Last October, I got second place in my age group at the Spirit Run 5K. I thought I finished around 36:40, which has been my personal best ever since!
Turns out, I WAS WRONG (in a good way- you’ll see). I actually finished the race in 37:48.
On Saturday morning, I ran the Rainbow Lake 5K in 37:44!
A personal best by four seconds!!
I truly didn’t realize I set a new personal best until about 10 seconds ago, so I’m still exploding with happiness!
The Rainbow Lake 5K was a challenge.
|I woke up early to stretch and take pre-run mirror pictures (obviously).|
The air was COLD.
At times, snow was falling from the sky.
And you’re running around a lake aka a giant circle, so there is that…
I went to the race with my friend and running buddy, Ryan. He was going for a personal best, so we didn’t plan on running together.
|Spoiler alert: Ryan ended up running the race in 27 minutes!|
When we pulled into the parking lot, I was immediately nervous.
I was surrounded by intense runners.
Some folks were running around the lake (aka almost the entire course) just for a warm up!!
“I’m coming in last place,” I told Ryan.
He laughed, “No you won’t, Ashley! Don’t say that!”
“No, I’m serious!” I said. “Take a look around…I’m doomed! Maybe my new goal is…don’t come in last place!”
“Listen,” Ryan said. “If you come in last place, I’ll take off all my clothes and jump in the lake.”
I needed the confidence booster.
“But that doesn’t mean you can come in last place on purpose, though!” Ryan said, probably half-serious.
I had to register that morning, so we wanted to get there a little early. When the lady asked me for my t-shirt size, I said “large or XL, please.”
She lifted up a large and said, “Are you sure this will work?”
“Well, give me an XL if you have it,” I said back, a little disappointed.
“No, no- I have a smaller size if you need it…that’s what I was asking!”
I wanted to hug her for thinking I could fit into a size medium, but I gladly accepted my size large.
After all, I don’t like running in belly shirts.
The race was pretty small (only about 200 people) so I tried to creep up toward to the front of the pack for a head start.
|I found another running friend, Jeremy!
Immediately after this picture I stepped on his dad.
Just call me Grace.
The first mile was tough.
My nose was dripping and snot was getting stuck on my face Dumb & Dumber style.
I was struggling to find my pace.
I was getting passed my old ladies and little kids.
I was miserable.
Once I reached the sign for Mile 1, a volunteer caught my eye and told me I looked great.
She told me to keep going and that I looked strong.
Her inspiration came at the most perfect time.
A few minutes later, the song Til’ I Collapse came on my iPod. I tried to dig deep and listen to the words.
‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.
That song pushed me through to Mile 2, where I found a table with cups on it for the runners.
Usually people manage the water stations, but no one was there.
Just ice water.
And I mean ICE water. When I picked up the cup and lifted it up to my face, nothing moved.
The water was frozen, but the thought was sweet and I was thirsty…so I pushed my fingers through the ice to get some water.
After taking my water break, I made up my mind to run the entire 1.10 miles I had left.
No matter what.
|Yes, my average min/mile is about 2 minutes better than my half marathon pace!
I picked up my speed the last quarter mile (hence the 9:19 pace at the end) and truly felt incredible!
When I turned the corner and saw the finish line, I saw 37:20 on the clock. I was 100% determined to finish in under 38 minutes.
And because I spoiled my finishing time earlier, you know I did finished in 37:44!
|Ryan and I after the race! He finished second in his age group for the 5K series / challenge.
I’m so proud of Ryan!
I celebrated by eating soup and watching fellow runners accept their awards.
|Nom, nom. nom!
Don’t worry- this was “pre-diet.”
The winner of the entire race broke a new course record (by ONE second) and finished in 15:18.
Yes, 15 minutes and 18 seconds.
And you know what else is incredible?
Not giving up.
Fighting through pain.
Inspiring myself during uncertainity.
Listening to lyrics to Til’ I Collapse.
And earning a new personal best / not coming in last place!