I decided to try a new race this year: the Bay Days 5-miler. Well, it actually isn't new. It's 39 years old. And I have spent darn near every 4th of July of my life in Bay Village, Ohio (one in Germany!) and somehow I have never ran this race. When my local tri club announced they were doing a "ride/race/ride," I thought: perfect! Right down the street from my house = no excuse not to do it. Plus, I could get in some good training and earn myself extra brownies at our cookout later that night.
I haven't raced 5 miles in quite some time, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I used to do that distance quite a bit with the Turkey Trot downtown and the St. Malachi race in the spring, but I haven't done them in a few years. The best I had ever done at a 5 mile race was breaking 40 minuutes ONCE: and barely. I think I was somewhere in the 39:45 range. I know I've been running well lately and had a super big goal of a 37:30, but with the humidity I wasn't quite sure if I could pull it off.
Met my fellow Cleveland Tri Club members at 6:30am and pushed off for a nice easy 1 hour ride. It was fun to ride with ACTUAL! HUMANS! for a change. We got back, I hit the port-o-potty twice (standard) and lined up ready to race. And we were off!
Now, all the fast kids come out for this race, literally. It is free to high school kids, which is awesome, so every single fast high school kid runs this race. It was kind of cool to see all these kids whizzing by and, as it turns out, to keep up with a few of them! My first mile was a blistering (for me!) 7:10. Oops! Classic Trisaratops move. I started to wonder if that meant imminent death, but I was actually feeling...good? Bizarre!
Miles 2 and 3 I slowed down a bit but was still holding steady in the 7:20s. In fact, when I clicked over to 3.1 on my Garmin, I was at 22:50...a two second PR for the 5K! You know what that means, right?
(That means my 5K PR should NOT be 22:50. You are not supposed to be able to keep going after your fastest 5K....you're supposed to almost hurl.)
Ran around my old neighborhood and then through a friend's sprinkler she had set up on her lawn (thanks, Kary! I needed that!) and then it was time to enter the stadium at the high school. That was a cool way to finish, too. There were a lot of spectators out in their yards and on the course, which made it lots of fun!
Kicked it as hard as I could around the end--here's a CTC guy, Jeff, flying by me and I was admiring how freakin' fast he was going, so I tried to pick it up, too!
Hit my watch and it said 37:18. About exploded with awesomeness and excitement. Official race time says 37:25 so I'm not sure how I was so far off, but whatever. This? This was one of those perfect races where everything went right. I blew my old PR out of the galaxy and even did better than my pie-in-the-sky goal. So, let's review what I did to prepare:
1. Ate a hamburger, hot dog, and lots of cake at a birthday party the night before
2. Rode an hour before I raced
3. Generally did not ever really imagine it would go as well as this
Reminders, all, that THIS IS ALL IN MY HEAD and when I take the pressure off myself, I kind of kick a lot of ass. Gonna have to file that away and remember it as I approach Columbus, where I am definitely putting the pressure on. Goals are good; obsession is not, and I consistently do better when I chill the heck out.
Snapped a pic with some local tri club buddies after the race and then headed off for an hour ride solo (the group was going 1:30 and I was pushing it with our party that night):
Headed home and made some tasty burgers some patriotic treats, and had a blast at our party.
Then woke up and turned 36. To those who told me that I'd have to "give up all that racing stuff" once I had my first baby (remember that? that was pleasant), and to all the experts that say that you slow down in your 30s and whatnot, I say TAKE THAT, 36.
Have a feeling this is going to be a fun (and fast) year.