The sad thing is... it was my idea. I was emailing with a friend and he mentioned to me that he'd been running fairly regularly... but that he'd been focusing on speed, rather than distance. And since he's a parent of 2 kids under the age of 3, I figured I'd spare him the soliloquy of how increased mileage=increased speed. Hell, I don't know how someone with two young kids has the time to lace up their sneakers, let alone crank out 3-4 miles on the treadmill. So.. what did I do, instead??? I went straight to the race calendar and picked out a small, hometown (well... his town, that is) race the next week to offer up to him.
Now... the kicker for this race, was that the age group prizes weren't stupid medals or certificates or water bottles or powdered gatorade. Noooo.. they were baked goods. Homemade baked goods. I figured he definitely had a chance with his cross country background to take home an age group prize and me... well, I just wanted to see if I could still survive a 5k. And he took the bait and the next week we were killing 45 minutes at the race location because we got there too damn early.
I spent this time stalking out the competition. I didn't see any of the usual suspects of Nashville races. I knew that this race had a lot of competition that particular day. There were at least 3 or 4 other 5ks in the area that day and so I was looking forward to the diluted competition.
Before the race, I stupidly asked him about the landscape of the area... hilly? not hilly? To which he replied... shouldn't be too hilly.
I purposely didn't wear my watch. I wanted to see where I truly was, fitness-wise, without knowing that I needed to pick it up or not. My strategy? To run as fast as I possibly could for as long as I could. I didn't need to know my splits. I wanted to race based on effort.
And as I should have known... the race course was hilly. And it was hot (duh. it's May). And I'm not a fast runner. I started off with a pack of runners. And I felt like I was literally crawling. It sucked.
By the time I got to the to the halfway-point turnaround, I started thinking that I should have worn my watch. I was afraid that I was going to end up with a 35:00 5k or something. It felt like I wasn't even picking up my feet.
I tried to push it when I knew I just had a little less than a mile left... but I was running out of gas and fast. When I finally saw the clock coming into view, I realized... hot damn! I'm close to my 5k PR time! Sadly, there was not enough time at that point to actually PR, but I finished only like 12 seconds off. Which I could have done, had I known I needed to. (Sure, I ran hard, but I didn't run to the point of killing myself like I could have if I had known I might PR).
After the race, we stood around anxiously waiting for the results to be read. We talked about what baked good we'd choose, how it looked like they had way more than they needed to award the prizes. And then finally the awards came... They didn't announce times, but announced names for each of the age groups and unfortunately, my friend didn't place... I felt kinda bad. All this time, I had kind of pumped him up... making him think that he'd win a baked good.
Then they announced the women's age groups and I came in 3rd in mine! Which... made me feel like even more of an ass. Not only did my friend NOT win an award that I had practically assure him of, I DID.