The Thanksgiving Day 5k

“I like how he always lines up at the very start, thinking he’s going to win the entire race!”

Monya giggled as the two of us jogged up to the start line of a local 5k, passing Eric and positioning ourselves a few people back from the front.  I had zero expectations on this race.  This was my 3rd official event within a 12 day period and trying to go hard in a short event within less than a two week period of my 50 miler, from my experience, was a recipe for disaster.

Eric shot me a stern look and motioned for me to move my way up the pack, clearly reading my mind.  “You have to quit this 50 mile shit before an important event like this.”

“Quit running them or quit complaining about them?”

“Complaining!”  He fired back.  Leave it to my coach to find a way to push me, even when I didn’t seem to have anything left inside me to push myself.  Ok fine… I’d give it a shot.

The race director announced the start and we were off, up an all too familiar hill.  Last year, Shannon Franklin and I had gone head to head in this race, finishing in about 24 1/2 minutes.  She had beaten me in the last half mile or so stretch. Shannon was the coach of the CrossFit Survival gang, who was out there running with us today as well.  She was a fierce athlete, but unfortunately she was down this year with two stress fractures, but of course, still there to support the team.

It definitely wasn’t a PR kind of course, with rolling hills throughout the entire event, but it did cater well to the type of training we’d been doing with the Bastards.  I felt pretty good when I started, but it wasn’t long till Monya passed, to be expected.  Then Jill, Amy and Hope passed me, all strong 5k competitors, and I positioned myself behind Hope.  She was a better hill runner than I was on the ups, and I thought if I could just ‘hold on to Hope’ I would stay in a pretty good position.

Approaching the turn around, I passed Hope and decided to gun for Amy.  I was able to catch her and started to try to push for Jill, but soon I lost speed on an uphill, Amy passed, and Hope caught me again.

I stayed on her tail the best I could and told myself  ‘if you want to pass her again, you better be able to back it up.’  I waited until the last turn to the finish line and gave it everything I had, sprinting past her, and finishing with about a minute course PR, something I don’t think would have happened that day without the line of lady Bastards ahead of me to chase.

It was a big day of wins and PRs for our entire team.  As I began to wind down and reconnect with friends, I learned about another epic battle that had taken place just a few minutes before, as Eric had sprinted past Monya only a few meters from the finish line.

The results were posted and I had placed 3rd in my division… my 3rd race award in 12 days!  I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in less than a year by training with the Bastards.  It makes me really excited to go into 2012 gunning for my first mountain 100 mile race finish.  It also makes me realize that the only real limitations we have are the ones that we put on ourselves.   When I met Hope years ago, I never in a million years dreamed I would be racing at the same level she was in an event like that.  Yesterday was truly an honor!

I said goodbye to my friends, but not without beginning the banter for next year’s event.  “You and me next year, Shannon, right?”

She smiled.  “You better believe it!”

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon Franklin November 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm

:D You’d better believe it!! I LOVE your spirit, Summer. Well done on your 3rd win in a few weeks, and way to push hard. See you soon in the line of battle, and we’ll both be better for it.

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race4901 November 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Shannon, when you have healed and you are ready… the two of us will pace each other to new 5k PRs. That is my promise to you!

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Teto February 21, 2012 at 4:37 am

Thanks Caitlin for pitsong this info about preparing for race day! I’m still getting everything organized for Saturday. I’m nervous but very excited I’m going to keep in mind to just have fun .

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