I think I owe the girl who took my shift at work on Friday some cookies or something. Because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have FINALLY raced a kickass PR on a course that I 100% know wasn't short. I mean, they were running a high school sectional on it immediately afterward, and there were actually lines on the course this year to tell you where to go to the finish...there was nothing screwy. So, here we have it, my new 5K PR....
20:46!! That would be 6:41/mile pace. Yeah, I kick ass.
It's actually kind of funny, because the day leading up to the race was nothing exciting...in fact, I felt kind of sick and exhausted when I woke up, not at ALL in the mood to race. I had only run 3 miles on Thursday and 4 on Wednesday since my hip has been in agony ever since our ridiculous hill workout at Pope Farms on Tuesday. Plus races on Friday are just weird to me now...in high school it was so normal to have a meet on a school day, but now its like WTF? It throws my whole schedule off. And on top of that, I had to drive to Winneconne...driving being one of my least favorite things to do, especially before a race. After managing to not fall asleep at the wheel or get lost, we arrived and found out that the meet, which was originally supposed to be $10 each, was going to be free because Oshkosh had a HUGE meet the weekend before and didn't feel like getting chip timing for this one, which is basically a JV race for some of the WIAC schools. Everything was kind of low key, and I think because of that I never really felt nervous at all. There was kind of an underlying pressure to do well, because I mean, I'd made a really big effort to go to this meet, and I really wanted to validate my time from last year, but I guess I just really wasn't in race mode until the gun went off.
A side note to explain about Oshkosh's home course - if you are going to run a PR, this is the place to do it. Its the flattest cross country course I've ever seen...there are a few "slopes" I guess but no real hills to speak of. Its all on grass and it just loops around so you really don't think while you're running it...all of a sudden you're just done. It's amazing and I knew I had run a fast time here last year (even with the course most likely being short) and I was hoping that despite the problems I'd been having that I would be able to pull out a good time today.
I spent the first mile of the race about 5 seconds behind Katie....who ended up running a 19:36. Brilliance? I know, right. I honestly was pretty zoned out for the first mile - I ended up coming through in 6:19 and felt awesome, although obviously I know that something that good was definitely not going to last. But just like at Lacrosse, I really RACED...it was kind of fun having it be a smaller race, because I could just gradually reel people in and pick them off...and I greatly enjoyed doing so. The only person who passed me the entire race was Cameron, other than that I was just the passer, not the passee...which is awesome. I went through the 2 mile at 13:17 so obviously I had slowed down a bit, and I knew I was really going to have to dig in for this last mile to get under 21, since the last mile is where I always die. And for once in my life, I did. I was hurting, yes, but I absolutely refused to slow down. The entire last mile the line from "Swim" was screaming in my head..."I'M NOT GIVING IN"...and every time I felt like I wanted to back off a bit I just looked at the girl in front of me, dug in, and kept pushing. When I finally saw the finish line, I just gave it everything - there was no clock at the finish so I honestly had no clue what my time was until I looked at my watch and saw those beautiful numbers - 20:46. And life was glorious. I ended up getting 11th out of 37 runners, basically I was thrilled. It was an awesome day, made even better by the fact that now I didn't feel obligated to race on the death course at our home meet on Saturday, and so could go out to the Blue Moon and enjoy a giant cheeseburger and broccoli cheddar poppers and Capital Brewery Oktoberfest. Win.
My hip KILLED on Saturday...it was very unpleasant. I went and watched/helped out at the home meet, BF and I 'worked the corner' of the course and watched everyone braving the ridiculous death hills of Pope Farms Park. The night that followed was fantastic, there was a track club drunken shindig, we adopted the Minnesotans, and I enjoyed more than my share of victory beer...not that it prevented me from going and running 12.5 miles this morning or anything. Sometimes I feel like there is nothing more wonderful than a long, easy run on a gorgeous fall day, through trails where the leaves are changing colors, next to a lake, after an awesome weekend, when you had a blast the night before and magically aren't hungover. And the best part was, my hip has been bothering my less today than it has in a looong time. My calves are super tight and sore for some reason, but the hip is feeling ok...crossing my fingers that I'm finally on the road to recovery!
So I have been looking at the NIRCA rankings/results, and I think our girls team might actually have a shot at placing really well at nationals too. With all of our top runners together, I think we can really do some damage...and I'm looking forward to it!