The funny thing about this race is that I kept forgetting I had it. For the two weeks leading up to it, every time I would look at the calendar, I said “Oh, shoot! I have a race on the 3rd!” This continued right up until the time I went to bed and thought, “Oh shoot! I have a race tomorrow! I better set my stuff out and set my alarm!”
I got up at 5:30am, made myself some breakfast, gathered my stuff and was on the road between 6:15 and 6:30. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the race and with possible slick roads and the fact that I hadn’t even picked up my packet yet, I wanted to make sure I gave myself plenty of time to get there before the 7:45am start.
I ran the Penguin Pace in 2011, so I remembered most of the course. I was feeling pretty good about my training, so I knew that I could shave some time off my previous 38:01.37 attempt. I picked up my packet, put on all my cold weather gear (it was a balmy 23 degrees), pinned on my number and hit the bathroom. This left me with just enough time to head to the start line with 499 of my closest friends.
All of a sudden we were running. I didn’t hear any gun or alarm or a guy yelling “GO!” so it took me a bit off guard when we started moving. The first 1/2 mile is a bit of a bottle neck because they don’t actually close the road, they just put orange cones down the center of a lane and which allows enough room for about 4 people to run abreast between the cone and the curb. I was threading a lot of needles that first 1/2 mile until we got to the area where the field opens up a bit.
My first 1/2 mile was a little slower than I had wanted, but I kept on trucking. The next mile was a stretch of one big decline (which I had remembered about) followed by a series of little declines and little inclines (that I had totally forgotten about). I was happy with my pace at miles 1 and 1.5, but I knew this was an out and back course so what goes down, must go back up.
I knew this before I signed up for the race. I remember from 2011 that I was thoroughly defeated by The Hill. I honestly almost didn’t sign up for the race again because of The Hill. I just kept telling myself that I was a stronger runner than I was 2 years ago and that I could do it, no matter what.
The one bad thing about being a stronger runner on relatively flat ground is that you still really suck at hills, LOL.
Anyway, I was maintaining a good interval of 1 minute walking/.5 mile of running and I was feeling good at the halfway mark. I had to take a little walk break in the middle of a shorter hill, but I picked right back up and kept on running. I knew that my pace at 2 miles was going to be down at the 2 mile mark, but it wasn’t as bad as I had feared.
But it was coming.
I tried. I really did. I shortened my stride and used mantras and positive self talk and imagery and I even lit a few candles and burned some incense, but to no avail. The hill had defeated me again.
Side note: Now that I’m sitting here typing this, I got online and found a calculator to help me find what the % grade on the hill is. It’s 4.4% for .4 miles. That’s pretty steep if you ask me.
I made it to the top of the hill, looked at my much slower pace at 2.5 miles, and kept on trucking. Again, the first .5 mile was a bit of a downhill with meant the last .5 mile was a bit of an uphill. Nothing horrible, but enough to get me to walk one more time. Once the road had flattened out, I knew I was good to the end. I kicked it into high gear and finished the race faster than I had in 2011…by a mere 19 seconds
, not the 1 minute that I erroneously reported on DailyMile.
Hey, faster is faster right?
Two down, Eleven to go.
Penguin Pace 5k, February 3, 2013 — Official time 37:42.45