I met Jen super early because we wanted a good warm up and wanted to get there extra early because we hadn't registered. Everything went according to plan and we actually had some extra time to spare. It was freezing outside (Tampa went from Summer on Wednesday (88 degrees) to Winter on Friday (50-60 degrees) so we sat in my car for a little while and waited for Penny and Bobby to arrive.
We had a bit of a problem getting Penny parked, but figured it out. My heart was pumping and my adrenaline was high - but, maybe this just helped me get extra warmed up!
David along with Emily and Justin (two really good friends) came to the race! It was so nice to have them there! Like I said, it was pretty chilly out ... and they were troopers. They even held our warm clothes so that we would have them after the race. There was tons of amazing food and music. The race started and finished in Centennial Park - so, it made for a great atmosphere.
My race plan all week was to try to maintain 7:00 miles. My last 5K (in May) went something like this: 6:44, 7:20, 7:55 for a finishing time of 22:35. I knew I had a faster 5K in me, but I knew I needed to race smart. So, I didn't want to run faster than 7:00 and it all honestly I was going to be happy with 21:xx :)
The first mile felt great, as it always does. Jen was in sight and she was aiming for 20:30. I felt good enough to pass her at this point, but I did't want to. I knew better! So, I just stayed about 2-4 seconds behind her. I even thought about moving up to run with her, but I didn't want to psyche myself out. Jen's a great runner and I didn't know if I could hang! The first mile came by in 6:40. It wasn't quite the 7:00 that I had wanted, but I was pretty excited about it. Now, I had to maintain and NOT crash and burn. The next short term goal was to make it one more mile at that pace. Just one mile!
There were two sharp turn arounds, the ones that you basically stop and then start running the other way. Though those kill your time, they're pretty neat because you can see who is in front of you! I could see Penny each time. She was doing great! I just kept Jen in sight for this mile, too. I was feeling surprising well. I even looked down at my Garmin and it read in the 6:15's a couple of times. At 1.55 miles (half way), I was at 10:06. I knew that was so close to 20:00! Mile 2 split: 6:30 - on the dot!
So, 1.1 miles to go. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I knew I was going to PR and I kept telling myself NOT to give into that. The weather was great and I knew I needed to push for a mile. I knew if I maintained I'd be sub 21 and I really wanted that! I also knew what my half way split was and knew that I should be closer to to 20 than 21 and just tried my best to keep going. Jen started getting a little away. I didn't want to give in. I saw my watch go up to a 7:15 pace once and then tried to pick it up.
As we rounded the last corned and my watch said I had .2 to go, I started booking it. It hurt, but I passed like 3 girls and so it was completely worth it! Mile 3 was 6:45 and I just kept pushing. The last .11 - 5:10 pace! The official results aren't posted yet, but my Garmin read 20:28!
Results/Times/Placement to be posted soon ... but I couldn't keep this in much longer. This is what I needed mentally! I've been in a great place with my running post Apalachicola! It's amazing what a little belief in yourself does! :)