Yesterday morning I ran in the Shelby Bottoms Boogie 15K in East Nashville. I ran in this race last year, so I was excited to do it a second time and to see if I could beat my time from last year.
I woke up to find it was like 45 degrees outside. I'm not totally sure how we went from 90s less than 2 weeks ago to this, but it definitely makes for better racing weather. I headed out to the race, picked up my really cute shirt and bag, and then got ready for the start. I saw a few familiar faces, but there wasn't really anyone there that I knew.
As I looked around, I realized that there is another way you can tell seasoned runners from the newbies... we're the ones standing around a start line in 45 degree weather wearing shorts and a t-shirt or tank top. I was definitely cold at first, but as I got into the run I was glad I didn't have on long sleeves and pants like some of the others.
I took off and felt pretty comfortable pretty quickly. I settled into a happy pace, trying to make sure I felt lose and that I wasn't getting out of breath. We haven't had much cool weather yet, so my lungs were burning just a bit.
When I saw my first mile was 8:34, I was kind of surprised. I didn't really feel like I was running that fast, and I wondered about hanging on to it. Miles 2 and 3 were 8:28 and 8:30, and I started to realize that I might really be able to keep it up.
Somewhere along the way, I noticed that there was another gal about my age nearby. We were definitely pushing each other, and we ended up running side by side for a bit. Had we not both been listening to music, I certainly would have said hello. Instead, I told myself I'd definitely thank her later for keeping me going.
Miles 4, 5 and 6 were more around 8:20. It made me a little nervous to find myself getting a bit faster. I still think I was unsure that I could hang onto it. I honestly think the biggest reason why I'm running so well lately and killing my PRs is because I've had some emotion/energy that I'm channeling into these races.
Honestly? I was feeling pretty good. This photo was taken somewhere around mile 6-7 ish on the course. The red shirt in the background is the one that was pushing me to go harder.
I hit both mile 7 and 8 in 8:08. I couldn't believe I was still getting faster. I was ready to be done at this point, but I knew I had to hang on for 1.3 miles. I kept pushing as we started this loop around a pond to finish out the course.
Somewhere around this time another girl who could have been in my age group (I'm not sure) went flying by me. I was a little surprised because I hadn't seen her the whole time. I definitely think she had been holding back a lot if she was able to come sprinting past me with a mile to go and end up finishing way ahead of me. I also knew that there weren't all that many women in front of me, so I figured there was a good chance I might be able to place in my age group. It's always so hard to know... so many women I see could actually be in the one below or above mine. Hard to say.
I hit mile 9 in 8:12 and was ready to stop. I really pushed myself to run the last 0.3 in 2:25. I actually mustered up a bit of a sprint at the very end, and I instantly regretted it because there was an iffy 30 seconds when I thought I might throw up.
I finally caught my breath, and before I could find her the other gal found me. We got to chatting about how we both felt like we were really pushing each other.
After grabbing some fruit tea from Calypso Cafe (yum!), I hung out in the sun for a while to stay warm. Before long, the results were posted. I had placed 3rd in the 25-29 age group, yay!
I ended up chatting with my new running pal and actually felt a little bad that it turns out she is in my age group and I kept her from winning one of the cool water bottles they were giving as prizes. I met another gal as well while we waited on the awards, and it felt really good to be able to talk to two new people and connect a bit. That's part of what I love about running.
All in all, I finished in 1:17:16, a new PR by about 3 minutes. I was 3rd in my age group, 20th out of the women (how cool is that?!) and 101st overall out of about 300 something.