On Saturday I finally decided to run a road race after taking about 2 months away from racing to recover from the Boston Marathon and Ragnar Zion. The Hogback Hustle is a local 5k named after the Hogback mountain range, which actually caught fire 5 days before this race.
Before the race I set a realistic goal of running around 21:30 because I am not in 5k race shape and this race started on a steep up hill that leveled off and then gradually kept going up until about halfway through the race. Then it went downhill to the finish.
A race like this is a perfect opportunity to run negative splits so I took advantage of that by actually running the race.
The race started at 8am and I was exhausted from my birthday the day before so I woke up at 7am, ate some mango chicken for breakfast, and struggled to find clean black running shorts because I hadn’t done laundry. I’ll be honest I still haven’t done laundry and it is almost a week later.
Ultimately, I ended up wearing these orange shorts. The race started in front of the grocery store in my town. Phil drove me down there because I didn’t want to run that 1.5 miles from my house to the grocery store as a warm up. It just seemed very far away at the time. Instead I opted to run up the giant hill after I signed up for the race. I am glad I made that choice because someone put a huge rock inside of a cardboard box with a sign on it pointing down the street to a garage sale right in the middle of the bike path we would be running on, and I almost tripped on it. I moved the box and then ran back down the hill feeling like a hero for preventing everyone else from almost tripping. I am not sure why people put huge rocks in boxes and then tape signs to them but I am constantly moving them. One sat at the corner of our street for weeks. The sign had blown off and the box and rock sat there making our town look like we allow littering. I recycled that box.
Before the race even started I noticed that a lot of people were nervous about the hill, but I wasn’t super nervous at all. I just wanted to get up the big hill and then eventually run by my house so I could see if the cats were watching from the window. When the race finally started I went pretty slowly for the first 400 meters before pulling ahead of all of the other women in the race. I ran the first mile in 7:16 wondering why I was the lead women. I am going to assume that all of the hills my friend makes me run when we run together have served a purpose. As I approached the half way point in the race I got hit in the face by a sprinkler. It made my eyes burn and I just kept going. I ran mile two in 6:34. The last mile was the mile I had been waiting for because it was all downhill and because I was going to run right by my house. Unfortunately, I forgot to look for the cats in the window so whether or not they were watching will forever remain a mystery. Right after I passed my house my watch clicked mile three at 6:28. Right before this I saw Phil on his bike and I asked him where the second woman was because I wasn’t feeling great and I just wanted to get to the finish line. He said, “behind you” and I didn’t appreciate this sarcasm.
After the race I chatted with a few other local runners and found out that I’d actually won $100 for being the first female finisher!
This race was challenging, however I am satisfied with how I ran. I ran 7 seconds faster than I had predicted and I ran a smart race because I eased into the uphill. Plus, I am confident that I had the most fashionable race outfit that day!