As race time drew near, it started to pour outside. I had high hopes that it would keep up, so that the rain would keep me cool. But it eventually stopped, leaving us with a pocket of humidity and bugs right in time for the race. Good times.
But I was ready. The kids headed out for their one-mile run, and the first runners back were hitting 6-minute miles - pretty impressive! Then, the race-walkers headed out. There were only four of them this week, and I managed to pass two of them during my run, so I thought that was a vast improvement. Finally, it was race time. We lined up, slowpokes in the back as usual, and a woman standing next to me asked if everyone racing was a serious runner. I told her that a lot of them were, but that she wouldn't see any real competition from me. She had just come to the park for her regular run and heard about the race, so she signed up. I thought we'd pace each other throughout the run, but she was much faster than me from the get-go!
The race finally started and we headed out. I kept a slow-ish pace to start with, not wanting to push myself too hard and burn out from the humidity too early. After the first mile, I was at 10:07, five seconds faster than last week's first mile. I knew I'd have to push myself the rest of the way if I wanted to finish faster than last week's time. I dug deep for the second mile, rounded the water stop and hit the second mile marker at 20:34, MUCH faster than last week's time of 21:14. I knew if I kept it up, I would be on pace to beat last week's time at least, if not my first 5k. So despite feeling the effects of the humidity, I continued to push myself through the third mile. I alternately felt nauseous and lightheaded, but figured as long as I didn't pass out, I was in good shape!
Coming into the last tenth of the mile, I kept the finish in sight and it looked like it was just moving further and further away. But finally, I was there! Finishing at 32:03, a full minute ahead of last week's time, also a full 44 seconds ahead of my first 5k! Still a minute more than my PR, but someday, I'll be faster!
Afterwards, I was soaked with sweat, so bugs were sticking to my legs and the rain was picking up again. It didn't look like too many people were sticking around for the limited pasta, so instead, I headed out to Sonic for the first time, to celebrate with a strawberry limeade, which tasted remarkably like key lime pie in a cup - delicious! And now it's back to more week-day runs, starting with Friday!
**Update: Official results from last week put me at 101, with an official final time of 33:04.