Saturday I ran the Delta Dash 5k, and it was truly a race like no other. It all started when my husband woke me up Saturday morning and said, “It’s 8:30.” I said, “What?” in complete confusion because I knew there was no way we had slept that late on a Saturday, or that CHARLOTTE had slept that late on a Saturday. But yes, when I checked the clock, it was indeed 8:30 a.m.
This was a problem. Why? The Delta Dash 5k started at 9 a.m. I had approximately 10 minutes to get ready and leave the house. I debated not going, and was close to just skipping the race, but I decided to just go for it since I’d already paid for it. I didn’t have time to get nervous–only time to change clothes, put up my hair, brush my teeth, and grab some water before heading out the door.
As I drove to the race, I kept thinking to myself that I was crazy for attempting to run this race. I hadn’t really hydrated properly the day before and didn’t feel the greatest; I had only been up for a grand total of 15 minutes so I hadn’t had time to eat anything or even drink anything; and I was mentally unprepared. I always liked arriving at a race about 30 minutes before start, this time I got there just in time to register, throw my shirt in the car, and then head to the start line with the rest of the runners. As I waited for the race to start, I thought briefly to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I got a new PR (personal record) at this race?” However, I hadn’t brought my Garmin since it wasn’t charged, so I wouldn’t be able to monitor my pace as closely as I normally like to unless I held my iPhone and watched the RunKeeper app the whole race. I had no plans to do any such thing, so I had to run by feel, something I haven’t done since I got my Garmin for my birthday last October. I told myself to focus on enjoying the race and finishing in a respectable time, and before I had time to think much else, the race started!
The course was virtually identical to the one I ran in my least favorite 5k ever, back in May, but I enjoyed the run so much more this time around. I have no idea what the temperature was, but I would guess it was in the low 60s, and it felt humid to me, but I didn’t mind it. I just listened to my music and ran, smiling every now and then at the fact that I was even running this race. I hit the mile 1 marker right after 10 minutes, which made me happy, and I told myself if I could just maintain that pace, I could get a new PR. I don’t know if it was because I had been running more frequently and with more intensity recently or because I hadn’t had time to mentally psyche myself out, but the whole run felt surprisingly easy to me.I hit 2 miles in exactly 20 minutes, and then I started to think that a new PR wasn’t so out of the realm of possibility, and then I even let myself dream that I could realize my BIG goal of running a sub-30 5k. I pushed myself to run a little faster, and as I got closer and closer to the end, my mind was spinning like crazy, wondering if I would beat the PR I had just set last month. In a way, the race was more fun without my Garmin because I couldn’t look at my pace every 2 seconds. Finally, I was nearing the end and made the entrance into the back of the stadium and rounded the bases to approach home plate, where the finish line was. As I got closer, I caught a glimpse of the time clock, and I felt as though my heart almost skipped a beat when I saw that it said 29:??. I was SO CLOSE to getting in under 30 minutes. I summoned every last ounce of energy I had, not knowing if it would be enough to get me there on time but knowing that I had to try. My legs pumped faster and faster, the finish line got closer and closer, the seconds kept ticking by…
…until finally I crossed the finish at 30:04! I allowed myself to be briefly disappointed that I had come so ridiculously close to meeting my ultimate race goal, but then I had an internal party at the fact that I had beaten my previous PR by over 2 minutes, within a span of 4 weeks!
After the race I talked briefly with one of my favorite former professors, who was running his 2nd ever 5k, and I decided to hang around for the awards ceremony, on the off chance that I had placed in my age group. It was a small race, and I was really proud of my time, so I thought it was moderately likely that I had placed.
It seemed to take forever before they started handing out medals, but finally it was time. They started with the female age categories, and I was surprised to see that there was only 1 person in more than one of the age categories. I thought to myself that it would be HILARIOUS if I placed as the only person in my age group, but I also wanted a more “legitimate” placement, if that makes sense. I was in the 30-34 age group, and they announced the 3rd place finisher first. Wasn’t me. “Oh well,” I thought, “maybe next time.” Then I heard: “In second place, Erin Mount.” Without even thinking, I blurted out, “That’s me!” and practically skipped to get my medal. Even a day later I still can’t believe that I placed 2nd in my age group! Granted, it was a small race and for all I know there were only 3 people in my age group, but STILL! I got a medal! (And I felt like I had actually earned that medal, instead of the time I placed in a race with my worst-ever 5k time.)
Hands down, best race ever. 🙂