Board Certified Sport Dietitian, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology, 2017 IM CHOO Amateur Female Champion, 12x Ironman finisher including 4x IM Kona finisher, Triathlon Coach, 25-year Vegetarian, Writer/Speaker
5:30am and I was writing on my blog. Thinking I would enjoy this experience and the fact that I can actually run w/o a limp and just be the Iron Girl that I am. Well, the nerves seemed to subside when I arrived to the race site. My mom and I parked the car around 6:40 and walked to the beautiful start line/race venue a few minutes later. So many families, so many people and so many future Iron girls. After saying hello to way too many familiar faces I started to feel a lot more comfortable with the fact that I was about to run a 10K. The #7 on my bib didn't really help my "just want to race for fun attitidue" and when I bumped into familiar faces it was hard to not think competitive when people asked me "how fast will you run", "are you going to win your age group", "are you ready to place top 10 again" Oh jeez..thanks everyone!! I mean, i really do love just being out there and showing my passion for health and physical activity but I couldn't help to want to run fast. I love pushing my body, I love seeing what I can do and I love practicing what I preach. I believe running events (even if you walk) are a great way to be around so many people who share similar passions and to be around so many women at an Iron Girl event just made it easy to want to run fast. Ok, so it is 7:30, 5 minutes until the start and I am 2 rows from the start. After going to the bathroom about 3 times I squeezed my way to the start only to find...those fast girls who I know all of them by their first and last names. I race with them at running events, I check their race results even if I am not running and I even see some of them at triathlons. So my "competition" is far beyond my speed and there is no way I would ever be able to catch them but I guess I felt like I could compete just like they do. The gun went off and the first mile was great. I felt so comfortable and ran 7:09. Up the memorial causeway and I still felt good. No lactic acid, breathing was under control and I could still see my competition. Down the causeway and I was getting closer to one girl. I pushed a little harder to catch her and we stayed together for most of the race. I have never really ran with someone before but i felt like we were helping each other by drafting each other every couple of minutes. Mile 2 and I just ran 6:46. Ok, still feeling good and enjoying this. I needed a quick splash of water at the aid station, which came right after I saw a few girls make their turn for the 5K. Ok, that eliminated a few of the top super fast girls which I didn't need to worry about anymore. It was the fast girls in front of me that I kept trying to chase, but I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to catch. So for the next mile, I made a couple quick looks behind me to see who was chasing me down. I could see one girl behind me but I was in good shape to keep my place for at least the next couple of miles. The breating was increasing and I felt a little stich in my side. The girl who I was racing with (literally, side by side for over 3 miles) was kinda slowing down as well so mile #3 I ran at 7:02. We are now on Mandalay in clearwater beach and we were running with the wind. That means, after the turnaround, bring on the wind. I had a boost of speed when I saw my dad by the roundabout in clearwater beach and he was cheering for me with his camera telling me that "this is nothing like the Ironman". Thanks dad, I know...this is SO much harder (yes, sprinting for a 10K is a big thing for me, mentally and oh so physically). My dad had an optometry clinic on my race course so he left the course to come take pics. Thanks dad..hope I didn't get you in trouble! A few more pics when I came back to start heading back towards clearwater and I was still racing right with the other girl. By the time I made the turnaround, I had counted 9 girls in front of me. Nice, I might be top 10. I knew i had more in me but I had to pace myself. I still had one more run up the causeway and 1 more mile after that climb. Mile 4 came quick and was around 7:30. I had to slow down cause I was hurting. Not due to an injury but this speed thing was getting to me. So we are getting to the climb on memorial and I see all the 5K walkers. Just what I needed. The cheers and applauds from the walkers, little kids and spectators drove me up the causeway and the girl I was running with was now behind me. I thank her so much for pacing me and I never once got frustrated that we were side by side for most of the race. I make a quick look behind and she has dropped back but the tenth place girl has caught her. Great, they are going to chase me down. I get to the top of the causeway and without lactic acid buildup (thank goodness for all the road cycling this winter!) I sprint down the causeway. Next comes the helix which is so much fun to run down. You are running on a wide spiral down to the ground from the bridge and it was great to be able to see my competition 3 floors above me chasing me down. Last mile was around 7:50 (I think) and I was going full force for the finish. One more little climb back to the main road and I was running hard. I had a brief moment of feeling that flush of everything go right into my legs but i wanted so bad to go 45 minutes. I had the walkers to weave around but I didn't want to get in their way. I stopped my cheering of walkers (which i did most of my run on the causeway) because i was huffing and puffing to the downhill finish. I ran because i was being chased down and with a hard effort I ended up finishing 8th!!! I had my mom to great me at the finish and she was so proud of me...but I was proud of her for running a little bit of the 5K walk, feeling great and going a PR by 4 minutes. 41 minutes for my mom's 5K and she achieved her goal of beating me! Congrats mom. After some water and walking around for atleast 20 minutes I started feeling that flush of well, everything again, in my belly. I drank some milk and a little later had some fruit and I was feeling better by the time the awards started. I placed 1st in my age group (25-29) and enjoyed my 3rd Iron Girl clearwater race. I can't wait until Iron Girl Atlanta (tri) and this race was just what I needed to remind me why I love what I do. I love helping people with their nutrition because if you can nutritionally fuel your body, the reward of pushing hard in an event is so much better. Most of all, that last mile of the 10K was run in the honor of Kona...since I barely made it to the finish line in Hawaii. Thank you everyone for your kind words and for cheering me on blogger-style!