First, I would like to thank you all for your amazing support and words of encouragement!
I am also very grateful for Runner's World Smart Coach Personalized 5K Training that I followed for 10 weeks, and that kicked my arse sometimes, but it was effective overall... eh eh eh
About the race - my first 5K but also my first race at all - I woke up this morning feeling terrible; sore throat, runny nose, dehydrated because of the medicine I took last night because I was feeling the cold coming, a sore knee and "TOM" has decided to pay me a visit just today...
Besides, after raining all day yesterday, it was bright and sunny outside but chilly and very very windy (enough to brake a few tree branches in our yard) which was making cold to feel colder that cold...
If I had listened to my husband, I would have stayed home and forgot about racing today. But I didn't train for 10 weeks to just let bad luck (Irish or not) put me down so close to my goal, right?
My goals were to RUN ALL THE WAY (no walking at all) and to FINISH the race, regardless of the time. Based on my training average speed and on my physical condition today, I had estimated that my time would be in between 35 and 40 minutes...
So around 09:30am (new summer time), our car was parked in front of the meeting point. We waited in the car until 10:30am, then I started to warm up, along with my little ones who enjoyed to finally get an opportunity to get active.
At 10:50am, I took my place 3/4 back of the crow, and 11:00am we all started moving forward in a big and loud cheer! A last little wave to my family, a push on the button "start" of my Garmin, and I was on my way.
I was immediately passed my lots of people, but I tried to ignore them and to get a comfortable pace from the start, just like so many of you, devoted Spark Friends, had advised. Thank you all, for the great tips and advices! I felt like you were all there on the side of the road, and cheering for me...
In the first mile, part of the route downtown was on bricks, which was a bit hazardous but not too bad. Some runners took the sidewalk for more safety, but I didn't want to waist my position in the crowd.
About that long hill that was worrying me so much before the race, I was already in the middle of it when I actually realized that I was running uphill... LOL After that, it was a bit harder to maintain my speed, but I focused on keeping my breath paced, shortening my strides and swinging my arms, like I was also advised to (Thanks, Runner Friends!). My legs were getting sore and at that point, I thought it would be nice to walk a bit, but I was hearing heavy breathings all around me. I was obviously not the only one to struggle at the end of that hill, and that kept me going, but it felt so good when the ground became flat again!
Before hitting the second hill of the race, we met the first participants who were already running their way back - after the U-turn. That gave me an idea of my position; I knew I was going slow, but I was fine with the idea, because I was happy I made it up the long hill without walking.
The second hill, was shorter but deeper, and my legs were still tired from the first hill, but I tried to stay in the pace, and it was my turn to pass a few people now.
On the way back - after I U-turned myelf - I could see the tail of the race the same way I had seen the head of the race. People were struggling, and some of them walking right in front of the Emergency Intervention Police Vehicle that closed the race all along. I and people around me sent a few cheers and encouragements their way. I can imagine how they were feeling, because I was there a few months ago, and I didn't forget how I was feeling when I was overweight and struggling to run just a mile...
Running down the hill was completely new for me. I was wearing my knee braces, but by prudence I also tried to hold my strides a bit.
The end of the race was back to downtown, but in another street that was not paved with bricks and not exactly flat. I was tired now. My Garmin HRM was warning me regularly that my heart rate was too high. That light incline was hard to go through, but I looked at my Garmin and saw that the finish line was only half a mile away, so I decided to speed up a bit but my legs were feeling like "lead" at that point...
At the finish line, I saw my husband taking photos and my little ones cheering for me, and that was my little emotional moment. Into the moment, I forgot about stopping my Garmin. I only turned it off when I sit to take off the Timing Chip off my ankle, a few seconds later.
Now, on the photo here below it is me, passing the finish line; so quick that (our old and slow) digital camera could only get my shadow... but it is waving at you! LOL
I hope the event's photographer got a better shot of me...
Big smile and "refueling" with a PowerBar Recovery Shake (Protein).
When I checked my race stats, I was shocked! My Garmin was giving me a moving time of 29:09 minutes, and a moving speed of 6.5 mph average. I couldn't believe my eyes! That is a pace of 9:13 min/mile, which is the fasted I have ever run on such distance!!!
The race route was pretty well balanced: 41.7 % Ascent (1.32 mile), 42.6 % Descent (1.34 mile) and 15.7 % Flat (.5 mile).
My average Ascent Speed was 6.5 mph, Maximum Ascent Speed was 8.5 mph.
My average Descent Speed was 6.6 mph, Maximum Descent Speed 9.9 mph.
My average Flat Speed was 6.3 mph, Maximum Flat Speed was 8.0 mph.
My average Ascent Pace was 9:17, Best Ascent Pace was 7:04.
My average Descent Pace was 9:04, Best Ascent Pace was 6:04.
My average Flat Pace was 9:29, Best Flat Pace was 7:30.
My Average Heart Rate was 93% - Low 63 - High 99.
As the table here above states, I didn't let the adrenaline carrying me away, and with the great help of my Garmin I managed to hold my strides during the first mile, to make sure I wouldn't be winded at the bottom of the first hill. Amazingly, I ran the second mile - the hilly part of the race - the fastest... ???
RESULTS: I was the 423rd to arrive out of 647 participants, and 28th out of 57 in my age category. Official Time is 29:03 minutes.
I was certainly not expecting my pace to be 9:22 min/mile, because I had never sustained that pace for more than a half a mile before! And it even a bigger surprise because I was not at the best of my health today...
Now, I didn't win any official medal or reward, so I bought myself a Trophee to celebrate my my first race ever and my best pace ever!
I don't drink beer but there were no more shirts available... This is going to make a great pen holder!
Now, just for the info, if I wanted to win that same race, let's say next year, I would have to speed up my pace to 7:44 min/mile minimum. The first three female runners in my age categorie ran the race in 24 minutes and under.
... UPDATE ... UPDATE... UPDATE... UPDATE... UPDATE... UPDATE...
Official photos from the event's photographer
[click to enlarge]
Yep! That's me trying to speed up to the finish line...