Tuesday, October 25, 2011

It's the Great Pumpkin

This past weekend I ran The Great Pumpkin Challenge 5K, which benefits the Saratoga Bridges Foundation. It has now become an important race for me. Last year in 2010, The Great Pumpkin 5K was the first 5K I ever walk/ran. I completed it in 53 minutes. This year, I completed it in 46 minutes.

I was excited about the race because of a few factors. 1. I already knew the race route. I run in the park a lot, so I am really comfortable with knowing how much further I had to do. 2. I had my GymBoss timer and was testing out a run 7 minutes, walk 1 minute, run 7 minutes game plan. 3. I like the costumes people wear. 4. I knew there were going to be a few people from BeRunning there. 5. This race marked one full year of racing.

The race was chip timed so my time wouldn't start until I crossed the mats at the start line. So I let everyone start out and be all run & stop & start. The 10K racers start alongside the 5K racers so it can be intimidating and I tend to start out too fast. I ran into "Fantastic George" at the start line. We chatted while other participants started. His goal was the 10K in under or close to an hour. Mine, was to finish pain free.

I started out and I firmly believe I am an Iron Eagle. What does this mean? Well in Iron Eagle, music isn't allowed in the fighter jet cockpits. This kid knows he can fly and his mentor (CHAPPY!) knows he can fly, he just fly's with music...it helps him focus. When he is reprimanded and the music is taken away, he just doesn't perform well. When he goes in to save his dad against all odds, he puts his tape in his walkman and fly's like you'd never believe.

See, that's me. When I have music & a tempo I can pace myself better. I know how I'm supposed to keep time with the music. Keeping time without my music, I often run too fast and end up cramping early. It helps me not be distracted, it helps me focus on breathing. In the 10K, I can't wear headphones. I'm nervous about running for an hour & a half without music.

At the Great Pumpkin race I started out well. I was burning/killing past so many people. I kept a steady pace as small children tried the sprint & stop to keep catching up to me. Other runners with a slow pace were doing a 3:1 ratio. So we ended up playing tag a lot. The two women I enjoyed playing tag with were the ones that I got stuck behind a stroller with. If you run in 5K's you'll sometimes see them. These mom's with jogging strollers. Well, sometimes those mom's are wicked fast. Other times, they are super slow and take up space on a path. So it became my goal...to pass a stroller. I kicked up my pace and jumped past them, then I slowed my pace back down and kept steady. Eventually, I hear my tag friends coming up behind me. It was awesome. Since I heard these women I knew that the stroller was way behind. I effectively passed a stroller mom.

I tried to set my sights further down the race route. As I saw the water stop approach my sight lines I saw my new goal. BUNSEN & BEAKER. Two people were dressed as Bunsen Honeydew & Beaker from The Muppets. I was close enough to catch up with them if I kept my pace. (which my Nike + app said I was at a 12 min pace, later I found out it was really a 14 min pace - still better than my average 16 minute pace) Yet, each time I started running Bunsen & Beaker started running. Each time I walked, they walked. I just couldn't catch up to them. Towards the last mile there was a group of 5 women that we were playing leapfrog. As I passed the woman who was part of the stroller pass crew I shouted to her "I know they arn't beating me technically, but hell I wanted to pass Bunsen & Beaker so badly"

I rounded  the area where I knew the finish line was. It was at this point that I don't remember who was around me. I knew to keep to the right because 10K runners were finishing on the left. I saw the finish line and I sprinted, full on sprinted, heart pumping going to fall out of my chest sprinted. As I sprinted to the finish line I heard Mary (a BeRunner mentor I ran with on Wednesday night) shout out "Yeah Hollie" and then over the speaker I heard "Hollie Miller coming in fast". It was neat.

I walked, got my half bagel & water, stretched and then walked back towards my car. While walking back I saw George entering the finish line area. I shouted for him and looked at the clock, it was about an hour & 5 minutes on the race clock but I know he started like I did, so his net time was probably an hour. Then I ran into Ed & Kate and some other BeRunner mentors, chatted a bit, and then I walked back to the car.

It was a great race. I had a good beer (Ten Penny Ale) as my reward and my legs were tired and just normal sore. My foot didn't go numb and my shin & ankle didn't seize up. Overall, I felt good.

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