First thing out of the way, I definitely 100% lost to Clara by like 20″. And, yes, she is definitely very pregnant:
Second thing: This was probably the first I’ve been sort of disappointed in a race during the whole on-off-training-not-training-just-see-how-it-goes thing. Typically, low expectations mean you’re pretty pleased with whatever happens. And, typically, I’m a better racer than trainer, so I tend to bring it when it matters. But, not today.
I started the day by bike leading the five mile race. It turns out it is significantly harder than I realized to bike while looking backwards. Then, I was freezing, so I changed clothes and shoes and started jogging even though I had over an hour to my mile heat (Open Women, what). Warming up really only made me feel tired and shitty, so after like a dozen strides I gave up on the idea that my legs would come around and committed fully to freaking out about how much this was going to suck.
The race always has a high-quality field — 4:00 milers in the men’s and very sub-5:00 in the women’s — but it was bigger this year. The Open Women’s race was over 40 girls, nearly all of whom run a 5:20 mile. So, it was what it was. The start is slightly downhill with two quick right turns and it was all elbows and trying not to fall and sprinting and thinking ‘hey this isn’t too bad maybe’ when we went through the 400m at 78″.
Then, we started heading up the false flat and through the crowds. Everyone was cheering and I heard quite a few ‘Go Kelly’s and I tried. I did. But, right before I hit the 800m in 2:42 (which, yes, is slowing down) I started to slide off the back of the group. There were a whole lot of girls who were going to run between 5:05 and 5:30 — and some who were going to run faster. And I just couldn’t hang on to them.
Then, the hill really kicked up and I slowed and slowed. I thought I was barely moving. To a degree, I think I did stop moving; I stopped fighting. It hurt enough; how much more did I want it to hurt? How much more could it? (Turns out, a lot.) But finally I hit the turn-around and passed a girl. I passed someone! And I could see the finish way down at the other end of downtown and you think ‘if I just pump my arms hard enough I can make this go by quicker.’
Then, I passed 1200m in 4:14. Is that good? Can I still go 5:30-something? Did I slow down? Probably, I thought, but the math was fuzzy.
People were screaming at me. I think Steve was there. I got the sense there might be a girl behind me. I was pretty sure my form was terrible and I looked like a dying cow — in orange shorts — but no one passed me. I was also 100% fucking positive I was going to run 5:30-something. About which I would be pretty happy with my race, you know, given everything. Finally, FINALLY, the finish line was there and I could see the clock. 5:40?!? WHAT?
I crossed the line in 5:42. But, I, um, apparently sat up a little early, because my official time says 5:46. Which, you know, I’m pretty sure I’ve run that pace within longer races.
Ah well. Race #1 back done.