I already had a blog planned out for today, but that is going to have to wait until tomorrow. Yesterday I ran my first 5 mile race in my hometown of Roxboro and I feel that it is worth a race recap.
On Friday night I, along with four other girls from my running club, headed to Rougemont (which is right outside of Roxboro) to stay at my sister’s house. She was kind enough to let five girls crash her house out on the farm. Now my sister lives on 20+ acres with three cats, two dogs, and lots of chickens. The complete opposite of what a bunch of girls from Raleigh are use to. When we got there, we took over her kitchen to cook dinner, visited with my cousin and his wife who came to visit, looked at old pictures, and then were thoroughly entertained by Toni’s (my sister) many stories. When my cousin Scott stopped by, he was certain to tell me that he expected me and his brother Dan to win the race. He had his money on us and we better not disappoint. I felt a little pressure.
By 11:00 we headed off to bed and I set four alarms for the morning. I am not crazy about many things, but being [extremely] early to events is one of my habits. After making my craziness very clear to everyone and that we were leaving by 6:15 am, we all went to bed.
You know that feeling you have the night before a race? You’re nervous, anxious, restless, etc. I was overwhelmed with those feelings, but that is not what kept me, along with everyone else in the house from sleeping. Remember how I said Toni had three cats and two dogs? Well this is how the night went from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am… Dog 1 is sick and Toni has to get up to take him out. Cat 1 jumps on my head. Dog 1 asks to go out again. Dog 2 comes home for the night and starts howling to be let in. Someone goes to the bathroom and Cat 2 tries to open the door. Cat 3 sneaks into the bedroom of the person who went to the bathroom. Dog 1 still can’t sleep so asks to go out again. Toni takes Dog 1 outside and then sleeps on the porch with the dog so he won’t keep bothering us. (What an awesome sister!). Cat 3 asks to be let out of the room he snuck into. Cat 3 then comes to join Cat 1 and sits on top of my head. In other words, nobody got any real sleep. 5:00 am came all too early.
Luckily everyone made it into my car with their bags packed by 6:15am. (If not, I might have left. I really am that crazy about being early.) We jammed out to some Eminem on the way, talked about race goals and strategies, and then pulled up to the start area. When we got there, it was a family affair. My aunt, my cousins, their wives, Mario, my dad, my mom, my sister – everyone was there.
I’ve never done a 5 mile race. I don’t even like 5Ks. In my opinion, they are painful. At least with 3.1 miles there is a warm up mile, a don’t think about it mile, and a run all out to the finish mile. With 5 miles, the “don’t think about it miles” are a little longer. My strategy was go out easy the first mile, focus on form and breathing for miles 2 and 3, and then dig deep for those last 2 miles.
When we got to the start line, I looked around at the competition and felt pretty confident about my chances. As soon as the gun went off, my cousin took the lead and never looked back. I also took the lead for the females and when we looped back around in one of the neighborhoods, I saw the next two females were quite a ways behind me. Then I saw that my mile split was 6:40. Opps. A little too fast. Mile 2 had quite a few rolling hills that slowed me down a lot. Like 30 seconds a lot. When we looped around again at another turn around point, I saw that one of the girls was quickly catching up to me. I focused on two things: my breathing and the two men in front of me. If I could just catch up to them and get back to goal pace, I think I’ll be ok. This was mile 3 and once that was done, I could start my last two dig deep miles. One of the benefits of not using my headphones during this race, was I could hear the girl’s footsteps behind me. This turned out to be quite valuable because I could hear if she was still there or if she had faded away. I managed to catch up and past the two guys but that girl was on my heels every step of the way. Mile 4 was a lot faster – 6:30. Ok one last mile and then it’s over.
I turned the corner for the last mile and I said quite a few bad words out loud. It was downhill, uphill, loop around to go downhill again, and then up one steep ass hill to finish out the race. I guess all that talking took some energy out of me, because that girl straight out passed me. Ok now more bad words and thoughts. I’m going to have to take second. My cousin, who had high expectations of me winning for the females, was going to be disappointed. Mario wouldn’t let this happen. What do I do? I took the downhill as fast as I could, which gave me momentum for the uphill. When we turned around to go back, the girl was still in front of me, but not by too much. I took the downhill again as fast as I could and then prayed that my hill running through Raleigh would pay off. When I say that hill was steep, I am not joking. I felt like I slowed down to a crawl. We were .25 miles from the finish and then the girl started walking! Hooray! This is my chance. I took advantage of the slowed pace to gather my strength. Then I thought to myself, either she is going to start sprinting or you are going to start sprinting. You do NOT want to be the one doing the chasing so go! I took off as fast as I could. I talked myself through through the pain by saying, this is a 300 meter repeat. It sucks and it hurts, but it will be over soon. Mario, my sister, my mom, my cousin, everyone was yelling for me. I couldn’t focus on anything but the finish line. Once I heard my name called out as the first female overall, I was elated. I had won a race and I had done it in my hometown, with so many family and friends present. What made the win even better was my cousin Dan had won the race in 32:37. What a way to make the family proud.
Here are my race results.
Finishing the race first was amazing, but I think my most inspirational moments came after the race. As I was standing by the finish area, another Roxboro native came to me to share her running story. She told me that she had come across my blog on Facebook and has since picked up running. I had inspired her to start running and now she had just finished her first 5 mile race. She was so thankful and I was completely moved. My goal is always to inspire and motivate others, and her words have driven me to do even more. Thank you.
The Run Inspired. girls were amazing yesterday. For some of them, 5 miles was their longest run to date. They all finished in great times and I am so proud. It was a tough course, but they all crossed the finish line with smiling faces. Thank you ladies for making the trip to Roxboro and for participating in this race. You all made the trip way too much fun.
Congratulations to Emily, Sara, Kristy, Maria, Jordan, Jessica, and Kayley on a great race!! Remember – Be Inspired. Run Inspired. Stay Inspired.
Happy Trails and Happy Running.