Earlier in the week, Jose had been planning to go to Corpus Christi for Easter and the one thing that made me hesitate in deciding to go with him was the Resurrection Run this morning in Nassau Bay. I’ve run it every year that I’ve lived in Houston (along with the Reindeer Run that shares half of the same course in December) and it’s one of my favorite 5Ks around. I love the course, and running through the neighborhood. Nassau Bay is a lovely place and if I could buy a house anywhere in Clear Lake, I’d buy one in Nassau Bay. The streets remind me of my childhood neighborhood, and running them just makes me happy.
Turns out that Jose has been sick for a few days so we postponed the Corpus trip.
I set two alarm clocks, and it was a good thing too — one of them didn’t go off. I am jinxed when it comes to Clear Lake 5Ks. I actually left pretty early, at 7:30, and arrived at the race site a mere five minutes later. I told Jon that with a whole 25 minutes to go before the race started, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself!
The weather was pretty nice and cool, though 10 degrees colder would have been just about perfect. I really had no idea how I would run today, and couldn’t even decide whether I wanted to go hard or not. I did my first two legs of the Texas Independence Relay at about 10:25 pace, so I thought that would be a good number to aim for, but that was three weeks ago and my running since then has still been scarce. I’ve done some good biking and swimming though, and the crosstraining showed this morning.
I shot off the starting line and saw June a few strides in front of me. I knew she’d just set a PR a few weeks ago of sub-30 and I doubted that I’d be able to keep up with her today, but she looked like she was running easy so I decided to trail her for at least a while. Here I am about a tenth of a mile into the race — Joe caught me with his camera in my awesome pink running skirt.
Turns out that looks can be deceiving! June only looked like she was running nice and easy — proof that her training is really paying off. I never look at my watch in the first mile, and soon I started wondering why my breathing felt so labored, and why I felt like I couldn’t get my breathing into a regular pattern. Finally the mile 1 marker passed, and I clicked the lap button on my watch.
Holy crap! That is way too fast for my current fitness level, but at least it explains why I was breathing so awkwardly. It was right at the mile marker that Jon ran up beside me and muttered exactly what I’d been thinking: “Too fast…” “Me too,” I spit out.
I stopped for a short 30 second walk break to catch my breath and let my heart rate come down just a bit. When I started running again, I held it back just a little because I didn’t want to have to walk any more. No luck there — I didn’t hold back, and so I ended up taking a handful of additional 30 second walk breaks over the rest of the course. If I have to take more than a single walk break, it’s a sign that I’m running at the absolute edge of my ability — and I was. I was pushing hard. Even though I was looking at my watch now, I couldn’t tell exactly what my pace was because I accidentally left it in bike mode. All it told me was miles per hour, and I definitely didn’t have the mental capacity to do that conversion while running! All I know is that 6 mph is 10:00 miles.
I hit mile 2 in 10:21. Jon had pulled a bit ahead of me at this point (after I’d caught him around mile 1.5), but I still hoped to catch him again. I could also still see June, but she was widening the gap between us.
Mile 3 passed in much the same way. As I approached the hairpin turn right before the mile 3 marker, I could see June heading down the homestretch and looked at my watch. It read 29:00, so I knew she’d make it under 30 and probably set a new PR (and she did in 29:47). Jon was a few hundred feet ahead of me and stayed there, finishing in 30:36.
I hit mile 3 in 10:23 and tried to speed it up for the homestretch. The mile 3 marker is just when you turn the corner back into the parking lot of the church, and I always forget that I still have a full tenth of a mile — it seems like I should have only 20 seconds or so to go, but it always takes me just a full minute. My watch showed 1:08 for that last tenth of a mile, which seems slow because I was pushing so hard I almost felt sick — but Garmin also measured 0.12 miles for that last bit. (All in all, Garmin measured the course at 3.16 but I feel very confident that it was a true 5K.)
I was pushing hard in that last tenth to finish under 31:00, but I didn’t quite make it. My final time was 31:08, which I’m pretty excited about. It’s certainly my fastest 5K in a while. I know I wouldn’t have run as fast without June and Jon out in front of me acting as unsuspecting rabbits — though I’m pretty sure all three of us were keeping track of where the other two were. 😉
I hope to improve that time over the course of the BARC 5K Challenge this summer, but I’m not sure if that will be possible with the weather getting warmer. We’ll see. I’ll be out of town for the Yuri’s Night 5K so my next 5K will probably be the Summer Kickoff Run in League City on May 10.
I should also mention that this was my last race ever in the 20-29 age group. I finished 4th in my age group — so close to getting an award! But 3rd place was 29:00 flat, which I could not have managed, so c’est la vie. I’m sure that’s the last time I’ll be that close to taking any age group awards, since some of the 30+ women are scary fast.