I didn't plan on racing today. Nope, nada. After asking Steve what I should do instead of my planned bike for today (bike out of commission for awhile) he said if I wanted I could come do a 5K out at Wash Park today. Steve was going out to help one of my teammates, Sandy, post a great time to get into a good Bolder Boulder heat. I stayed up late last night with friends, had like 5 smores, and didn't even sweat it that I might race today. Another one of our teammates, Kirk, was going to jump into the race and help with pacing as well. It almost felt like a little pacing party this morning. Troy and Annie came along to the race, as did Steve's son, and Sandy's 4 kiddos and her brother and niece. It was a total party.
The original plan was for everyone to help with the pacing but as we got on the line to start Steve changed it up on me and gave me a new little strategy that he wanted me to attack. I admit having the game changed last minute was totally fun. A year ago I would have been MAD, but today I just got a little smile on my face and said..."I'll try until I blow up".
After the national anthem and some really touching words by Congressman Perlmutter we were off. I stuck straight to my plan that Steve outlined and this took me across the one mile point at 6:12. My first thought was that this was too fast. But I was sticking to my plan. I relaxed up, calmed down and just focused on turning over the legs, calming the mind, and let my body do what it loves. I came into mile 2 around 12:40 and felt right on. I decided to put in a surge that would hopfully pull me away from the lady I was running with and into the lead. I surged hard up a little hill and just let it come to me.
I was in the lead. It's funny the feelings you get when you are leading a race. Instead of relief, it's dread. You have this idea that everyone in the race is coming to get you. You use all your mental strength you keep your head on straight. In the lead, the work is all yours. I heard Kirk yell something at me from behind. I figured they were further directions from Steve, being relayed up the race pack. Before I knew it Kirk was at my shoulder running stride for stride with me. I stood a little taller and ran a bit harder. You see, Kirk is a bit ellusive amongst the group. He is a amazing rock star of a triathlete and one of those people that just being in his presence makes you feel fast. It was great to round the last turn with him.
I really felt like I was on pace to break 20 minutes today. That number seems to be my nemisis. I don't run 5K's too often, but when I do, I haven't broken 20. I think the last 1.15 was a little long, or maybe I wasn't flying as fast as I felt. My finish time was 20:25. I took the first overall slot for the ladies, and Sandy pulled in right behind me with the third place slot. Second went to local tri-star, just turned professional, Kylie.
All in all, I had a ton of fun executing a race strategy today. I learned a lot and this race really added to my confidence level as a competitor. Steve just keeps teaching me little by little, piece by piece. I just keep praying (or meditating) that I continue to have the clarity to absorb his teachings. I really feel like he is "raising me" in the sport and I couldn't feel more lucky for the mentorship he provides. As we warmed up he was giving Sandy all these tips, and I was just basking in the fact that I got to be there to listen as well. He really knows how to race, and he is full of many gems.
Tons of thanks to Troy as well who totally was out there for me today. I was thinking on the way home about the sense of ease I feel when I run by my husband in races. It's instantly calming. When he isn't there my whole race feels off. He adds way more than I can describe to my race experience. Just knowing that someone out there doesn't care if you stick to the plan or not, if you blow up or not, bonk or not. He could care less, he's always just there with a smile on his face, cheering his guts out while running after a two year old. I am SO stinkin' lucky.