I had run the Beach to Bayou race in Tarpon Springs last year and I was looking forward to possibly running it again this year. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to because I was transferring stores at work and I didn't know what my schedule was going to look like for that weekend. I was happy when I found out that I had June 1st off.
I woke up bright and early and I knew a few people that were running the race, so I drove over and knew I would see them there. I wasn't expecting a PR of any sort since it was supposed to be a hot morning and the course was hilly. I didn't remember a hilly course from the year before, but I had done quite a few races, so they all blended a bit in my mind. I was just going to have fun with it.
I set up a music playlist on my phone since I knew I wasn't going to be running with anyone and I was just going to be running for fun. The runners I knew at the race were all faster than me. And I was going to try not to pay attention to my watch. I wasn't going to focus on time - I was just going to try to keep a pace my body was comfortable with and see how that went. Since I wasn't trying to PR, I was going to see what kind of time I had with this method.
I met Aaron, Becky, and Kim down by the bib pick up area. We were all astonished by how large and heavy the bibs were. And it was already pretty hot. The sun was shining down on us and I was already sweating just standing around waiting for the race to start. This was going to be a rough one. I don't do too well in the heat, and from what I could remember from last year there wasn't much shade. I remember running in direct sunlight right at the last turn to the finish. Oh well. I was going to have fun with it. We lined up at the start. Kim and Becky at the front. Aaron and I in the middle somewhere. And then we were off.
Aaron took off ahead of me, but I could see him not too far in front of me for quite some time. I knew that meant I was keeping a good pace for myself because he was running under a 9 minute mile. I thought of slowing down a bit, but I just kept the pace that felt good for me. I also didn't look at my watch. I just ran to the music, which was fun. I hadn't been racing, or running to music in a while and the tunes kept me motivated.
I started to get tired around mile 2.5. I DID glance at my watch few times. Its a hard habit to break. The heat was getting to me, and even though I even stopped for water somewhere a long the course, it had been warm and I didn't feel like it hydrated me quite well enough. I could tell by my time that I wasn't going to PR, so I slowed it down and figured I wouldn't try to kill myself in the heat. Now yes it may be true that I said I wasn't setting out to PR, but with my strong start, if I could have, I would have continued to try. But at the point I was at, and the heat, I knew that wasn't going to be a possibility. No point in over exerting myself then. At this point - just have fun.
I ran hard in the shaded areas and took it easy when the sun was beating down on me. Then I saw Aaron waiting around to run me in to the finish. I tried jokingly to hide because I knew he was going to push me, and I was hot and tired. However, despite my best efforts at shielding my face, Aaron spotted me in my bright outfit and we ran to the finish. I saw the clock said 29 something and pushed to get in under 30.
I was super excited to have run a 5k in under 30 minutes, but soon learned that the course was short. Darn. No real PR there. Official time: 29:27. We stuck around for a bit, got some of the food and coffee, and waited around for the tons of prizes they were raffling off. Becky won a prize, so that was fun.
|Aaron, Me, Kim, Becky|
I later realized that last years race was also a short course, and both times the race results listed the race as a 3 miler. On the bright side my results improved significantly since last year. My time for last years race, on the same short course, was 31:26. I didn't have a fancy running watch back then, so I didn't realize the short course, but I looked at the results and it was also listed as 3 miles. This year's race: 29:27. That's 2 minutes off my time in one year. So even though I still haven't done a sub 30 minute 5k, I'll take a 2 minute improvement in a 3 mile race - especially in the heat and humidity!
I'm excited that I'm finally starting to see improvements in my running, and it's keeping my motivated to push myself even harder. After this race is RAP River 5k, and then training for the Chicago marathon. I'm excited to see how much I can improve my running be actually sticking to a training plan.