Oak Park Race That's Good For Life 5k: April 3, 2011
In my mind, the Race That's Good for Life is known for three things: (1) fast runners and fast times (2) being one or two weeks after a 1/2 marathon I've run in and (3) nice shirts.
All three of those things proved to be true yet again this year.
Ryan unfortunately didn't run this year, so his dad and little brothers and I hopped into the brand new Lexus and GPS'd our way to Oak Park River Forest HS (had to include the "riding in style" part as it was mentioned frequently throughout the day).
We didn't get there until about 8:20; with my race at 9am, I was really pushing myself to get my packet and do my warmup/drills/strides. Well, I got close to 2 miles in, one set of drills and one stride. (It's hard to tell people to get somewhere almost 2 hours before they have to be--the females race at 9am, the kids mile was at 9:35, and the men's race wasn't until 9:50, so we weren't super motivated to rush to get there!)
My Garmin wouldn't load, so with 30 seconds til the gun, I just switched it to be a watch and started with the gun. Unfortunately, it kept asking "are you indoors?" so I just turned it off. I honestly had NO idea what kind of pace we were running. I was right with Meg Sullivan, Suzanne Ryan and Jessica Langford (my Saucony/DPFT teammates) and Columba Montes. After we turned the first corner, Columba gapped us a bit, and went through the mile around 5:20something. Jessica, Suzanne and I went through at 5:37/8. Surprisingly, I felt really good.
I kept pushing myself and figured I might as well see if I could catch up to Columba and see if I could get the Lifeline prize (Ryan did that last year, so I thought it'd be really cool to do that too!). I could tell she was too far away as we turned a corner, so just tried to maintain.
Mile 2 came and went (11:25)--I qualified for State! (kidding, but I do use this as motivation for my athletes) I saw a fellow DPFT teammate and he yelled out to me, "she's fading, go get her" and, as nice as that was to hear, I just kept thinking, "do you know how big of a PR I'm already on track to get? I'm pushing as hard as I can!" It was really awesome to have that support though, so thank you:)
Mile 3 felt like THE LONGEST MILE EVER! Part of the reason for that is due to the mile being mostly the same direction the whole way (with the exception of two turns) and it just happened to be that it was into the 10-15mph wind. I just stayed mentally focused, telling myself that if I slow up now, there's no way I'll have a chance of breaking 18.
With less than a 1/2 mile to go, Dave Schaefers greets me with a huge smile and load of confidence in me. If it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't have pushed as hard as I did at the end--I was exhausted! I went through mile 3 at 17:20 (5:55 mile) and knew I had to empty my tank if I wanted to break 18. I now know how Mary (one of my studs that I coach at WNHS) felt during her last 100m of the 3200 at Sectionals last year: it was as if I was running in slow motion. I knew I was giving everything I had, yet could not go any faster...it truly felt as if I had another mile or ten to go before the finish line!
As if the dragging last .1 wasn't bad enough, I crossed the first line right under 18, buuuuut shouldn't have stopped there. I guess the first mat was there so that they could announce you as you finish whereas the SECOND mat is the one you had to cross for your time. So, officially my results were 18:04. The curse of the "04's" continues (two years ago, everytime I tried to break 19, I'd run a 19:04, so it was a running joke with Ryan's family that I would always run an 04).
Columba ran an incredible 17:40 in the "cyclone" of wind that we had during what seemed like every part of the race! I placed second, my best by a lot at that race, and my teammates came in right after. SO cool to see all of that bright orange out there!!!
Jason won the Youth Mile and Alex barely got third (if the boy's dad wasn't there to yell at him to "kick it in, he's right on you", I think they would have pulled off a 1-2). Very fun race to see. Oh, and did I mention that Ryan won the Home Team Charity Race 10k? He won 4 tickets and a parking pass AND gets to throw out the first pitch with Jean Marinangeli (female winner) next Sunday after we race at Shamrock! He also will be getting Bulls and Hawks tickets with VIP treatment (we aren't quite sure what that means, it just sounds cool). Very fun day for us, especially since we went to the YoGo Station and Starbucks after--frozen yogurt is my weakness!
Regardless of my time, this was my favorite 5k I've ever run. I can't even describe how cool it felt to be running with my teammates, all of us leading 500some runners to the finish. It was just a mob of orange in the front! All of this was documented by Wendy Shulik (http://www.wix.com/wendysity1/milesandtrialsfilm), so very cool way to preview hopefully next weekend. The above link takes you to Wendy's Miles and Trials film which documents a bunch of really great girls as they attempt to qualify for the Olympic Trials (sub 2:46 marathon). If you have a chance, check it out--donations are greatly appreciated as this is mostly on her own funding currently!
Speaking of....next weekend is the Shamrock Shuffle! My teammates are all STUDS: Jean Marinangeli, Jessica Langford, Shannon Ring and Suzanne Ryan. I'm super pumped to race with these ladies and think we have a great shot at placing top three for the women's division team race.