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Day 13 of 112-XT-5K Race-#kickasstimeanddairyqueen

(Told two days late, as the events told herein took place on Sunday, 3.11.12)

It is the day of the annual Shamrocks and Shenanigans run in downtown Ann Arbor.  My husband and I generally host a small post-race bash for a group of friends who run/walk the race.  Initially, I wasn’t going to run the race this year because I knew I was running 15 miles the day before.  I told my friends (Amy, Chelle, Sharon, and Stefanie) that I wouldn’t be running but that I would still host them before and after the event.  See, I live about one block from the race start and finish and it’s a really convenient place to drop off clothing and then all the kids (Scott, Grayson, Ryan, Makayla, Peyton, Eva, and Beck) get to see each other.  So no big deal for me to host the event even though I wasn’t running.  However, when Christy said she was running I felt obligated to run too.  She wasn’t making me feel obligated, I made me feel obligated.  And my friends gave me crap for it.  I think they were amused that I wasn’t originally going to run but then changed my mind when Christy said she was going to do it.

Just before the Kids Kilometer! From left to right-Grayson, Makayla, Sharon, me, and Katherine.

Despite the fact that I was coasting on 5 hours of sleep after running 15 miles, I took at look at last year’s time.  An 8:17 pace.  I was thinking I could maybe come close to that.  I was motivated by the fact that my 8:17 pace time last year snagged me a 4th place in my age group (40-44), and if I could run better this year, then maybe….just maybe….I would actually placed in my age group!  I know, right?!?!

So everyone shows up dressed in their Irish finery (including the kids who were also participating in the runs this year), drops off their stuff, puts on their race numbers, and we head up town.

Me and official photographer Scott with his super cool fish-eye lens!

I was supposed to meet up with Christy P at the start, but it became pretty obvious about 15 minutes prior to race time that wasn’t going to happen.  I continued to hang out in line with Sharon and Amy, my much younger friends, i.e., never going to be in my age group friends.  We were about a block from the start but we had timing chips so I didn’t really care.  It was cold, though.  Man was it cold!  I was glad I wore my new funky, orange top that I had bought from Running Fit the day before.  And they weren’t kidding about the “fit” part.  Like a glove, fit.  Like tight!  Thank goodness for my “I Heart Beer” t-shirt on top! 

The “gun” goes off and Amy, Sharon, and I slowly start to move.  We all planned to run on our own.  The last time Sharon ran the race she was 5 months pregnant and she was ready to beat that time!  We cross the start line to a furry of beeps as everyone’s chips get recorded….and we’re off.

I start to run pretty quickly, but I feel good.  I look down at my GPS and I’m running a 7:37 pace.  Woa, girlfriend!  That’s not going to last!  Thanks goodness for the GPS, which, more specifically, is a ForeRunner 110.  I love it!  I love it because when I run, I have no idea of what my pace is.  I can tell the overall difference in terms of speed, but not specifically.  I can’t tell if I’m running 9 min pace, 8:45 pace, or an 8:30 pace-and there are big differences between those!  30 seconds is a loooooooooooooooong time in a 5K.

The course was new this year but I was staying strong.  Because I started so far back at the start, I was passing a lot of runners….and that become my thing.  Everyone in front of me became my GUMBY!  Mile 1-8:01.  Sweet!  Seventeen seconds faster than last year’s overall pace.  Mile 2 wouldn’t be as fast because it was mostly uphill-all the way up Main to Stadium.  But I continued to pass people without much effort.  Due in large part to the fact that I run hills all the time.  I have to say, I’m a pretty good hill runner.  They don’t freak me out.  I take my time and I sort of, kind of like them. Mile 2-8:11.  Holy Cow!  I can do this!  I am actually going to beat last year’s time!

I made the descent downhill and I go with it.  I learned a while ago that if you put the effort in to go up hill, you gotta roll with the downhills!  I certainly don’t sprint because that would be dangerous for me; however, I go with it.  I just sort of let gravity take over.  Mile 3-7:35!  Unbelievable!  Just .1 left to go.  Despite the steep hill at William between First and Ashley I was going to do this and do it well!

Final finish time-24:30 with a pace time of 7:56!  While not quite a PR, it was, however, the best 5K race time I have had in 11 years!!!  That means almost 44-year-old Kristi beat 30-year-old Kristi, and damn!  That tasted fine!

So here’s to not giving up!  Here’s to embracing the aging process!  Here’s to accepting that generally we get slower as we age, but that if we train properly we can, sometimes, turn back the hands of time!

Back at home after the race. The Trifecta of beer hearters-Chelle, me, and Amy

And after everyone left and I had cleaned up (both personally and my house) and I was still super psyched about my race, I was driving through town and there it was.  A sign, a beautiful glorious sign that was saying, “Way to rock it, Kristi! You did a GREAT job today and you deserve something special!”

I heart Spring.

What is there to say really? Words can't adequately describe the beauty and wonder of this cone filled with happiness!

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