When I look back on my fastest race times most of my PRs are from races I did not get the overall win. My fastest marathon (2015) was set in the Chicago Marathon and obviously I wasn’t winning that one. I finished 2nd when I ran my half marathon PR (2013). I finished 3rd in my fastest 5k (2013) and 2nd in my fastest mile (2013). My point is that competition pushes me more than when I push myself. I rediscovered this quote I had saved in my phone and thought it was very fitting for this race recap.
If I’m being honest, race PRs are hard to come by these days. They just don’t happen as often as they used to. I’ve been running and racing over 30 years and I’m 3 months away from being a Masters runner. Most of my best times were in my early to mid 30’s- 2013 if I’m being precise. I’m training just as good or better as I did then but it’s just different. It takes more work than it used to if that makes any sense. But I’m good with that. I like having goals to push myself and I know there are some distances I can still do a little better.
Going into Saturday’s 4 mile race I really wanted to run sub 25. I had run this race 4 other times but only broken 25 minutes once. I knew I had it in me but it would be tough. The 4 Mile Classic is not what you would describe as “flat and fast.” There are several rollers with with biggest climbs in miles 2 & 4. I went into this year’s race prepared and confident in my training. The weather was also a huge blessing. It was only 71 degrees at the start and felt so much cooler compared to other races I’d run recently.
My older 3 kids were also racing which always throws a maternal twist to any racing situation. Once the kids were settled at the start I focused on my race. I had certain splits in mind for each mile based on the course and I knew I’d have to work hard to make it happen.
Mile 1- 5:49 (goal pace was 5:45-5:55). I was the second female for all of this mile but I was following the lead runner pretty closely.
Mile 2- 6:07 (goal pace was 6:10-6:20). I took the lead and then we both ran side by side during this mile. I was shocked when my watch beeped and I saw the 6:07. I was going faster than I thought and so glad I made it through this hill climb ahead of pace.
Mile 3- 6:06 (goal pace 6:00-6:10). I didn’t even look at my split here or any point after this. From this point on I was just racing as fast as I could and sometimes that means not looking at pace.
Mile 4- 6:19 (goal pace 6:10-6:20). The final mile on this course is a beast and this year was no exception. At the beginning of the mile I had the lead. Then Carli got it back and then just before 3.5 I took the lead again. She took the lead for the final time after the last hill. At this point my quads were on fire and I was just praying I could make it to the finish line so that it could be over. There were a few seconds when I let myself slow down once she took the lead. As we were running down the last stretch I noticed I was starting to gain on her again but the finish line was too close. Why had I slowed down so much when she passed me the final time? Of course I’m thinking all of this while I’m trying to sprint the last quarter mile. I had forgot all about my personal time goal since I was caught up in racing.
Official Time- 24:35 / 2nd OA. (Winning Time was 24:29.)
Once I saw the finish clock I realized that not only had I gone sub 25 but I’d also crushed my previous PR by 17 seconds. I had been so focused on competing in the last 2 miles that I forgot all about my time goal. This definitely helped soften the blow of losing by 6 seconds. It also fuels the fire for future races. I know I’m capable of more and have more fight in me.
My cool-down consisted of jogging back to find my kids. I had told Anna I would finish with her but on my way back to Anna I saw several other team members and runners finishing so I was able to cheer for them. I saw Abi, Anthony, and I met up with Anna during her final mile. She was determined not to stop and walk even on the last big hill. The kids did great!
After the kids were finished and with John I was able to run a little more with my teammate Beverly. She had paced most of our teams youth runners and was a huge help.
On the drive home I looked up my previous years times and it was very encouraging.
2012- 26:21 (age 33)
2013- 25:06 (age 34)
2015- 24:52 (age 36)
2016- 25:10 (age 37)
2018- 24:35 (age 39)
Maybe getting older isn’t that bad after all… Looking ahead towards the fall and I’m excited for what’s too come. I think I can do this.