Last week I was at a conference that had a 5K as one of the social/fundraising events. When I registered for the conference, I signed up for the 5K without giving too much thought to what it would mean to run a 5K in south Florida in late June! When the Lawyers Have Heart 10K was cut down to a 5K because of the weather in D.C. a few weeks earlier, I started to question my sanity, but I figured we would have a shady route under the palm trees (do palm trees even create shade?) or a cool breeze off the ocean.
The conference hotel was lovely.
But it was hot: 87°F when I stepped outside at 6:15 AM!
As expected, there was a small group of us. Maybe 10 runners, including 3 women, plus about 5 walkers. More people had signed up, but the open bar reception the night before took its toll.
I was a bit worried when we were told that we would be running on the beach (my calves! my plantar fascitis!) but I figured I could survive a 5K, and I was not about to back out.
It was about 7:00 AM when we started running. The clouds had moved out (darn), and while there was a breeze, it was a not very helpful headwind.
After the start I was surprised to find myself at the back of the pack of runners, but I was committed to holding a moderate pace. I really was worried about running in the sand, and knew from the brutal Lawyers Have Heart course that the sun can take a toll. The average pace readings on my RunKeeper App got faster with each 5 minute report, but part of that was because I had started it before I actually started running. I did overtake a few runners, but the one woman who I knew was a regular distance runner remained a fair bit ahead. As we approached the lighthouse turn-around point, I was gaining on her, and I did manage to pass her before we turned around. After that, I realized that I was the leading woman and might have a chance to “win.” That set off my competitive spark, and I probably pushed my pace a bit after that.
Based on my RunKeeper data, I figured I would finish in close to but under 30 minutes. I was surprised to hear the 30 min report when the hotel finish line was still off in the distance. I kept plugging along, but was really feeling the sun and the heat. (That breeze was long gone.) I had to hold myself back from running into the ocean to cool off!
As I got closer to the hotel, I passed a guy who had already finished and was walking back to cheer others on. I asked him where the heck the finish was, and he pointed out the hotel trainer standing in the sand with a stopwatch. Even though I was hot and tired, I found some energy to sprint the rest of the way. In retrospect, it seems like a silly thing to do since this was such a low key “event,” but like I said, I am competitive, even when my only competition is myself.
When I finished, my RunKeeper App said I had run 3.71 miles in 33:30. Another runner had a Garmin and that had read 3.7 miles too. I guess the hotel trainers hadn’t mapped out the course very precisely!
I picked up my race t-shirt, grabbed a Gatorade and headed to the hotel gym to cool down on the treadmill. I really wanted an ice bath, but the full power air conditioning would have to do. I think I was still sweating half an hour later!
Later on I learned that the woman I was “chasing” had aggravated a muscle strain and decided to walk most of the way after the turn-around. I’m glad she wasn’t really injured and wish I’d beaten her under more fair conditions! Still, I will treasure this victory, as probably the only time I will be the First Place Female!