This is the ONLY time I'll ever be able to say this, but I actually was the first female finisher in a local 5K this weekend. That will never happen again, and the fact that it was a tiny, local race, makes me feel way less impressive, but it's still a good feeling.
I ran 6 miles on the treadmill the day before the race, then relaxed and ate delicious homemade Ethiopian with Nick. About 8:30pm, all hell broke loose with my stomach and I went to a very dark, unpleasant place. I don't know what caused it, but I'm guessing scallion pancakes and their gluten-y goodness were a contributor. This happened the week before as well, after demolishing onion kolcha at an Indian restaurant. Tummy, I hear you, and I understand what you're trying to tell me re: bread. I'll stop.
I got pretty worried about what the stomach upset meant for the race since I was nowhere near being comfortable when I went to bed at 11 or so. I woke up 2x during the night to deal with it again. I definitely thought I'd still be hurting in the morning, but I woke up surprisingly perky. I had Gatorade to up my electrolytes, 2 eggs with salt, plus a lot of water. The race started nice and late (0830) so we had time for some coffee too. By the time we got to the race, I was feeling slightly less nervous about my stomach and more nervous about the race. I honestly thought I'd just chug along and stay in a comfortable spot. Ha.
Nick's leg is still hurting him so he ran with me. After the race he told me "That first quarter mile you ran as fast as I normally race by myself, I was worried!" He is such a great guy to have alongside me. He checks in frequently enough to know how I'm doing, but not so often he gets annoying. He also tells me I'm doing well and to keep it up, finish strong, etc. He's basically the best ever. /end sappiness. Anyways, I was lucky to have him next to me because I started off too fast, got to feel how nice it was to be out front, and then I struggled not to die the rest of the race. I needed a little extra motivation. I saw 8.7 mph on my watch at about 0.6 miles in and knew I was in trouble. We slowed down a little (7:27 pace), but kept chugging. The way the course was set up, I didn't know where I stood with respect to other runners until I was most of the way done. At that point, I saw that I was the first woman.... what?!?! I knew I was running quickly, but that is unheard of. Also, Nick and I were only maybe 10 people back from the leaders. Weird. I tried my best to maintain but once I saw how far ahead of the next girl I was, it was hard to keep pushing it (hence 7:41 last 0.78 mi). The course was super short- my watch only said 2.78 miles when I finished in 20:41. I was congratulated by the race director (my coworker!), chugged some water, talked to a couple people, then went out for a cool down run. I didn't feel particularly great physically, but I did have a nice buzz from knowing I won. That was nice.
Short race. 2.78 miles plus the cooldown. I clearly know how to pace myself. Not.
The award was a medal hanger that has a Bible verse printed on it. I'm not a Bible verse person, so although the prize was cool, I'm still meh about it. My left quad started aching after the race, but I'm not sure why. I must have pulled it because it continued to hurt through the weekend.
I am a competitive person, but with running I've only ever really been competing with myself and my own times. Knowing that I have even the tiniest bit of ability has lit a little fire in me to mayyyyybe try harder in training so I can improve. Maybe. Or it's reinforced that I should exclusively run local 5k's to keep my confidence up. That'll work.