After a lot of debating with the husband last night, I decided to go to Melrose Park today and race the Prodigy Run 5k. Last year, it was won in a 17:18, second was 17:32 and third was 17:58. Last year, first place won $1,000 and second and third got like $500 and $200 or something. So I knew there would be a likelihood that fast girls would show up.
I was right. The winner and second place from last year were there, plus my teammate Columba, who had just rocked a 2:51 in the Chicago Marathon five weeks ago. I pretty much wanted to just go home as soon as I saw the three of them there. But, I had already driven all the way to Melrose Park, the least I could do is see what kind of shape I was in.
This race was, um, unique. I parked in a parking lot by the village hall and a track and was then shuttled over (with Columba!) to the start line on a trolley. The packet pickup/registration was in a Best Buy parking lot area that was roped off. My name and city was just written down and I was assigned a bib number. No age or gender (though the second was hopefully obvious). There were literally three tents with registration, registration and massage. Oh, and a stage that was later used for some aerobics-style stretching.
Did I mention there were no bathrooms? Yep, not one single porta potty. Luckily, there was a Dunkin Donuts pretty close so me (and about 15 other runners) chose to use that. I then continued my warmup and ran into (and with) my teammates Dave, Matt, Jesus, Columba and Emma. We did some drills and strides and headed over to where the race was potentially taking place. We didn't know what direction the race would start or anything as nothing was marked, so we just kind of hung around.
We got all lined up...and luckily my teammate Mark yelled out that the gator (the golf cart like vehicle, not a real gator) was in the way....turns out the driver was just hanging out waiting for the race to start. The gun was in the air (to start the race), though, so I'm glad Mark pointed it out as I am pretty sure a lot of us would have run right into the gator!
Off we went....20 minutes past the original start time. I immediately situated myself with Kathryn (2nd place last year), and my teammates Emma and Columba. I told myself to just stay with them as long as I could and I might surprise myself. I looked at my watch at 3:35, as my legs were telling me to stop. Yep, just over 1/2 mile into the race and I'm ready to drop....didn't seem like it would be a good race. BUT, I hung in there....if I felt tired on Mile 2 of my 26.2 last weekend and finished the rest, I could finish this stinkin' 5k.
Mile 1--5:42. Not marked, but my watch beeped and the group looked at their watches. Not bad. Emma and Kathryn kept the even pace for the next mile. At 1.55 (halfway for a 5k), I saw my watch say 8:48 and about screamed with excitement--if I could hold onto this pace, I could run a PR!!!
Mile 2--5:43. How am I doing this right now??
I started realizing where we were now pretty close to finishing and the course could potentially be short. I made my game plan and decided to "go" at 2.80.
This would have been great....had the course been accurate. At 2.80, we made a quick zig zag type turn, during which Columba had to yell out "which way?!?!?" So needless to say, we were all a bit out of it and I didn't take off at 2.80 as planned. Columba and Kathryn did and I tried to stay with them, but fell just a little short.
Columba and Kathryn finished in what seemed to me (from behind) a photo finish in 17:12/17:13. I finished just behind in 17:15. I couldn't believe it.
...and then I looked at my watch.
3.03miles. No wonder. Teammates Matt and Jesus talked with me (and a few other runners that came up to us) about the course...and Matt and I both decided that even with it being short, we PR'd.
I later came home and went to that coolrunning.com website and tried to calculate my 5k time.
Turns out 3.03 miles in 17:15 is 5:41 pace... 3.1miles at 5:41 pace is a 17:40.
Previous PR--17:46 set while training for 10ks and 5ks
Current PR--17:40 set one week after a marathon.
Can anyone explain this? I know I got VERY lucky, but I still just don't get how that's even possible. I just ran a marathon a week ago....ALL research shows that your body takes 20ish days to fully recover from a marathon. It had been SEVEN and I PR'd in a 5k. I am still trying to wrap my head around this, but am elated that something like this could happen. If anyone has an explanation on how this is possible, I would love to hear it.
SO, overall--GREAT day. Although, really, anytime you can run with teammates, it's a great day. I'm very lucky to be part of such an amazing team--these people are just incredible (both at running and in general). Thanks, teammates, for a great day!! Here's to many more :)