This year, like last year, I ran the Steve's Old Time Tap Chaser knowing it would not be a good time to go for a PR. The race is held the Saturday before my running club has a training run for the Quad Cities Distance Classic Pikermi (half marathon) the very next morning. Making sure that run goes well is more important to me than a random 5K.
Said random 5K makes it extra easy for you to look upon it as a good time when, at packet pickup, they ask, "Do you want a wristband for free beer?" Friends, I did not go to college for four years and not know the correct answer to that one.
I arrived for the race and immediately found a friend/fellow racing team member to hang out with. She, too, was looking to just have an enjoyable run, as she is tapering for the Flying Pig Marathon. I also ran into a bunch of women who had run the Boston Marathon earlier in the week and weren't feeling their speediest... but like me, figured they might as well get in a 5K, especially since it counted as points towards the club's circuit (award which totals up race participation throughout the year). My sentiments exactly! So, we relaxed, talked about upcoming races, and compared outfits until it was time to start.
I cranked Lady Gaga and engaged in a mix between running, people watching, and trying to think of what kind of outfit Lady Gaga would wear to go running. I think it would be a ridiculous amount of spandex in an attempt to make herself as aerodynamic as possible and might cover her entire head.
Last year when I ran this race, the short but steep hill right after the first mile threw me, but this time I knew it was coming and zipped over it, passing a bunch of runners in the process and increasing my lead using the long downhill that followed it. I love knowing the course - and knowing that there was a straightaway for about half a mile leading up to the finish line where I could begin a nice, steady surge. Last year, I missed out on an age group award by literally one second. The other woman kicked past me to the finish line and I didn't fight her. I didn't know if I was in contention for an age group award this time around, but I did not want a repeat of that performance. I focused on every single woman in the field of vision in front of me and took them down in that last half mile. Looking at the results later, none of them were in my age group (the next woman was over a minute behind me), but hey - that kind of effort never hurts, right?
Finishing time: 25:44, two seconds faster than my 5K time from the previous week at Run for Renewal. Since Run for Renewal was hill-tastic and this one was pretty flat, I was definitely running more relaxed.
I met up with some friends after the race. Although I'd grabbed the wrist band the day before, I really didn't plan on having a beer at 9:30 in the morning. But then one of them said, "Come on, let's go get a beer." How could I stand up to such a persuasive argument as that? I am not made of stone, people.
Beer early in the morning after a run is good fun and leads to your listening to a couple of fellow runners discussing their upcoming plans to get boob jobs. Fascinating stuff, and a mystery to me as to why any female runner would want bigger boobs, which would just get in the way.
Better still, last year's race was redeemed when I found out that I came in third for my age group - and scored a pint glass for my efforts. What a good way to spend a Saturday!