This morning, I ran the Rutgers Alumni Run for Rutgers Against Hunger as part of the homecoming festivities. This was a small race, only 253 runners total. The course was pretty nice, very flat, but it wasn’t well marked at all. There were some small, easy to miss signs and a person or two standing at corners where you needed to turn, but they weren’t wearing anything to make them stand out from students on campus. The roads also weren’t entirely blocked off so you couldn’t go by that either. Because of the small size of the race, it was easy to end up all by yourself for a little while so if you weren’t paying attention and looking down the road at where other runners were turning, it was easy to miss a turn. Luckily, I did not.
Since the race was so small, I made sure to start right in the very front so I wouldn’t have to run around anyone. This was also helpful since there was no sensor at the start of the race leaving you with just the gun time at the end which doesn’t take into count how long it takes you to actually cross the starting line. The first mile of the race was straight into a long gust of wind, but I powered though it as best I could at a solid pace. The wind must have been around 20mph at the time and it was taking my breath away a little. Breathing was definitely a little difficult through this and starting out that way didn’t give me much of a chance to ever catch my breath again. I just powered through as much as I could though.
The second mile was my slowest of the three. I’m not sure why, actually. I was trying to pick it up a little, but I just couldn’t breathe deeply. I think I may need to do more intense cardio training to get my breathing up to par. Once I hit a pace faster than about 7:20/mile, I start losing the ability to breathe deeply with my diaphragm and I end up with nothing but short little breaths that just don’t get the job done.
Once I hit the third mile, I started to push a little more, but as I got down to the last half mile, I started feeling the throw up feeling coming out to play. I kept steady and fought it back, but couldn’t break out into the end-of-race sprint that I generally try to do. I wasn’t able to start sprinting until the last 50-100ft. Then I crossed the finish line…and threw up. This seems to be my new thing lately. Maybe it’s the peanut butter sandwiches I’ve been eating an hour before the race?
At any rate, this was by far my best race ever. My time was 20:29 which completely smashes my previous 5k personal record of 23:07. I’m utterly ecstatic about it, actually. My goal was 21 minutes and I beat that by a good chunk of time. Very happy about this! That time put me at 11th overall. The winner was 16:51 which is a time I don’t kid myself into ever thinking I’ll be able hit, but being able to finish in the top 5% is absolutely amazing.
In addition to that, this was a fun race because of the amount of people I knew running it. I knew six or seven other runners so it was great to be able to stand on the side near the finish and cheer for everyone as they finished.
I’ve got another 5k coming up on Saturday for the Sean Hanna Foundation. It’s their third annual race and I’ve been a part since the beginning so I don’t plan to ever miss one. I’m excited to see what this race has in store for me. I don’t know that I’ll be able to beat today’s time, but even if I can come close, I’ll be happy.