Saturday, January 28th, I ran my first competitive race in a long time. I participated in the Run with Pride 5K in Celebration, FL. My initial intent was to just go out and run the race and enjoy running with my oldest daughter. But as we arrived at the race she decided that she wanted to run with her friends. And I was not concerned about it since they were running with a teacher, the course was well marked and on sidewalks, and she had her RoadID bracelet on her shoe should something happen. But that left me in a bit of a quandary because now I had no water with me or any headphones. The water being the most important because it would change up my normal hydration plan for a training run.
Since I would be going out alone, I figured it was a good chance to practice running in a crowd, especially at the beginning of a race. The challenge has always been to just run my pace and not to let the adrenaline rush of running with others overpower me. Having no music to run with also gave me no feedback as to how fast or slow I might be going. The only sensory input I had were the mile markers and other runners. There were no clocks at the mile markers either.
My expected time in my mind was to be between 38 – 40 minutes based on my training runs for the last month and change of hydration plan and other factors. So imagine my surprise when I came across the finish line and stopped my watch and it said 35:27. That was close to a minute faster per kilometer than I had been putting in a my pace was dropping 8 – 10 seconds per kilometer. The whole time I was running I felt I was in my pace zone or even slower at some points as my feet seemed they were in cement.
So it will be quite reflective and mentally challenging how I take the rest of my training for February and especially October in mind. Can I find my race pace and maintain it in a crowd or can I just run and not think too much about it again. I know I have done it once, can I pull it off again? It has been three years since I have tried but February will be the key test.