Please tell me I’m not the only one who tosses and turns the night before a race like it’s Christmas Eve? Because last night was pretty sleepless and I think my anxiety was the result of the silly (and unnecessary) pressure I put on myself to be a rockstar at today’s Rocktoberfest 5-Miler.
See, at last year’s race, I blew minds with my performance (and by “blew minds”, I mean my parents were pretty proud 😉.) I walked away with a 37:58 time, 1st place F25-29, and 2nd female overall finish. So it’s only natural to wanna prove that another year older doesn’t mean another year slower, right!?
Well unfortunately I didn’t kick off things with a great start. My alarm clock didn’t go off at 6:40am as planned, so I woke up 20 minutes late. And since I had a two mile jog ahead of me to reach the starting line, I had to scramble out the door, breakfast in hand.
Luckily enough, I arrived at the festivities at 7:40am, right on time. I still had 0.2 miles left in my warm-up run, so I jogged past the masses at the starting line and ventured away to get those last few minutes in. But just as the songs were switching on my playlist, I faintly heard a “3…2…1…” countdown in distance. WTF!? Did I seriously just miss the starting gun? In complete disbelief, I sprinted back towards the starting line and tried to catch the pack that was quickly moving out of reach. I was officially the last runner of the race and I felt like my goals for this run were shattered.
But about 100 yards into my run, something told me to double-check the start times. So I very talentedly googled the race website on my phone, while maintaining a full-fledged sprint. “8:00am 5-Miler Start”. Oh thank God! I had mistakenly joined the half-marathoners, so I came to a screeching halt and headed back towards the starting line, with my tail between my legs. I prayed that no one witnessed the circus act I just brought to town.
When the real countdown began, my adrenaline was pumping and I was more than ready to try this again. I kicked off the first mile with a comfortably-uncomfortable 7:02 pace. But for those of you who have run this race before, you know that 2nd mile Briar Creek hill is no joke. I tackled it in stride and maintained a 7:30 pace that wouldn’t totally wipe me out for the rest of the run.
Overall, I have to say that the terrain was a rollercoaster. I think I counted about five downhill stretches throughout the race. But what goes down must come back up, right? So by mile 4, my legs were quickly deflating and begging for a break.
Fortunately the final mile was a semi-flat straight shot, which allowed me to catch my breath and muster up some power for one final sprint before I face-dived into the post-race bagel display.
Finishing strong, I sprinted through the finish line and dashed over to the timing station, eager to see if I accomplished my one goal for this race: to beat last year’s time. I typed in my bib number and anxiously waited for my results to pop up… 37:59. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Two measly seconds over. The computer had to be playing some kind of cruel joke on me.
Well I guess the good news is that I haven’t totally lost my mojo. The bright side is that if I’m able to hold on to last year’s pace, then I’m still in the game. And a 2nd place finish in my F25-29 division?? Now that’s worth celebrating! Unfortunately I didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony to check out what fun prize I won. See, I had to continue trekking for another grueling 3-miles, because today’s half-marathon training plan called for a 10 mile long run. You better believe that I was counting every single step on that exhausting 5k home.
Overall, even though I didn’t earn the bragging rights I wanted for the Rocktoberfest 2016, I was super proud of my performance. I pushed through moments of pain that I would have normally slowed down for and I held my position at the front of the pack for the entire race. So what if this year’s race wasn’t a record-breaking run for me. I gave it all I had, I got an incredible workout in, and I basically got to enjoy a front row seat to the rock concert that was serenading us along the way. Rocktoberfest, you were hit once again, and now I’m going to enjoy the rest of my weekend feeling like a rockstar.
37:59 finish time
7:36 average pace
7th place Female
2nd place F25-29
23rd place Overall