Friday night, Jeff and I each had dreams about running. Jeff dreamed I ran Saturday morning's 5K in 29:15. I dreamed the race ended in a cave — and the last 100 feet was a progressively slim crevice. All the runners were squeezing themselves through this tiny crack in a dark, slimy cave in order to reach the finish line. I kept looking around, annoyed and confused, but no one else seemed the least bit phased by the spelunking angle the race had taken. I remember it getting darker and darker, and I looked over to see race volunteers giving out headlamps instead of water. And I woke up.
Needless to say, I was hoping Jeff's dream would set the tone for the day, rather than mine.
Still in search of an OFFICIAL sub-30, I convinced my friend Jennifer to meet me at the Goshen Gallop this weekend. Small race, good cause. My favorite! Proceeds benefit the Goshen United Methodist Church.
We found it with no problem, checked in, and warmed up. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and I was feeling good about the race. After a few minutes of milling around, people started heading toward the start line so we followed. Usually there's quite a bit of talking and nonsense before the start gun, so I wasn't really paying attention.
You see how everyone is facing the front, paying attention? Yeah, look closely at the left side of the picture. Right behind the guy in the green shirt you can see me in my crazy pink shorts and pink shoes. See how I'm facing the other way? Yeah.
About two seconds later, the gun went off. I was startled and didn't really have myself together so I just took off! I felt like I was running from a wild animal – jerky and way too fast and not really even in a straight line.
There I am. Still in a daze and trying to pull myself together. If you recall from the first picture, I started on the other side of the road. I'm surprised I didn't trip anyone while I zig-zagged all over the place in the first 20 feet of the race.
After the first half mile I settled down a little, but I still felt fast so I just went with it. Jeff and I had already made plans to celebrate the 29:15 from his dream so I made a note of the pace I needed and I pushed through the rolling hills of Goshen in the nice cool air to make it happen.
Mile 2 is always the least fun and there were a few hills, but I was still ahead of my pace so I felt good. Around the 2.5 mile mark I started to see the finish line up ahead and I thought I saw Jeff's red shirt. I got closer and looked down to see 2.75 miles on the Garmin. What? That can't be right. I thought maybe the course had been measured too short and I was bummed that my time wouldn't really "count" since it wouldn't be a full 5K. I got closer and closer to the clock and was almost laughing at the time it read. I remember thinking, "If only!"
25? Maybe someday…
So I got past the clock and stopped running. End of the race. Right?
I punched the "stop" button on my watch and looked around for Jeff, and as I glanced over my shoulder toward where he'd been standing, all I saw was him waving like a madman and mouthing the words "GO! GO!". Only THEN did I look around and notice the runners ahead of me on the road. Ahh! So there was a perfectly logical reason for the course being "short"… Good grief. I punched the Garmin again and set off to finish the last quarter mile of the race.
My mojo was a little depleted seeing as I'd already mentally "finished" my race, but I ran my little heart out to the REAL finish line anyway.
I'm sure it's not that uncommon, but I hadn't done a race with a false finish like that before. You pass back through the start line, up the road for one more loop then back to the finish. Whatever you have to do to get the right distance, I suppose.
I ran over to Jeff to laugh about what happened.
Am I the only person who did that? (Desperately hoping the answer was, "No, pretty much everyone did the exact same thing!")
BUT THE BEST PART! Even WITH my weird delay at the "finish" line, I ran a sub-29!
See the clock!? 28:38!
Official results haven't been posted online yet. (Don't these people know I have a blog to write??) But here are some more unofficial results from the Garmin:
28:22! (Of course, this doesn't count the time spent awkwardly standing around at the "finish line" with my timer stopped. Apparently, that lasted about 15 seconds…)
Any way you slice it, this was a huge personal record for me. I've been struggling with 30 minutes and my fastest official record was 30:10 UNTIL NOW. I suspect the weather had a lot to do with it so I'm looking forward to some faster times as it cools off this fall and gets a little easier to breathe.
We cheered in the rest of the runners and headed over to the Awards Ceremony. Jennifer won a door prize while we waited for the awards to be tallied.
And wouldn't you know it, we both placed 2nd in our age groups!
I almost don't want to look at the official results because I'll probably see that the girl who beat me did it by 15 seconds…
Every race I run, I learn something. I've learned about what to eat for breakfast and what shoes I like to wear, how to pace myself and how to drink water out of a little paper cup while running. But I never thought I'd have to run a 5K to learn (the hard way) to PAY ATTENTION. From start to finish, this race was a bit frazzled, but it all turned out for the best with a big new personal record and a fun morning of running.
Thanks for a great race, Goshen!