Saturday, April 21, 2012

African Aid 5k

Today, M and I ran the African Aid 5k, the proceeds of which go to provide support for children orphaned due to the AIDS epidemic in southern Africa. Last night we were getting weather reports that it would rain all day today, so upon waking at 5:45 this morning, I double-checked to make sure the race hadn't been canceled.

While it was gloomy, the rain held off. Good thing, too, because it provided truly my favorite running weather: cool and overcast.

This week left me completely exhausted. I took a nap (accidentally) from 5-8:30 last night, and then went to bed at 11. I guess I needed it, and I'm glad I made sure to catch a few Z's, because I was worried about my time for this 5k. My training this week was weaker than usual, partially because I had a low mileage week last week due to illness, and partially because of school-related things. Nevertheless, I went to the race this morning and kicked some butt.

As usual, my strongest leg of the run was the first half. At the turning point, I began to fall behind. I had expressly told M that he could feel free to leave me in the dust, and around mile 2 he did just that. I was only about 20 yards behind him the rest of the way, but I had to dig deep to make that last 1.1 strong. It helped that a kid kept running near me and didn't seem to understand personal space, so I reached deep inside to that reserve of energy I keep specifically for outpacing tails. All I could focus on was, "Don't let this annoying kid beat you." That, and, "Just five more minutes. You can survive anything for just five minutes. Finish up this torture and take a nap!"

This race had a 3-mile marker, so when I knew I was nearly there - even though the big clock wasn't yet in sight - I began my sprint. As I finally turned a corner to the finish, I saw the clock counting down the last few seconds of 28 minutes. I raced to the end, coming in at 29:04:47 (chip time), with an unadjusted time of 29:08:17. That means I killed my last 5k time by 27 seconds!

I placed 54 of 100 women and 146 of 219 runners. On top of that, I had literally zero pain in my knees and legs. I mean, I had the usual post-race soreness, but nothing caused by an injury. So basically, this was a pretty good day. M came in at 28:47, so he didn't even have time to take a photo of my finish. We did get one of us after, though:

M and I after sweating it out.
 I think running with M did help me stay at a good, fast pace and feeling strong. I usually cruise at a comfortable pace around 10:00, and his presence pushed us to the low nines for the first half of the race. I knew this time around that a pace of 6:00/km was in the 9:00/mile range and would get me across the finish line under 30:00, so I was less annoyed by the Nike+ this time around than when I ran the Fast & Furriest last month.

Now it's time to relax and enjoy the last six weeks of school while adding mileage. I'm debating running the 10k next month that I posted about before, because it's the day after my last day of work, and I know that week is going to take a lot out of me. I'd be running it alone, and likely on low fuel. But I leave for Israel in early June and want to run a race before I leave, so I haven't completely backed out yet. For now the plan is to gradually increase my mileage until I'm running 4 or 4.5 miles at a time.

And on a final note, we just got M a new pair of running shoes and I am insanely jealous. I'm planning to go try out some new shoes later today, just for fun. Shopping for running things is one of my biggest motivators!


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