On Sunday, our Team Challenge ran the 7th Annual BNHC race at DW Field in Brockton. The race route is just about 3.75 miles or 6K. It was a perfect race day: cool, slightly overcast, no wind. It was also National Pretzel Day and Marc the race director (and my Team Challenge coach) embraced the theme! I love EVERYTHING pretzel so I was pumped.
I got to the park early and found parking no problem. I then met up with some teammates at the registration booth. Team Challenge members who have raised more than $1,000 receive a great team tech shirt! I was happy to receive mine so I could wear it during the race. I was also thrilled to see my number was 177! Not only do I prefer odd numbers (much like one of my favorite bloggers), but anyone who knows me knows my love for 7 (or 77, or 777). Remember 7/7/07? That was my 27th birthday. Anyway.
The BNHC 6K is a smaller race with about 100 participants, so there was no chip timing or anything like that. We all started at the same time and faced a big hill right at the get go. It was tough getting up it, but I was running with my friendly teammate Kaitlyn and coach Lori and we talked our way through it.
After the hill I felt pretty good, so I sped up a little and turned on my music. The rest of the race was much flatter with a few rolling hills. I ended up passing a couple of my teammates and tried to keep coach Lori in sight. Every time I glanced at my watch, I saw a wildly different pace. 7:51, 9:34, 8:27. I was all over the map!
The race route was not closed to the public so every now and then, we encountered some non-racers. It was no concern, as the course was never too crowded. It was definitely a different experience than the BAA 5K, which was elbow-to-elbow the whole time!
Just before the 3 mile marker, I saw my coach stop and pull over to the side. When I caught up, she ran a long side me for a little bit and encouraged me, telling me there was only one mile left. Then she added, “I think there are only men in front of you!” I was pretty surprised! I started pushing a little bit and planned to gun it as best I could with 0.25 miles left. I ended up passing two men along the way. Sorry fellas.
As I was coming up to the finish line, I saw a woman jogging ahead of me. I had no idea if she was a racer or a non-racer, but to play it safe I sped WAY up to make sure to pass her. I’m pretty sure she was not in the race but I’m glad I had enough juice for a final push.
As I crossed the finish line, I did not even see the clock at the end. I just stumbled around a bit and grabbed a water bottle from a nice volunteer. She told me “You’re the first female!” Of course I didn’t believe her. I’m not a race winner! I race for beer! I am an “everyone gets a medal” participant!
But sure enough …
I actually WON a road race! My official time was 31:28. I came in 13th overall and 1st overall female. I still can’t believe it.
I normally do not compete against others when I’m running. I usually just try to beat my own time. I’m so happy with this victory because it is the product of good training and determination. This is going to be ENORMOUS for my confidence when I am in the half-marathon. Any time I feel like I cannot go farther, I can remember the feeling of booking it to the finish line to win.
At least, here’s hoping!