So, it's good that I'm over my misgivings, my doubts and the sting of coming SO close to something, but not quite getting it. Here's what I'm talking about:
There I am, folks! And I'm happy to say that I was running damn near eight minute miles. But I'm also sad to say that I did not beat my PR of 25:11. I came bitterly close, at 25:14, and I did manage to come in 53rd, which is good considering there were over 500 people running the 5k. Oh, and that three there, between my age group and my sex/age? That is the place I took in my division. Third! I get a prize! Probably some more socks and another mug but not bad, right!
However. In hindsight I can recall some areas in the race where I should have, could have picked up the pace. I think I also should have worn my jacket; it was bitterly chilly that morning, at least for this desert rat who gets cold when it's 70 degrees outside. My pants also kept falling down and had I worn my jacket I would have started sweating much earlier, therefore aiding my pants in sticking to my sweaty butt. I'm sure the people behind me had quite the show!
But you know, I also had an excruciating stitch on my right side for the last half of the race. In fact, I'm still sore from it. I've never before had that happen, but mostly because I've just stopped running, regulated my breathing until it was gone and then got back on the road again. But I couldn't stop, not when I had 25:11 staring me in the face. Whether or not my determination was a good or bad thing I'm not sure; a man in front of me stopped once or twice, clearly dealing with a similar predicament. Did he stop because it's unhealthy to run through I stitch like I did? I'll never know (until I google it).
Due to being so cold, in addition to the stitch (or perhaps the cause of the stitch) was that it was so brisk out, my nose became entirely numb, inside and out, from me inhaling through it. That created a slight problem because it made it difficult to get a good inhalation. And that in turn messed up with my breathing rhythms. One thing I've become very reliant on is a good breathing rhythm. Usually inhale three footfalls, exhale two footfalls. Once I lose that, and/or I start inhaling through my mouth, I feel much more fatigued, out of sorts even, and it messes with my run.
So, I've decided to keep all that in mind when I next try to get down on myself for not achieving a 25 minute race (I'll be honest, a deep dark irrational part of me was praying for 24 minutes and change): my pants falling down, my chilled body, my numb nose, and that horrible, horrible stitch in my side. I don't really know how to fix the nose issue (until I google it), but I do know to buy some goddamn pants that fit me before I race the next time and to wear my jacket.
Some good highlights, however, were the burly man wearing nothing but lime green running shorts; pacing (attempting to pace) a guy early on, losing him halfway, only to find him, and overtake him, at the very end; my huge burst of a sprint at the very end, thanks to Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over," in which I pushed past the two assholes who passed ME only a .10th beforehand.
Because at that moment, I flew. I was low to the ground, using every inch of long leg to my advantage, the stitch forgotten, the pain behind me, the finish and all its inspiring, teeth-gritting glory in front of me. I flew, you guys. And now, I'm getting tears in my eyes, not for failing, but for the good reason: I flew.