Monday, February 10, 2014

Run Your Heart Out 5k Recap

On Saturday afternoon I laid all of my gear out for the next morning's "Run Your Heart Out 5k".  We had some snow flurries in the afternoon, although nothing was sticking.  There was a chance of snow during the night, a possibility of rain during the race.  But as the hours ticked by, the forecast was looking better, although chilly.
We woke to no rain or snow (yay), and mid-20s (boo).  At the race we met up with my brother Josh, who was going to pace me.  He helped me set my goal time of sub-35 minutes, with a stretch goal of sub-34.  While waiting for the race to start we found my friends Gina and Katy, and chatted about working at Hechinger back in the 80s.  It was a fun but brief reunion.  I also saw several friends from my running class -  Lynn, Shawn, and Kelli. 

We were lining up for the race when I saw my neighbor, Glenn.  Glenn has been running since Labor Day and has lost a lot of weight along the way.  This was his first race, and he is prepping for the Shamrock Marathon next month.  I have no doubt that he will accomplish his goal.

Before the race, Josh suggested I give him my Garmin so I wouldn't be obsessing over how we were doing.  I could just trust him to guide me and run.  Sacrificing my GPS system was a little tough, but I knew it was the right call.  Before I knew it, we were off!  No turning back now.

The next few pictures are all from the Potomac River Running Website.  They take amazing professional photos of their races, upload them super-quick, and let you download them for free.  They are AWESOME.  The photo below is at the start of the race on the track.  Josh & I are in the middle (I'm the second pink top from the left).
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)
After leaving the track, the race goes into the (paved) trails of Reston.  It is a very hilly course.  For the first mile we were caught in a densely congested pack of runners and there wasn't much room to pass.  I didn't know  how we were doing since I didn't have my Garmin on, but I now know that the first mile was much slower than Josh planned due to the crush of people, 11:44.  He made a mental note that sub-34 looked unlikely, and aimed for sub-35.

Soon the mass of runners thinned out and we were able to pass people and pick up the pace.  Mile 2 was completed in 10:33, which I did not know.  All I knew was my calves were aching and I was breathing too hard to talk much.  Josh distracted me by telling me about the to-do list systems he was currently using.  Yes, I am a geek and this was an effective distraction.  We hit a steep hill and I walked for a few moments to catch my breath.  At the top of the hill Josh started running again - he was not going to let me walk.  He said reassuringly, "just keep running." 
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

The picture above was taken just before the final steep hill, the one that brings you out of the woods and back to the high school.  I may be smiling, but that is only because I see my favorite photographer in front of me, the one that always seems to get a good shot of me no matter how miserable I feel.  And at this moment, I was feeling pretty rough.  As we approached the hill, I heard Freddy and Rick cheering us on from the top of the hill.  Josh wisely said to me, "Don't let Freddy see you walk up this hill."  As much as I wanted to walk, there was no way I was going to do it in front of my little boy.  So up we ran.  I thought I might throw up.  But I was okay. 

We reached the track, where I had less than a quarter mile to go.  I mentally told myself it was just like last Tuesday at track practice, I just had a little ways to go around the track.  We passed the 3-mile marker.  I still did not know the time, but Josh knew we were deeper into negative splits territory, having just completed a 10:07 mile.  We rounded the last curve.  I wanted to speed up but felt like I couldn't.  Josh later told me I did speed up and I just couldn't tell.  I couldn't make out the clock until we were almost at the finish line.  My face lit up with shock and elation.
(photo courtesy of Potomac River Running)

I had just run 32:56!  A PR and more than a minute faster than my stretch goal!  I was truly stunned.  I wouldn't have been able to push myself that consistently for the duration of the race without my brother's guidance.  I am so very grateful to him for helping me achieve this milestone.  I will need to make some mental adjustments to learn how to do it next time when I'm on my own.  I felt so proud!  We took a post-race celebratory picture with Freddy and Gina - hooray!



  1. Congrats - again - Kim! You were a rock star on Sunday! You've been training well and it is paying off! It was a great idea for your brother to wear your watch so you would not stress / obsess about what was on it. Great job!! So glad I got to see you (and Katy) there!

  2. Thanks Gina! Running races with you is so fun :-)