Race Report: Delta Dash 5k

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. 🙂

Race Report: Knight Run 5k

That’s right, I had a race this weekend! I didn’t mention it because I was nervous about it and wasn’t even sure I would blog about it. The truth is, my running has been rather lackluster over the summer, and I haven’t run more than 4 miles at one time since my half-marathon (which was March 31). The heat of summer took all desire to run right out of me, and I used that as an excuse to slack off. Still, I’ve managed to run 2-3 times a week, even if it’s only 2 miles at a time, and I decided I needed to sign up for a race to get me back in the running groove. I picked the Knight Run 5k because it was at night, and I’ve never run a race at night, and one of my all-time favorite former professors was going to be playing in the band that provided the post-race entertainment. It was too good to pass up.

The race was scheduled to start at 6:30, so I got there around 6:00. Stephen and I debated bringing Charlotte out to the race, but since her bedtime is at 6:30, we didn’t want to risk a meltdown, so I went to the race solo. I checked in, got my shirt, took it to my car, realized I didn’t get gum (gum is a MUST for me when running), so then I went back to my car, got gum, then went to the bathroom. Good thing I got there early! I ended up running into a former student of mine from Union, and at first she didn’t recognize me because I was a lot heavier when I taught her. We chatted until time for the race to start, and I was so glad I ran into her so I didn’t have to stand around by myself. I was especially glad for the company given the fact that this race had a disproportionate amount of teenagers. This shouldn’t have surprised me since the race was a fundraiser for a private high school, but I still felt old. It was drizzling a bit before the race, and I kind of hoped it would continue because the rain had a cooling effect.

Once 6:30 came, everyone gathered around the starting line, and we were off! I let lots of racers pass me and try to settle into a good rhythm. Going into the race I hoped to get a PR, but I also told myself that it was highly unlikely given my sporadic, unfocused running of late. Instead, I wanted to focus on simply enjoying the experience. (Of course, this didn’t stop me from wearing my Garmin so I could obsessively monitor my pace, and it also didn’t stop me from setting the RunKeeper app goal pace at 10:30/mile.) It wasn’t 4 minutes into the race before I felt like I was struggling. The rain had died down at that point, and in its place was incredibly muggy weather. I had a hard time getting a good breath, so I slowed up a little. I eventually found my pace and focused on staying relatively consistent with it.

The race itself is kind of a blur. I checked my Garmin approximately 1,281 times, and my pace was all over the place in the first mile but then hovered around the 10:30-10:50 mile mark for a while. My hope for a PR remained, but even though the course was pretty flat, the entire run felt hard to me. I did a poor job of hydrating that day, so I was thirsty the whole time, and the only water station was before the end of the first mile. (I’ve never been to a race with only 1 water station!) I kept a running mental pep talk going, telling myself that I could stop to walk, but ONLY for 30 seconds. I did this at some point, and I think it really did help me pick up the pace after that.

There were no mile markers on the course, and I didn’t hear my Garmin alarm for any of the miles, so I wasn’t entirely sure if I was on track to beat my best 5k race time of 33:12. But as I looked down at my Garmin and saw 2.9 miles and saw the end of the course ahead, I had hope. I broke into an all out sprint, and I’m sure the older gentleman I passed mere feet from the finish didn’t appreciate it, but I could see the time clock, and I had to get past that finish line. I kept my eyes fixed on that clock, and I crossed the finish at 32:09, a new personal record! I beat my previous PR by over a minute! I was ecstatic.

The interesting thing about this race is that according to my Garmin, I only ran 3.02 miles. If you’ll recall, at my last 5k I ended up running MORE than a 5k (my Garmin said 3.37 miles), and this time I ended up running LESS. I’ve decided to put it out of my mind, though, because if I hadn’t had my Garmin, I would just assume that I had completed a full 5k.

I’m so happy I decided to run this race and so happy that after more than TWO YEARS, I finally have a new PR! I also placed third in my age group. Out of four runners. Ha.

Smiling in victory

Here’s my 5k playlist, for those interested. I didn’t make it through all the songs since my pessimistic self planned for 41 minutes of race time. 🙂

1.  “Take My Hand” by Shawn McDonald
2.  “Spotlight” by MUTEMATH
3.  “Me Without You” by TobyMac
4.  “Savannah” by Relient K
5.  “God Is Enough” by Lecrae
6.  “Eye On It” by TobyMac
7.  “Hurts Like Heaven” by Coldplay
8.  “Princess of China” by Coldplay
9.  “Walking on Water” by Lecrae
10. “Lose Myself” by TobyMac
11. “Sahara” by Relient K

Race Report: H&M Relay for Life 5k

I’m going to call this race The One That Got Away. It didn’t go at all how I’d hoped, but I still enjoyed myself. I signed up with the sole goal of getting a PR (personal record). My previous best in a 5k race was 33:12, set in March 2010. Recently I’ve been consistently running miles in the 10:30-10:45 range, so I had high hopes that I could beat that 33:12 time, especially since I’d run 3.1 miles the Sunday before in 32:48. In addition, the race was advertised as “flat and fast,” so everything seemed to indicate a PR for me.

The race wasn’t very organized, and the instructions we got at the starting line about where the turn-around was were slightly unclear. I just hoped that there would be people around me I could follow so I would know what I was doing. After several minutes, the race finally started. I let a bunch of people pass me, as is my usual practice, and focused on finding a good pace for me. The first mile was indeed nice and flat, and I finished it in 10:11, which is a new personal best for me. I was feeling good, if not a little warm. There were quite a few runners around me for the first mile, and then slowly some began to fall behind while others raced ahead of me. Before I knew it I was running by myself, which always seems to happen to me in races. It was around this point that I saw spray-painted on the road “5k turn,” and I saw several runners ahead of me turning there. But what I also saw was that someone had written in chalk over that and had drawn arrows up ahead to signal that the turn for this race was still a little bit up the road. So I kept going after trying unsuccessfully to tell the others that they were turning at the wrong place. There was a water station at the turn, and though I wanted to get clarification about the turn, two other women were talking to him and I didn’t want to lose time by stopping, so I turned around and kept going. I didn’t see a mile marker for mile 2 and missed the alarm on my Garmin, so I had no idea when I actually finished 2 miles but knew I had more to go. My pace had slowed considerably because there was more of an incline at this part of the course, but I was still hopeful for a PR as I made my way back to the finish line and tried to pick up my pace. I saw my pace go down to 9:48 at several points, which made me happy.

However, as I approached the finish, I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I had gone 2.8 miles and was already at 30 minutes. I was so disappointed and knew there was no way I would get a PR, and I was also confused because I was still a good distance from the finish line at that point. Still, I kept my pace good and strong and tried to finish as fast as I could. The finish line was actually inside the minor league baseball stadium, which was cool, and I saw Stephen and Charlotte right before the finish and waved and gave a thumbs up.  Finally, I crossed the finish, and someone called out my name over a loudspeaker, which I loved.

(One of the few pics Stephen managed to get while he juggled a squirmy toddler.) 

Stephen also filmed a video as I rounded the bases before the finish line. It’s cute because you can hear Charlotte saying “Mama.”

What I did NOT love was the time I saw on the finish clock and on my Garmin: 34:49. I was even more frustrated when I saw that according to my Garmin I had actually run 3.37 miles and not 3.1. I didn’t know what to make of this, and I still don’t. A friend on Facebook suggested that I didn’t run the tangents of the course, which is definitely possible, but there weren’t all that many curves in the course . It’s also possible that my Garmin gave an inaccurate reading, but it’s never been off by such a wide margin before, and the sky was completely clear and unobstructed during the whole race. If there had been mile markers along the course I could have had a better idea of how my Garmin was matching up to the course.  Only mile 1 was marked (and my Garmin was right on track with it), and then they marked every kilometer, which wasn’t at all helpful.

Average pace if indeed I ran 3.1 miles: 11:13
Average pace for 3.37 miles according to my Garmin: 10:19

6/16 in my age group
13/36 females
33/61 overall

Even though I was pretty disappointed after it was over, I still did well and didn’t walk at all. I also finished in the middle of the pack in each category, whereas I normally rank near the bottom. Plus, I got a technical shirt and water bottle with my registration, and I do love some good swag! 🙂

Now I need to find another race to sign up for so I can get that new PR!

There’s No Turning Back

I can’t undo it. I’m committed.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well, I mailed in the registration for my first half marathon! I am running the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon on March 31! (Let’s not talk about how that’s NEXT MONTH, shall we?) When I was first looking for a race to register for, I dismissed this one almost automatically because it is so soon. However, the only other race that is going to be held in the near future and a feasible distance from me is the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. I seriously considered this one, until I realized that 1) The registration fee is over $100, 2) there are THOUSANDS of people who run in the race, and 3) we’d have to pay not only for the registration but also for a hotel near the start, and there was no way I was going to shell out $300-$400 total to torture myself run a half marathon! So the Nashville half was out, and the Jackson half was back on the table. Sure, I could wait until later in the year to run in a different race (there are several in the fall), but I feel like I have good momentum right now and am ready to conquer this baby!

March 31, here I come! All of you are invited to come cheer me on. I’ll be the one bringing up the rear. 🙂