A revival race?
As racing has taken a back seat this year, I've lost a lot of interest in my personal performance. While I've had my share of fun and enjoyed the thrill of helping my sister get to two PRs, personal goals for me just haven't important.
Earlier this month I thought about signing up for the 5-mile turkey trot near my in-laws' house in Ohio. I brushed those thoughts aside until last week when I thought about it a little more. Then, finally, I signed up on Monday.
With the weather forecast full of snow, cold and wind, I figured I'd have another race to enjoy the experience and walk away satisfied that I ran something a little faster than a run through my neighborhood.
I took the approach to the start of the Warren Kiwanis Turkey Trot pretty casual -- with not having much cold-weather running experience lately, running at just under 20 degrees was a bit of a shock to my system. In the first mile I noticed my Garmin acting up -- before the race started it kept returning to the home screen -- so I just turned it off and put it in my pocket.
I hit the first mile in a clock time around 8:45. I was probably about 20 seconds back from the timing mat at the start, so I was pleasantly happy with the first mile.
At mile 2, the clock read 16:45. I at least knew I hit that mile in 8 minutes. I had a lot going through my mind more than usual -- could I get under 40 minutes for this race? Could I stop feeling like crap at the end of a race? "Finish strong" hasn't exactly been my power phrase in the past year.
I don't remember what mile 3 read, but I hit mile 4 at just over 32 minutes. I knew that another 8-minute mile would get me to a sub-40 minute chip time, but I really wanted my clock time to read under 40. I felt like I was just making up goals with every step, but it was working.
I picked up the pace to get to an uncomfortable level. For the first time in a long time in a final mile, I truly felt confident about my performance. I got in a zone I haven't seen in more than a year. I really felt like I could have easily kept that pace for a few more miles.
When I glanced at the clock at the finish, I saw 39:40. I think. I know it was under 40 minutes. I have to wait and see what my chip time is, but it'll be closer to 39 minutes.
To be only a little more than 2 minutes off my PR at this distance in the shape I'm in and in this weather, I walked back to my vehicle completely satisfied.
If I use this as a baseline for improvement for 2014, I can't wait to see what happens when I put more dedicated effort to training for something.