Race Recap: Sharin' O' The Green

I held off on posting this because I was hoping for at least one race picture, but they never put any up. Bummer. Most of this was originally posted on the Hudson Elite website, but I made a few changes here. Anyway... After my very humbling run at the Leprechaun Chase 10k in Nebraska, I decided to run another race in the Colorado Runner racing series, another St. Patrick's Day race, the Sharin' O' the Green 5k in Fort Collins, CO for a little redemption.

I'm well aware that I place too much pressure on myself, and it's helping me to look back and remember advice Brad gave me a while back: "You're the only person who cares if you run fast." When he first told me that, I took offense to it, but over time I've found it actually to be very freeing. My race in Nebraska reminded me of that and helped me relax a lot more heading into the Sharin' O' The Green last weekend. Brad's only pre-race instructions? Have fun and don't be stupid.

Okay. That may sound simple but, if you're anything like me, you know that it's really not. I just made a commitment to myself to trust Brad, trust my legs, and trust my heart. The race started and the pace felt hot, so I backed off a bit and went through the mile in 5:45 - 4th woman. There were several turns in Mile 2, and I enjoyed letting my legs sort of sling-shot me around the bends. 5:40, and I'd moved up to 3rd, about 10 seconds behind my friend Heather. I could feel that the gap between us was narrowing, but I didn't want to go too soon. I thought about the workout I was supposed to do after the race and made the split-second decision not to kick. I finished 3 seconds behind her in 17:52, which is a huge improvement from when I first came back from my achilles injury, and one of the best races I've ever run at altitude. Could I have caught Heather if I had kicked? Maybe. Could she have held me off? Possibly. Heather is a very strong competitor, and I have a lot of respect for her. (But, I'm not going to stop trying to catch you, girl!)

I felt great, I didn't do anything really stupid, and I had a blast. Mission accomplished! But I honestly don't think it could've happened without the disappointment a week earlier. I know many of my teammates will agree with me when I say that, as much as we hate to have bad races, they help us appreciate the good ones. And now, I can carry that lesson with me as I head into the home stretch of training for my marathon debut!

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