So this is a bit belated, but I’ve been pretty rundown and exhausted all week, so… yeah. Not a good luck going into the Army Ten Miler this weekend, so been trying to catch up on rest.
On Sunday after a spontaneous late-night Saturday decision I ran the Safety and Health Foundation’s Monster Mask 5K. (I’m actually not quite sure whether it was Fitness Foundation or Safety and Health Foundation. This was left unclear. The website is S&H but the free water bottle I got was FF. So. Who knows.)
I dressed as Peter Pan, and the above link explains why, but suffice it to say race morning, I had Paramore’s “Monster” loaded and ready on my iPod. There was no cell phone service down by the Canal, so I threw together an emergency playlist from the only music I had actually loaded onto my iPhone instead of what I usually stream from Spotify – all Paramore. It proved to totally rock. I kicked off my run to “Monster,” hit the 2.5 mile marker with my signature song “Renegade” (I’ll keep running, I’ll keep running… whenever I get there, it won’t be fast enough…), and flew through the finish line with my favorite part of “Still Into You.” Not bad clutch throw-together last minute.
We engaged in full-on civil disobedience, running along the C&O Canal on National Park Property. The whole event was kept pretty quiet, save for the many Batman and Robin couple costumed runners walking from their cars to the packet pickup area. And save for the National Anthem played quietly, no pump-up music. As the Foundation’s Jay Jacob Wind (badass name right?) counted down, I queued up my GPS tracker on my phone, my trainer app to alert me to my intervals, and got flying.
The course was easy, I’ll not lie. I had signed up purely to do it in memory of my dog, knowing I’d feel guilty if I slept in when I had this awesome chance to recreate the vow I’d made for this year’s Halloween and how I would celebrate it with my bestest bud. I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before and didn’t care about my time. I had to run on Sunday anyway, so I figured I might as well have some fun with it.
But the course being so easy, I felt pretty good about kicking it into high gear. My first mile clocked in at under 10 minutes, and I kept it at a sub-10 minute pace for the whole race. It helped that the course was a totally flat out-and-back course. My favorite band was on my ear buds, and instead of focusing on the long stretch of flat I could see in front of me that I couldn’t break into chunks, I just focused on the beautiful course by the water. (Even if it was super cloudy and kind of drizzly.)
It was the hardest I pushed myself speed-wise in a while, to take advantage of the flat course. With each of the three miles ticking off in my earbuds as being around 10 minutes, I was worried I’d crash right in the final few tenths of a mile, but when I felt myself starting to fade, I just keyed into my music and it pushed me on.
I really admire people who can run without music, but it is such an emotional charge for me. They say running is all mental, and music is what gives me that burst of mental toughness and strength. I really internalize.
I went into this race thinking there would be no way I’d PR after staying up all night making a shoddy Peter Pan hat out of felt, and it being rainy. After the first mile, I thought maybe I could do it. After the second mile, I knew I could do it if I made myself. So I made myself.
I finished according to the race clock at 30:55, just under 31 minutes, which is my first sub-31 5K and my first time running a whole race at a sub-10 minute mile pace. The flat course most DEFINITELY helped, but I have to give major props to my ballsiness for going completely alone with absolutely no one to run with or cheer me on, and my therefore sheer determination to prove to myself I don’t need anyone to give a good performance, my rocking playlist, and of course, the thought of my puppy in my heart.
Here’s to my very own little Monster, for inspiring my best 5K to date. Next on the list – I am THIRSTING for that sub-30 5K. I think once my fall race season has slowed down, you’ll find me at the track working on speed intervals and stadium stair repeats to my average 5K race pace down to a 9:40.
Can you believe just 10 months ago I could barely run a 12 minute single mile?! Practice practice practice, y’all. It’s all about progress, not perfection.
Age group (F 20-29): 6/18