The first race, the women only Saturday in the Park 5K, was at Holmdel Park. I had ran part of the course the prior weekend and knew it was gonna be challenging. It didn't help when multiple friends told me, "that's the toughest 5K course in the state." I nearly backed out and had my friend who did the race with me not said she was going to do it, I likely would have.
That said, I labored along the course - uphill the first 1/2 mile, through the woods, navigating the mile from hell known as "The Bowl", and downhill the last 1/2 to a finish in the field. I wasn't the last, nor did I get the sub-45 time I had been chasing, but with an official time of 0:46:09 I knocked about 3 seconds off previous best (0:46:12 Asbury Park 5K).
On a whim earlier in the week, I registered for the Pier House 5K in Long Branch. After the rugged terrain of Holmdel Park I was looking forward to a flat course. However, coming on off a run just two days earlier, I didn't have any expectations other than crossing the finish line upright.
I've learned to pace myself now - rookie mistake I made the first few times was going out too fast. I decided to take it easy at the beginning and save my energy for the back end. I swear, that first mile seemed like it was the longest mile ever, but when I the clock showed me I was at a sub-14 pace, I started to believe that sub-45 time might be doable.
I continued to run/walk the second mile at a comfortable pace, and by the time I got to the two mile mark, the clock was just over 28 minutes. At this point I really started to get excited and determined I would do it.
I spent most of the last mile of the course trading places with a woman I'd seen in the AP 5K. I was determined that I wasn't going to let her get ahead of me this time. I was going to cross the finish line ahead of her.
As we made the final turn, she was right beside me. She made some comment which I acknowledged and then I turned it on. I run without my glasses, so I couldn't quite make out the number on the clock. As I got closer, I was able to focus -- holy cow! If I push myself I can get a sub-43 clock time.