Like my races increasingly are these days, I signed up for this one due to peer pressure. (Gotta love some positive peer pressure!) My friends from Wear Blue: Run to Remember planned to run the Fort Bliss Turkey Trot, a 5k, instead of holding our regular meet-up. Stephen and I both signed up and arrived on post bright and early Saturday morning.
It was colder out than it had been for most of my runs and windy. That coupled with the fact that my running has been inconsistent since Flying Horse had me nervous! It’s interesting how running ebbs and flows. 5ks intimidate me these days! 3.1 miles of running all out is hard! Still, I felt pumped at the starting line and took off strong when the gun went off.
- Mile 1: 8:14
One of my WB friends had said that she was going to aim for an 8:45 pace. I had no idea if that was realistic for me, but I figured I might as well stick with her as long as I could. That first mile ended up being a lot faster than I expected. Jennifer (the friend I considered my pacer), was pushing the pace, so I pushed it, too. I couldn’t manage to stick with her stride for stride, but I was right behind her. I felt good. I couldn’t have gone any faster, but I was maintaining my speed.
The course was a lollipop, as opposed to an out and back, so I couldn’t see my other friends for most of the race. At one point, I was at a good angle to see Stephen up ahead. He looked like he was doing good! He wasn’t sure how he’d do, so it was great to see him killing it.
- Mile 2: 8:13
I was holding steady with Jennifer right up to mile 2. There was a water stop at the mile marker, and I debated running right past or stopping. I don’t think I need water in a 5k. On the other hand, I worried that in half a mile, I’d regret skipping it. I took a 5 second walk break to grab a water, chug it, and toss it. In those 5 seconds, Jennifer sped on, definitely out of my range. I had been a few feet behind her, but now the distance was yards.
I’m really motivated by passing people, but the crowd was extremely thinned out. That meant not many people for me to try to pass. I’m not sure I could have overtaken anyone even if I wanted to. I felt like I had really slowed down, but my Garmin said otherwise. I continued my strategy of “run till the wheels fall off.”
- Mile 3: 7:52
The last mile went by faster than the others. I was suddenly zooming through the finish line! Huzzah! Stephen and Jennifer were there to greet me, and we all congratulated each other on being awesome. (Stephen finished almost exactly a minute ahead of me. Jennifer beat me by 15 seconds, but she looked so much farther away than that!)
- 3.17 mile finish time: 25:36
- Average pace: 8:04 per mile
Not long after, our other Wear Blue friends (including Julie!) came streaming through as well. We all hung around, joking and listening to music, while we waited for the results to be posted. Shock of all shocks, I managed to get 2nd in my age group! It was even sweeter of an achievement because had I still been in the 20-29 age group, I wouldn’t have placed. Thank you 30! It’s a bummer that I didn’t get first (I was about 90 seconds too slow, which is a lot!) because that would have won me a turkey. I didn’t really want a turkey;I just really like winning things. :)
After collecting my medal, Stephen, Julie, and I hit up Taco Cabana. We spent the better part of an hour eating tacos and catching up. It had been too long! And I’ve decreed that Julie can never move. The next race on the docket is the Fort Bliss Holiday 8k. My goal is to beat my 8k time from September. Time to stop being so lazy and start running consistently!