And wouldn't you know right after I register, like the next day, I twist my ankle on a run at Umstead on a single track trail. I actually heard it make a noise (or at least I think I did, maybe the noise was my brain saying "Oh crap"). It was at around mile 2 of a 6 mile run that ended up really being a 6.8 mile run. It didn't "hurt" but it certainly felt wierd. I dared not take my running shoes off so I changed into my clothes while keeping my running shoes on (a challenging feat, good thing I didn't have jeans to put on!) and went out after the run to a pub and to watch the Canes game for a while with the RTR group. I figured if I skipped that all I'd do is go home and ice and elevate the ankle anyway so what was a few more hours. At least I was still compressing it by keeping my shoe on and putting it up on an extra chair while I ate.
I put ice and elevated it on and off on Friday hoping that since the Skirtchaser 5K was late in the day on Sat it would be ok. I certainly wasn't going to pay such a pricey entry fee (cool skirt and top though that says "catch me if you can!") and not at least try to run the race. I figured if I could walk on it, which I could, running wouldn't be too terrible. So after rubbing on the aspercreme (love that stuff but I try to use it only when needed) and taking some advil I put on my tightest pair of good socks (yes, they were one of my many prizes for placing in my age category in a race) and tied my shoes tight to hold the ankle in. I was running a bit behind schedule and rushed out to the race.
I found a parking spot on a side street not too far from the race start. I managed to find several RTR folks in the huge crowd (probably about 700 people). I picked up my timing chip and wrist band (to be used to get into the block party after the race) and then needed to run back to the car to drop off my ID. During the run back to the car I realized that my ankle was probably feeling ok for the run. Good thing, since I was already committed to doing it!
I'll spare you the standard details of needing to hit the port a pottie line a number of times. Before I knew it, it was time to line up. The women lined up first (3 minute head start) and there were some FAST looking women out there. I got near but not at the front since I could tell these women were serious contenders. I thought even without the headstart they just might win! The race began (ready, set, go, no gun this time) and I just did my best to run hard. I wasn't really setting out to PR but I can't lie and say it wasn't in the back of my head. I ran the first half mile very fast, I'd say under 6:30 pace, which is unheard of for me, so I figured I'd better slow down or someone would have to carry me back. I didn't consciously choose to slow down, it just kind of happened when hitting the hills. Overall my first mile was still under 7 minutes.
I was trying to run closely behind one of the other RTR women who I knew was really fast (thanks Brandi!) so that I could have something to focus on to set the pace besides my Garmin (which I really still do love for pace setting, can't beat it). I slowed down during mile 2 but the overall average was still right around a 7 mm pace. My ankle was ok during the entire time but my legs did feel tired. Probably a combination of the weather, hills and time of day. I also needed more water than just the 1 water stop about half way through since it was pretty warm and the sun was shining. I'd much rather have it 60 or less and cloudy for a race. The first guys started to catch up around the half way point. There weren't too many that passed me though.
By the last mile, I was pretty spent and was so close to beating my PR but wasn't sure I could maintain it. And then I saw that much of the rest was flat or downhill (except for one fairly short uphill in there) which really helped. During this last mile, I experienced a really stupid guy running behind me who decided it would be a good call to run between me and a line of parked cars on my right, when there was plenty of room to the left of me. He actually even in a quite annoyed voice shouted "on your right!". First of all, dude, it's not the Olympic trials...did you really need to pass me on the right with such a narrow passage way to save a few seconds? You weren't in the lead anyway and it's supposed to be a fun race. Not really the nicest thing in a race like this to be so obnoxious as to run the girls off the road. Second, um, what is wrong with the phrase "on the right"...well, have you ever heard anyone say it? Probably not. Why? Because you are supposed to pass on the LEFT! Anyway, enough ranting about rude guy.
I was able to keep up the pace during the last mile and when I saw the 3 mile marker I thought I can certainly keep going for 0.1 miles, so I just gave it what I had. I finished in 21:39, which was a whole 3 seconds faster than my last 5K. So this was a new PR despite the warm weather, lack of water, and ankle. The first time I achieved (that I can recall anyway) a pace of under 7 mm in a 5K (6:59 to be exact!). Not too bad.
I caught up with a few RTR folks before heading back to the car to change. On the way I got to see a little girl (who I just checked for in the race results and see she was 8 yrs old) in a cute little pink running skirt running toward the finish line with her mom in a matching pink skirt. It was the absolutely cutest thing and I am amazed that she ran the entire race at 8 yrs old!
After getting changed, I made a few failed attempts to get my free beer in a can with my two coupons given out as part of the entry fee. The line was crazy long and I then pondered...is beer in a can ever worth waiting for, even if it is free (which when you consider the entry fee it really wasn't "free")? Nope. So I went into the Hibernian and got a Fat Tire ale for $5 and enjoyed that. The band that played was really good but pretty loud (yes, I am old) to try to talk over. I guess I missed the awards ceremony in trying to get dressed and find everyone again. No age group prizes for this race though (I was first in my age group I think). The least they could have done was give out a few pairs of socks! Then they had some games and prizes so I stuck around to watch Ed and Lisa from RTR play a newlywed type of game which was fun. After that Brandi and I grabbed some really yummy but quite spicy thai food at the restaurant right next to the Hibernian. It was a good race although I probably wouldn't run it again (expensive and running a race at 5pm is difficult when you are hanging w. the kids at the pool, etc during the day). And it was a good night, but alas not for hockey...the Canes lost.