May 25, 2008

The 3 H's

Hills, Humidity, and Heat summarize yesterday's race. I went into Jubilee City Fest 8K with high expectations. I wanted to break the state record for 29 year-olds (31:35). This pace is equivalent to my 10K time, so I didn't think I would have much trouble. I also wanted to place in the top 3 and win some cash. K and I left the house a little after 5 and drove to Montgomery. As we were finding the race start, I noticed HILLS EVERYWHERE! If you have read my previous Flying Pig post, you will recognize that I hate hills and run terribly on them.

At the start, I recognized two runners from Birmingham (my former hometown) that are SUPER fast. Both have set state records for just about every age category. I knew placing in the top 3 was going to be tricky, especially since I didn't know what other fast females might be there. The temp was well into the 70s, possibly even 80 and very, very humid. The race started and #1 female was off like a rocket. I held her for the first mile, but was fading fast. The first full 2 miles consisted of 3 steep hills. I still managed to hit mile 1 at about 6:30 and mile 2 at 13:15. I knew I was off pace for 31:35, but could only hope for the downhills. Okay, so mile 3 #2 fast girl passed me and I couldn't and wouldn't hold on. I was having trouble breathing and the hills were killing me. I decided to settle in at 3rd and deal with it. There were no more mile markers, so I have no idea what splits I ran. (No garmin that day.) The final half mile was downhill and I could still see the top 2 females, but in no way could catch them. I knew I was way off from 31:35, so I slowed down tremendously. In my mind I had given up. I knew I couldn't catch #1 or #2, so I cruised in at 32:47 and took the 3rd place prize money. The highlight of the race actually came afterwards. The fast girls asked me to cool down with them! Who? Me? Wow, of course I want to run with you! Three years ago, when living in Birmingham, I basically stalked these girls' times and dreamed of the day I could keep up with them. Plus, just being able to run with other women felt great! We did an easy two miles and realized how much I have in common with them. For some reason their times don't seem so fast anymore. I still idolize them and would LOVE to be that fast, but it isn't so out of reach.

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