Race day excitement lives in memories. I wasted a lot of energy releasing pre-race expectations – my own as well as others. Each time the 5K was mentioned I retorted how quick it went last year. I ran away from the cameras. Confidence didn’t get an invite to this party, instead doubt took its place in spades.
The race was 4 1.25 kilometer loops. $300 to the person around loop 1 first, $1000 for crossing the 4th in first; double dipping allowed! I’m not usually one to tear the first half; I’m conservative and tactful. I prey on the over-zealous and propel myself with energy I steal zipping by competition in the final meters. But, usually there isn’t a prize for uneven splits and I’m not as stuck in my ways when there’s cash on the line. So, I scoped the scene. There weren’t many girls on the starting line and no one I knew. I made a few remarks like “don’t you have to finish the race under 20 minutes to win the first lap prize money?” even though I knew it wasn’t true. The 5k seemed to be packed, neatly, in my bag already, but, could I win the first lap if someone sprinted for the $300 and then still hold on for the overall W?
One girl flew off the starting line. I stuck behind her, hoping she would slow if another chick wasn’t threatening for the cash. But, by the time we rounded the second turn the crowd was screaming ‘go red shorts!’ I got swept up and flew ahead like I was an Olympic champion amongst mere commoners. Until crossing the first lap; then I slowed significantly and coasted for a while regaining my energy for the finish. The crowd still adamantly yelling ‘go red shorts,’ pounding beer like at a baseball game, I gave them what they wanted and picked the tempo back up on the final lap, literally bumping into an old Wake Forest teammate. I crossed the line in the 16:40’s grossly ahead of 2nd place.
Was it stellar? No. Was it close to my PR? No. It was momentum towards where I want to be. Baby steps…