Sometimes I think I can do things. As in, I think I can do crazy things without problems, consequences, repercussions. Sometimes I think I’m invincible.
So signing up for back to back 5Ks (one on Saturday, one on Sunday) seemed like a brilliant idea at the time. Saturday’s Norwood 5K was a goal race, the second race in the 3-race Triple Crown series. And Sunday’s John Blackgrove 5K was a smaller 5K that 2 of my friends were planning to run, so hey, why not sign up, right?
I busted butt on Saturday at Norwood and ran a 24:40 5K, a personal best on that particular course. So my goal for the John Blackgrove 5K was to hit maybe 25:20 or so, reasonable after busting out a respectable race the day before.
Sunday morning I picked up my neighbor Kathy who was running the race and headed over to the park where the race start was. I’m very familiar with the park as my daughter had soccer practices and games there a lot. Also, I was meeting my other friend George who has a streak going for this race — he’s run it every year since the race was organized 4 years ago.
Kathy and I got there early, picked up our race bibs and shirts, and started our warmup. It was cold again, upper 30s, just like the day before. Good running weather for me! We ran into George as he and his son were doing their warm up.
I asked George what his goal was for the day, and he said to run a personal best of under 25 minutes. My friend Kathy was hoping for a personal best too as we have been training for several months.
We lined up at the start, and soon we were off. Within the first couple of hundred yards George passed me, so I figured I’d just follow him as far as I could. Also, I didn’t know if he and my husband had some sort of bet about which of us would win, and I didn’t want to unknowingly deprive my husband of a 6-pack of beer if that was the case. And to be honest, there was no way I wanted George going to the next soccer game and telling everyone he smoked me in a 5K, even if it was one day after I ran another 5K and 2 weeks after I ran a marathon!
The course was mostly flat, just a couple of small hills, nothing major. I hung in there behind George and didn’t worry about my pace. Mile 1 — 7:58. Probably not the best idea but I was determined to keep just behind George.
Mile 2 was starting to hurt a lot, but I was determined not to lose George. We passed a few guys and kept going. At the end of mile 2 we were at 7:53.
I was dying at this point. My legs were hurting, my feet were hurting, my lungs were hurting, but I was somehow stupidly determined to hang with George. I closed the gap between us and sensed that he was slowing down. I pulled up beside him and told him not to slow down, that he had a goal to reach. He said he was dying and would try to keep going, and I kept encouraging him that he was doing great. We had less than a mile to go.
We turned a corner leading into the last half mile, and I encouraged him that we were getting there. Mile 3 — 8:00. We made the final turn to the finish, we could see it, and I told him to floor it. We dug in and ran as hard as we could (6:46 — George later said that he’s never run that fast in his entire life).
The finish clock said 24:42 (George) and 24:43 (me).
I told George that he had done a great job and congratulated him on a new PR! He said thanks and that he was trying to catch his breath. I got us some water, and we walked to cheer on the other runners. We cheered on one of the boys from the soccer team, the boy’s mom, then George’s son. Somehow I missed Kathy.
And of course I realized what kind of crazy person runs 24:40 and then 24:43 on consecutive days? Did I not run hard enough the day before? Am I just that crazy that I can turn anything into a competition?
My friend Kathy crossed the finish line with a new PR too!
Kathy and I both won 3rd place in our age groups, so that was exciting! George was happy with his new PR, and we all had a fun time.