Tuesday, March 5, 2013

2013 MPZ Stampede

Saturday morning it was (once again) snowing.  I became momentarily fascinated with my footprints on the driveway and took this photo... then realized it was really similar to the logo for the Miller Park Zoo Stampede, for which I was preparing to head out and run!  

I packed up my pre-race PowerBar, a big bottle of water, and my coffee, and bribed my dear husband to take some quick pics before he headed off to work at 7:30am...

Of course Coty got in on the action!
The race didn't start until 10am but I had read somewhere (or maybe I read it wrong...) that packet pickup would be ending at 8:30, so I got there shortly after 8am... really early for a 10am start, but I sure had plenty of time to get ready!  I got my bib & shirt, then went back to the car to warm up and finish my coffee. When I came back in, I found my friend Peg and chatted with her for a bit.  About 9:30 we decided to walk for a while and get warmed up.  We ended up at the start line with still about 15 minutes to go, so we used that as a photo op (see below for "before" and "after" - we had a similar photo op last year!) and then I headed off on my own to jog for about 10 minutes and get loose.

Peg & me, last year's MPZ 5k.

Peg & me, one year later!
 It was preeeety cold, but 10 minutes of jogging did the trick.  My legs felt loose and strong, my bruised thigh muscle wasn't giving me any guff, and me knees were good, too!

I kept looking around for my friend Cheryl but once again I knew she was there and never saw her.  I swear that girl wears an Invisibility Cloak at races!!

Finally, at the appointed time, the gun went off!  I had lined up way at the back of the pack, which was a bit of a misstep, as I had to do a lot of jockeying for position with other runners / trying to pass people during the first 5 minutes.  Annoying, but I wouldn't say it slowed me down much.   That may have even been a good thing, since on race days I have to guard against going out too fast.

Mile 1 felt great... I was wearing my iPod and it was just 3 songs (better known as 11:04)
Mile 2, still going strong, didn't even have an urge to slow down or take a walk break.  Now that I KNOW I can run over 3 miles without a break, I certainly didn't want to take one during a race...  A little slower but still solid:  11:44
Mile 3... hit a couple more rolling hills, they weren't bad, not really, but in Mile 3, a lengthy but slight incline still feels like an obstacle.  Near the end, on the last of those small hills, my body (my mind?) (something) wanted to take a walk break.  The guy running next to me at that point may have thought I was losing my mind, because I just suddenly started speaking to myself.  Yelling, perhaps.  Nah, just firmly talking myself through that moment of doubt.  It went a little something like this:  "No.  Nope.  No way.  Why the hell would you want to do that now?  You're almost done and you know DAMN WELL you can do this.  You don't need a break.  Shut the hell up and pump those legs!  You're strong, you're fast, you're light as air.  Move your ass!"

So I got through that, no walking. With about a hundred yards to go, I pulled out all the stops and did a dead sprint to the finish line, where my friends Meg and Robyn were working as volunteers and cheering everyone on!

We've been over this:  ultimate goal for the year is a 35:00 minute 5k.  My official personal best was 37:18 last October. I have an "unofficial" best from a few weeks ago of 36:12.

Official results for the race can be found here.  I was # 237 overall out of 323 participants.  The race was not chip-timed, so I crossed the finish line 10 to 15 seconds after the official clock was started.  My official time was 36:06 - a record on its own, but I'm sticking with my Garmin time, which I started as I passed that start line.
Can I make this photo any larger??  No, it turns out I can't.  We'll just have to live with it this size.  :-)

Hell yeah, 35:49!!

Needless to say, I'm very happy with the results!
I'm really proud of myself and that 35:00 goal is SO within reach this year!

Here's the Garmin chart of distance, speed & elevation.
Full Garmin stats here if you're interested.
Check out that sprint speed at the very end!  Garmin "says" I hit better than 7-minute mile pace (for a second, at least!)

For comparison (and because I'm a bit of a stat-nut) here is some data about my performance in last year's MPZ Stampede:  #303 of 326 (this year #237 of 323!!), official time was 41:07.  (Yes, I actually had to re-check that - it was over 41 minutes, just one year ago!), # 27 in my age group, pace over 13 minutes per mile.  This year I'm #17 in my age group, pace just under 11:40 per mile.

I have some more to tell you about the day, and the rest of the weekend... but it's bedtime again, so let's see if I can get another post together tomorrow night.

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