Saturday, June 6, 2009

An honorable (2nd place) finish

I ran in a 5k at St. Christopher's Church in Chili with the hope of breaking 22:00 (one of my two summer goals. On another note, I did break the other one - I ran a 6:28 mile on Tuesday). While I did not break that goal, it was still a great run.

I really don't like when I have to get to races really early for check-in, because it gives me so much time to just get nervous. Everyone is doing their pre-race thing - jogging, stretching, sprinting, etc. While I have a pre-race routine at home (yoga, etc), I have nothing for the course. So, I did a little stretching and jogging, but still had way too much time left before the race. Ah well. I approached the starting line, and did not go for the front row. I think, unless you know you're going to be one of the first to finish, it can be cocky to go to the front row. However, I went to the second row, because I knew I didn't want to lose any time bobbing and weaving trying to get some space. Then the starting whistle blew.

I took off, with my parents and grandparents standing a few yards away cheering, at a fast pace, but still with nerves abound. I think I finally calmed down when I hit the first mile at 6:54. We were running through a residential area, which was nice, because there were families out on their lawns cheering for us. I looked ahead, and I didn't see any other women. "No," I thought, "I can't be leading, right?"

I looked behind me and I saw one woman about 20 yards behind me. Every so often, I looked back, and she was still there. Mile 2 came around 14:05 and she was still there. But I passed someone's house and the family yelled "First girl!" So, I guess I was leading. Around 17 minutes, I passed two younger guys (high school), and they said "Good job" which I thought was sweet. At about 19 minutes (I think), the woman finally passed me. I uttered "nice work" and I knew at that point that was it. She had been bidding her time, and did it. I picked things up as I saw the church and the finish line, but she could not be beat. She came in at 22:28 and I came in at 22:34. A new PR!

I shook hands with her after, and found out her name: Theresa Palmieri. She smoked me, and did such a great job. I talked with her and her sister Patricia at length after while we waited for the awards ceremony, and I guess Theresa is quite the hard-core runner. She's run the Boston marathon 8 times, she also does ultra marathons and triathlons and has a PR marathon time of 3:25. I really enjoyed talking to both of them - they were really nice and had some good advice, especially since Theresa is quite skilled, as evidenced in the race.

Then they had an award ceremony, and I placed second overall for women, and first in my age division (18-24 women). I got a sweet medal (as seen in the picture with Patricia (white shirt) and Theresa Palmieri (jacket) too. I went home feel pretty proud of how the whole thing went. What a cool day.

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