Running has taught me that I am a competitive person. I like to do better and improve, but I also learned that there is something about lining up at the start and trying to get a top finish. I have won 2 races in my life, and placed well in a few others and it has provided a different kind of thrill too.
Last Sunday, while I was on my long run, I saw a banner for the Navy Federal 5k, practically in my backyard. It was literally 2.5 miles from my house, and I did want to sign up for one more race before the Army Ten Miler (in 2 weeks). Why not? I was about to start a new running cycle on Monday, so it fit well - a chance to work on my speed and double as a good race. So, I was pretty psyched about the race. And I'll also admit that I had looked up race results from previous years and it looked like my odds were good for doing well in it. Last week, I came in 8th in the Clarendon Day 5k in a new PR of 19:10, but an Olympian was first. Maybe this time I could move up a few places. My goal was sub 20 - it was after a PR race and a week of solid training.
I had a nightmare last night that I was late for the race - couldn't have been more relieved to wake up! I warmed up from my house and got to the start with plenty of time. I know I'm not the only one to do this, but I sized up some of the other women. One in particular stood out - about six feet tall and legs for days. She had that fast look and seemed like not one to mess around with. I got in the second row, right behind her, hoped for the best, and we were off. I would say at least 8 women rushed ahead of me, and that was fine. I was not going to blow up in the first mile pushing unnecessarily hard. It was already 72 degrees at 9AM and it felt hot. I passed all but tall girl and a pair of girls running together. I could see them from a distance, and it seemed reasonable to pass them. Right after we turned onto a side street at mile 1, I passed them and didn't look back. I felt pretty comfortable in my position, and I was just looking to pass some guys. We were running through neighborhoods, and families in their front lawns were cheering for us. I could not even see tall girl, so this was now a race against the clock and against the field. With half a mile to go, I really started to pick it up - and there were a lot of people out and I felt like I started to have momentum. We had to whip around a few corners and go through the Navy Federal campus park. I did a couple of my runs there this week, so this was familiar territory.
It was up for grabs as I crossed the line, but the results page confirmed it:
19:59 (6:26 per mile)
2nd woman out of 393
13th overall out of 695
I was very pleased with how it went. Afterwards, the two girls from mile 1 came up to me and we started chatting. Half an hour later (and they still hadn't started the award ceremony), we realized how much we had in common beyond running - hooray for new friends! Then it was time for the awards ceremony. I knew I had earned second place, but the presentation was pretty sweet: