Saturday, May 22, 2010

5 Mile Aurora House Race with Pace Report - A Homecoming

I came home Friday night after another year of grad school in the books. I am 2 months away from having my MA - just need to take my comprehensive exams this July. Moved out successfully and was very happy to arrive at home. I will be home for a month, which will give me some solid time to study for my exam and get some great runs in (and get back to the pool and weight room - oops). But I digress.
This morning was the Aurora House 5 Mile Race with Pace. I like races at home - my parents come (well, they come to the far away ones too, but a mile drive is a lot easier), I know a lot of the people who are running, etc. I did a 1 mile warm up around my neighborhood. I don't know what it is, but it is when I warm up that the butterflies set in. I feel like I'm puttering around and then I worry about my ability to hold a fast pace. Luckily, I am aware of that feeling and I know that the nerves tend to go away once I start.
I knew that I stood a good chance of placing, so I was trying to size up the other women. 3 women (myself included) stood at the front of the starting line, and when the gun went off, one went out in front of me and one was behind me. Definitely felt like I had a hometown advantage - a lot of it was on the Erie Canal, which I run on a lot. I went over one bridge, passed a kid who I had been running with, and mile one they shouted out 7:02. Oops! Too fast (that is my current 5k pace). There was a turnout at about 1.5 miles, and I could see that the first place woman was way out in front of me - time to let her go. I was comfortably in 2nd place. Although I could hear a man and a woman behind me. The man was talking and singing, which was good for two reasons. 1, I knew they were staying together and I hoped that would tire him. 2, I could hear how far away the 3rd place woman was. There were actually 3 water stations on the course - which was great because I just kept dumping water on my head. At the third water station, the Katz's (Mr. and Mrs. - I went to high school with their daughter Jen and she is an excellent XC runner) were there and they were cheering me on. That gave me a little boost and put a smile on my face. Then climbed the 2nd bridge at mile 4 - just one more mile to go. Again, this was a bridge that I was familiar with. I felt like I only took 4 steps to get up and over. This was a bridge that challenged me when I was younger, but not today. Going up the bridge, I could see that I had about 200m on the 3rd place woman. The guy in front of me was about 100 m ahead, so I really was running my own race. Made the final turn, and had about half a mile to go. So happy that the finish sign was huge and had a very clear idea of where it was. Finished at 37:00 on the dot. The picture my parents took was just as I was about to cross - so close to breaking into 36, but that is okay. Lots of people clapping - I was second woman! The overall female winner did it in 34:06, so there was no way I could catch her. We waited around for the award ceremony and I was able to catch up with a lot of people from my hometown. There were lot of people who I knew from high school, and so it was surprising for them to see me run (they all knew me as a singer and musician). Even saw my old music teachers, and my junior prom date (his dad was the race director). I ended up winning the open women's division, which was cool (a $25 gift certificate to Wegman's). It was a fun race and a great way to kick off my time at home!

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