The Ryka Iron Girl race was held yesterday in Seattle at Green Lake. The race was only open to women, and they had 434 finishers in the 10K, 775 finishers in the 5K. I was originally going to run the race on my own, but my friend D decided to try her hand at her first ever race, so it was great having company. We left the hotel in good time and found a parking spot with no issues along the lake. We walked over to the start area and opted to go for a short, slow jog just to warm up. As soon as we finished the jog I knew I needed to hit the porta potty line. I tried to catch a signal on my Garmin while standing in line, but it was taking forever.... As the time to start was getting closer and closer I started to worry that I would be Garminless on this race as it seemed so stubborn on catching that signal. I was maybe even starting to panic a little. Really...I swear...I'm not too attached to my Garmin..! Finally when we were waiting in the starting area...success! D didn't want to go out too fast, so we talked about running the first two miles together so I could keep her in check. We chatted with the runners around us, took a couple of pictures, then it was time to start. For the 10K we would be doing two loops around Green Lake. D and I hung out together as planned and pretty early on we were able to get into a good rhythm. We didn't talk too much as D was into her iPod, but it was nice having the company. After a mile in we hit the first water stop and I mentioned to D that I was going to walk through (because running seems to really complicate the whole drinking thing for me). D kept going, so I was on my own from there on out. I kept her in my sight for awhile, but I didn't want to blow all my energy trying to catch up with her, especially since I knew she was planning on ramping up the pace 2 miles in. I was wearing my "Run Calgary" - Calgary Half Marathon shirt. At one point a girl ran up to me and asked me if I was from Calgary. Yup, I sure am! She was originally from Edmonton, but now lives in Seattle. We chit chatted then went on our merry ways. I was astounded when I hit the halfway mark before 30 mins....I have never run a sub 30 min 5K before. I was keeping a really even average pace throughout the entire race (despite slowing down somewhat in mile 4...not sure what happened there....) When I hit the last 1.2 miles I knew I had a pretty good shot of going sub 60:00 for this race unless I spontaneously combusted in the final mile. I kept going, and the only walking I did was through the two water stops to down my beverage of choice. At the final turn to the finish D was waiting and cheering for me (she finished a few minutes ahead of me at 54:22) and my rubber legs found something within to go for a sprint into the finish. Not only did I go sub 60:00...I even beat that by a couple of minutes. I have never run that fast...ever. A 9:21/mi pace. 57:56 was my final official time and I honestly almost cried after I crossed the finish line. I got my medal and D and I high fived and congratulated each other. We hit the post race breakfast cafe for some bread, muffins, fruit, and yogurt and sat in the sun and watched the awards ceremony.
I have to say a big thanks to everyone for the encouragement - those who know me personally, and those who wrote it on the blog. Apparently a bunch of people knew that I could do this, except for me until mile 5. And I don't mean to get all sappy on everyone...I know it is just a 10K, but a sub 60:00 10K was my first ever running goal...and to finally have it happen after a big hiatus - and then an injury related hiatus - some 7 years down the road feels pretty good. So thanks everyone. Pictures and more trip details to come later.