Happy 2014! Yesterday I did my first race of the year! This was my fourth year doing this race and it could not have gone better. For years this race was held at a location close to University of Tennessee and was known for being blazing fast. Seriously. One year a guy ran it in under 15 minutes. Due to growing race size and logistical issues it was moved across town this year to a new course. I was a little nervous since I had never ran in this new area but I knew it was mostly flat so I put all worries aside.
Several members of the Biggest Winner team did this race and for a few of them it was their very first! Let me just say there is no better feeling than seeing the elation on someone’s face as they cross the timing mat and finish line for the very first time. I think all runners should have that same joy at every finish line. I’m so proud of the team for not only finishing but beating their time goals, too!
It was very cold yesterday morning. In the 20s which is more than frigid in my opinion. The line to get bibs and shirts was very long which was sort of surprising because usually KTC races have really smooth packet pickup. It wasn’t a big deal at all and standing in the cold got me acclimated to the cold. After taking my shirt back to the car I stood in an even longer line for bathrooms. Since the race began at a restaurant, it was very nice to have indoor plumbing. With about three minutes to spare I said hi to Missy Kane while she snapped my photo and I hopped in the starting chute.
I lined up with a member of last year’s team and a guy from this year’s team. We decided to start together but if any of us wanted to speed up or slow down then we would. Within a matter of seconds the gun was shot and off we were! I didn’t focus on my watch very much except to occasionally see where I was distance wise. I mistakenly thought the course was an out and back when in reality it was a loop so we got to the first turnaround less than a mile in which sort of threw me for a loop (pun intended). I hit the first mile with a 10 in front of my pace.
It is important for me to note that I really had no time goals for this race. The only “goal” I had was to beat my time from the Jingle Bell 5k a couple weeks ago so the whole pacing thing really wasn’t an issue. I did decide to take walk breaks which I did not do in my last 5k but I really didn’t worry about it because I was just out there to enjoy a good run.
Before I knew it we were passing the finish line going out on the second portion of our loop. I caught up with one of this year’s team members and ran with him for a little bit. He was holding strong so I just tried to stay with him. I continued to take walk breaks but only had them for about 15-30 seconds just to cruise up hills or catch my breath. I could tell that the last portion of the race was going to be a slight downhill so I mentally convinced myself to push hard until I could glide down the hill.
Something that really helped me run during this part was knowing my blog friend Paige was out there somewhere. I was so focused on trying to spot her from across the median that I sort of forgot that I was even running. Nothing like a good distraction to keep my legs running. P.S. I never actually saw her but her husband finished 4th overall. And we finished about 15 seconds apart so we could have basically been together the entire time.
Once I hit the downhill I pushed it a little harder since I knew that I was about a half mile from the finish. After that point I did not look at my watch anymore so I really didn’t know where I was time-wise but it didn’t matter to me. I was running strong and I was feeling good. When I rounded the corner to the finish line I saw my fellow BW coach Bryan and I saw a 31 on the clock. Holy cow I had better push it. While I did not full blown sprint to the finish line I did finish strong and didn’t collapse at finish line. That is always a success.
After finishing we waited around for the entire team to finish before heading up to get in line for food. While in line I saw my new friend Dawn (we met via blogging and Instagram). We took a photo together and chatted for a bit. She ended up in the top 100 females which earned her a coveted race wine glass.
I wasn’t very hungry so I just sipped on some orange juice and talked with Bryan and Jack. Lots of big goals being put on the table for 2014 according to those two. It is going to be a good year and we all started it off in a good way. Here are my final results for this race:
Chip time: 31:47
Clock time: 32:01
Age place: 9/26
Athena place: 6/37
I am soooo happy to have broken into the 31 time bracket. My last race was 33:03 so this was definitely an improvement and gives me lots of confidence for breaking 30 minutes in the 5k this year. My clock time is a little pesky since I can think of many instances where I could have shaved 2 seconds off but I’m not worried about it. Good race and good times. Another race down and many more to go. Happy 2014 to all my lovely virtual friends!
How did you ring in the new year? Any big race goals for this year?