I have quite a few things to post about, but I'm going to break it up. I'll start with Friday/Saturday morning.
Friday started off like any other - work. But I was on pins and needles all day because I knew that I had a nice, long weekend away from Houston with Sean planned... Plus there was the whole running a 5k thing, and that always excites me. And this one included free ice cream at the end - WIN.
So Sean picked me up from work, and we were on our way to Brenham. The good thing about Brenham is that it's far away enough to be considered "out of town" and close enough to get away to quickly. We drove straight to packet pick-up and as we were wandering through the hallways and I was spouting off all of my "running knowledge" (read: sounding like I know what I'm talking about so that Sean is impressed) we ran into this gem of a sign:
Wait, what? Which way is it? You can rest assured we found it.
Race day goodies are one of my favorite things, and I enjoy laying out all of the coupons I will never use and such and looking at them. I also enjoy how everyone talks about all of the "free" things they get with their packet pick-up (nevermind the registration fee you paid) ;)
After that we scooted on over to a cute little cafe (Brenham Grill) that I have no pictures of because I am a horrible photographer, and it wouldn't really have mattered anyway because I use my phone for 100% of my pictures (go on ahead and be jealous of my awesome quality photos... or not.)
I did have a pretty bomb salad of chicken, baby spinach, walnuts, feta, avocado, tomato and some delicious sort of vinaigrette. And apparently now I drink before races because we each had a Miller Light (and wine on the drive). Regardless, Sean and I, being the big partiers we are these days, were in bed and asleep by the ripe old time of 9:30pm. I will tell you that for sleeping at a Comfort Suites, Sean and I both agreed we slept the best we had in a long time. I woke up super refreshed and ready to tackle this 5k.
Before I go into the race, I'll go ahead and get it out of the way that every race I run, I want to PR. Is this reasonable? Probably not. There's a huge difference between running flat, fast courses and running hilly courses. There's a huge difference between if it's windy, hot, cold, whatever. This does not change that I routinely want to drop time. Since 5K's are such short distances in the running world, I want to continually be faster.
Oh and at one point, all the 5K runners were lining up facing each other since no one knew which way to start (being prepared at its finest). They finally got everyone facing the right direction and lined us up by mile times. I didn't want to start with the 8 min/mile times, so I squeezed in with the 7 min/milers. Even though I belonged in 8. :-]
I thought it was going to be a really small race. Obviously, this was not the case.
I started off great. Not too fast, not too slow. I tracked it well, making sure to keep it at a slightly harder pace than normal, but one that I was comfortable running. We went through the high school parking lot and then came the big challenge. Downhill. What? Downhill a challenge? Well yeah, because inevitably that means there's an uphill.
So I did what I do on downhills, I slowed down. Focused on breathing. Thought about my arm swing and my pace. Watched as a guy pushing a double stroller breezed past me. Snickered to myself. Geared up.
Hit the uphill and passed that sucker. Went up it strong and determined. Once I hit the turn-around (it was an out and back course) I slowed for the downhill again, picked an unsuspecting runner in front of me and made it a point to watch him and try to pace with him.
I'll stop right now and tell you that I had thrown the whole PR thing out the window. I kept looking at my garmin and thinking that my splits were a little slower than I wanted. The guy and I were averaging about the same pace... Occassionally he'd pass me and then I'd catch up. Eventually, I over took him and picked out another guy. I have a thing for wanting to pass guys.
And then I rounded the corner. Finish line in sight. Boy in front of me in sight. And I just got this unexplainable surge of fastness. Yes, you read that right: fastness.
I killed that guy at the end.
Ignore that I look like I'm about to die, or that my leg coming forward is awkward looking.
I paced around for a long time. Mainly because I still haven't officially figured out how that garmin thing works and I wasn't sure my time was accurate (It said 25:36... which was a bit slower than my last 5K).
I was gearing up to be OK with not PRing, and factoring in different things (such as the hills - the last 5K I ran in 25:08 was a very flat course) and then they posted the results. Slam dunk on that one - I finished in 24:44.
I also placed 6th in my age group (20-29). And then our trip to Brenham concluded with a lime fruit bar.
Win for Blue Bell Fun Run.