When I first heard about the Chinese New Year: Year of the Dragon 5k a few months ago it sounded fun, but I didn’t want to commit to it since it was exactly one week after my Tinker Bell Half. It’s been in the back of my mind ever since, so I looked it up again on Friday thinking that it might be fun to try to run since I wasn’t sore anymore from the half. Yet again, I didn’t want to be tied down to running it, so I decided to see how I felt on Sunday morning when I woke up – if I felt like it, then I’d go.
Sunday morning rolled around and I was so tired (stayed up a little too late on Sat night) and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I laid there for about 30 minutes then decided that I should just get up and go, I knew I would probably regret not going. I got up, rushed around to get ready and headed to the race!
Sitting in my truck wasting time..
This was the first time I have ever gone to a race completely by myself and I was a little nervous. I had to get there about an hour before the start so I could register and pick up my shirt/bib. After registering I literally walked back to my car and hung out in there (it was still warm from my heater on the drive over hehe) till it was closer to the start time.
Gorgeous scenery running around Papago Park
There were about 500 people registered for the race – so it was kinda small, which was nice. I was able to start really close to the front and I wasn’t too nervous that people would be tripping over me.
While waiting to start the announcer (who looked like Bob Barker in his younger days!) was describing the course – he started by saying that he doesn’t like this course because of all the hills. And I immediately thought Oh crap, what the heck did I get myself into? I reassured myself by saying it was only 3 miles for fun :) Not sure if it helped but it was worth a shot haha.
Once we got started on the path, I realized he was not kidding. It was like a repeat of the Iron Girl 10k but worse! It was hill after hill for the first 3/4 mile. We looped around to a canal path after that and knew it would be flat for at least a little while :) At mile 1 they had a guy with a stop watch that would yell out your mile 1 time as you passed him. So awesome right? I clocked in mile 1 at 8:50, that made me feel pretty good since I just got my but kicked by some little hills.
We followed the canal for another mile, then turned around to head back towards the start area. The path was narrow, but shaded. At this point I was pretty tired but didn’t want to stop; all I could think was that last week I ran 3 miles without stopping so there was no reason for me to stop and walk little today. And there was a guy in front of me that kept looking back, like he was worried I would pass him. I wanted to stay close enough to give him a run for his money ;)
While I was running I kept thinking it was weird that I hadn’t seen any girls running anywhere around me (besides a few kids at the beginning). Strange, but I was sure that there were some so far ahead I couldn’t see them. When we started to loop back up to the parking lot there was another big hill or two – I had been mentally preparing to run something similar to what was at the start, based on what the guy told us about the course.
Lucky bib number 444 ;)
I saw the mile 3 marker and did a little happy dance, knowing that I was almost there. As soon as I got close to the finish shoot I saw the time on the clock and was seriously confused. As I passed the finish line the announcer (aka Bob Barker) said my name and time out loud…25:24!! That’s and 8:11 pace, I didn’t know I could run 1 mile that fast, let alone 3..
I got some water and snacks (it was catered by Sweet Tomatoes) then grabbed a seat under the Ramada to rest a minute. I saw one of the volunteers put up the initial list of times so I rushed over to take a look at it. They cut it off at like 24:45 (so barely before me) and I noticed that there was only 1 girl in my age group that had finished in that time. Something in me told me to stick around a wait to see if I happened to get an age division award.
Shazam! #444 at 25:24 an 8:11 pace!
I sat around for a while chatting with some fellow runners. It was actually really nice and fun to talk to new people that love running too. Runners are so nice and will talk to you about races all day long! I talked to someone who ran the RnR Vegas (super speedy in like 1:45) and another guy who chimed in and said he ran it too (and hated it). Talked to some others about Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash, and a really nice couple that are also running the Lost Dutchman in a couple weeks (they so kindly took a fun photo of me pretending to cross the finish :)) I will never be intimidated to run a solo race again!
Super cheesy fake running photo – with my time photo shopped in haha
When they finally got around to announcing the awards I was so excited and hopeful. When they called my division I was ecstatic that I got second place!! Yay! A PR and a 2nd place medal – So totally worth getting out of bed for this :) It was a challenging race but lots of fun!
As Carolyn put it: 2012 The Year of the Dragon – aka The Year of Smashing PR’s