This post comes to you from the cozy kitchen table in my parents’ house. Family has come and gone. Pie has been consumed. I played with a baby.
But let’s go back a few hours, shall we?
This morning, Campbell’s gathered in Andover, MA for our annual Feaster Five Race.
Uncle Kev, Meg, Me, Erin, Dad
Missing from the above photo is Uncle John. By the time this photo was taken he had already made his way up to the front of the pack, to get a prime spot for the start. AKA – he’s fast!
The weather this morning was beautiful: sunny and 30ºF (jacket weather!). We made our way up to the start.
As the Feaster Five is an annual tradition for lots of local folks, it is alway very crowded. It is just a given that you will be crossing that start line a few minutes into the race.
When we finally got going, Meg and I said goodbye to the rest of the family (5Kers) and made our way towards the right side of the road with the rest of the 5 milers(!!!!!).
I went into this race thinking that I would be running it solo. Meg and I were the only ones in the fam signed up for the 5 mile and she’s very fast and has lots of experience under her belt. She’s run two marathons. She has a tattoo to prove it!
Despite this, Meg said she wanted to at least start the race with me, so off we went; chatting and weaving in and out of the walkers, strollers and dogs. We made our way up the big hill that is trademark for the beginning of the race, and before I knew it, we had dominated said hill and were passing the first mile marker.
As we continued, Meg and I kept talking and maintaining a steady 10ish mile pace. And just like that — we passed mile marker number 2.
Somewhere at this point, I began to feel a cramp creeping in to my lower left abdomen, and I started to panic. I warned Meg that I was probably going to have to walk soon. She said that I just needed to suck my abs in tight and focus on my breathing and she promised that the cramp would be gone by the next mile marker.
My crazy mind was skeptical of Meg’s words. “Trickery!” it exclaimed to me. Sadly, I fell victim to it’s antics and during miles 2-4 I stopped to walk for a few seconds here and there, trying to get rid of that cramp. I told Meg that she should really take off and run ahead. I didn’t want to drag her down. She kept refusing and stuck with me through those two harder miles, offering words of encouragement.
Towards the end of mile 4, we both realized that maybe my problem was that I was focusing too intensely on my breathing and the cramp and she started chatting my ear off about anything and everything, to distract me. And you know what? It worked! Although I knew the cramp was lingering, I was too distracted to freak out, and was able to settle into a nice groove.
As we passed the 4 mile marker, Meg told me that this is where we were going to “pick up the pace a bit.” I told her that it was “much too soon for these thoughts.” She came back with “that is not the mindset of a marathoner!” To which I yelled “I AM GOING TO BURN OUT TOO SOON — YOU ARE PSYCHING ME OUT!” She replied that it was “all in my head.” We ran on.
As we rounded the corner to the finish, Meg said that we were going to kick it to the end. With the finish in sight, I thought I’d give it a go. I began to sprint, but the finish was a bit further than it had seemed and I began to feel nauseous. I slowed down to grab a breath of air. This is when a photographer snapped a pic. Awesome.
Despite my brief struggle, I picked it up again and crossed the finish line sprinting, with a smile on my face.
The clock at the finish read 58:something, so considering the time it took us to actually get to start line, I was really hoping that my actual finish time would be under 50 minutes. This made me very happy.
Meg and I found the rest of our family and went to grab water and claim our prizes. Apple Pie for all!
Later this afternoon, results were posted online. Here are my stats:
Actual finish time: 51:45. Pace: 10:25.
This is a 3 second improvement from my 5K pace (10:28). Considering I added two extra miles on to the run, I should be proud!
To be completely honest: I am feeling a bit bummed for two reasons:
1. I felt like we had run really well and fast and I was hoping for something closer to a 10 min/mile pace. The 10:25 pace is a good one (especially compared to my most recent work outs!) but I had spent the day thinking I had run it a bit quicker, so the actual results were sort of a let down.
2. A few hours after the race my right knee started to really bother me. I am currently icing it and hope that the pain calms down by the morning. I’m not sure what caused it at all — I felt really prepared for this distance. Maybe I’m overdue for some new shoes?
Despite these two things, I am mostly really happy with the way the Feaster Five went.
I felt so grateful that Meg sacrificed her race to run alongside me. I would not have finished with the time I did if I didn’t have her motivating me along the way. Thank you Meg! You rock.
I also learned how much I love running with another person! My morning runs are always solo and that gets kind of lonely. Having Meg to chat with along the way took my mind off a lot of the negative stuff and made the run fly by. Note to self: time to find some running buddies!
And now, my friends, I am exhausted. Time for some much deserved sleep.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!