So when I first signed up for the Firecracker 5K, I pointed to it as my sub 7 race. And it probably would be in most cases as the course was advertised as being flat and fast. However, as the day approached and the weather forecast looked worse and worse....well meh. 92 and a heat index of 100 at 5PM....it became more of a war of survival than anything else. I quickly changed my goal from sub 7 to beating my current PR of 22:10. And anything further would be a bonus given the conditions. Sponge, Harrier V, and AB also came out for the race.
So 5PM came and we were off to run the streets of Massapequa Park. I just told myself to run hard for ~22 minutes and it would all be over...how's that for psyching yourself up for a 5k:-p AB and I kept pace for the first mile or so and I thought things were great. I was hoping she'd be able to help me keep at my goal. I clocked in the first mile somewhere around 7:02-7:05. Not bad and ahead of the new goal pace. But man was it hot and relentlessly humid. The second mile would be my undoing however. About a quarter of a mile into the second mile, we hit a dirt parking lot. Upon my first few steps I apparently let out an audible laugh of sorts because a) I felt like I was going to slip and fall (as many others did too I heard later) and b) we were running into a nasty headwind at this point. Great. This is also when you started to see the walking start....NO NOT ME!...but quite a few people around me just stopped. AB also dropped off so it was up to me to figure out just what I was running. Not sure on my exact mile 2 split but I believe it was a disappointing 7:25-7:30. Mile 3 I tried to run harder,,,which I thought I did...as I started to pass a lot of people. As I hit the mile 3 marker (no idea), I heard Sponge but was determined to just hit whatever jets were left to get to the finish line. I knew my sub 7 dreams were dashed as was my PR. However, I was determined to finish out strong. I crossed the line in a respectable 22:30. Given the horrendous conditions, acceptable. It also just makes me hungry for more. Even more disappointing was knowing I came in 4th in my age group..grrr! And Harrier V also came in 4th in her age group;-)
I must say that Long Island races are nice....they had ice pops, oranges, watermelon, peaches, soda, cotton candy, and popcorn at the finish...but also wet wash cloths! That was like a gift from heaven. And as an added bonus, a local restaurant was giving out free pasta. All for a $15 entry fee! And as an added bonus, we were treated to an awesome lightning storm while waiting for the LIRR on the platform. As AB stated "Textbook lightning!".
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I try to take at least one thing away from each race. Now that I'm 2 years into racing, I can't realistically think I'll PR every race (it would be nice though:-p). So what did I take away from today? Even with a mediocre second mile, I came back and pushed the 3rd mile. I didn't let the heat completely beat me. I also ran a full minute faster than that disaster of a 5k back in March. If I'm going to PR or sub 7, I'm going to have to beat the heat as that's what happens in the summer. I also need to learn that walking 5+ miles the day before a race is probably not in my best interest:-p However, it was worth it for the breathtaking views I got of the sunset from the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn bridge..see photo to the right...more photos to come.
So the Mets run to Homeplate 5K is on the schedule but Sponge has talked about finding more 5ks in the area...hmmm...so tempting...