As I took a look around 20 or so seconds before the race started, I realized that those around me weren’t the normal 7-8 minute runner I normally race with. FML. With that, the line started to move and the dodging began. I strongly dislike having to do that. I weaved in and out for the next mile as people flew out of the starting corral way faster than a pace they could actually hold for the entire 3.1 miles, and began to bonk. Hard. The course wasn’t easy. There were some rolling hills the first mile and a half until you turned onto the street just behind Bank of America Stadium and were greeted by a monster of a hill that just.would.end. Fortunately, and in fear of sounding like an ass again, I run hills almost daily in my neighborhood, so it was an opportunity for me to pick people off and pass as I sprinted into it. On that hill alone I probably passed 15-20 people. Epic.
Things improved even more at the top of the hill. As I made my way around a corner I saw my friends Ben and Kati cheering me up and past their location. That was the last push I needed to make it through the last 2 hills on the course and barrel through the finish line. I prefer to keep a little juice in the hopper to show off the last quarter of a mile of a race. Twilight was no exception. I was quickly passed by a man and woman, both of whom looked to be about my age as I was turning the corner to that last push. Not happening. I took that juice and pushed my legs to their limit. Not only did I pass the couple but I passed another 3 people before making my way across the finish. 24:54 and 3rd in my age group.
I was happy with my first 5K of the summer. As I begin incorporating track workouts and speed days back into my running I’m confident my times will improve even more as the months progress. Bring it on Charlotte.
Do any of you have a running vice? Something that causes your little monster of competition to come out?