I don't have a lot of racing on my schedule this year. Based on a reserve schedule and commuting to Kansas City, for the time being anyway, it's put me in a position where I don't have a lot of free time/weekends dedicated to racing. So when I was able to snag the Cherry Creek Sneak off, I was excited. I've done this race every year sans 2011, and it was the first ever organized 5K I ever did. So in a funny way, it holds a special place in my heart.
Normally, the weather for this race is great. It's usually sunny and warm. It's a way to kick off the racing season. On 4/27? Cold. Overcast. Rainy. If I didn't love this race so much, I would have silenced the alarms, crawled back into bed, and slept 2-3 more hours. It didn't help that the night before this race, the Minnesota Wild lost to the Colorado Avalanche, in overtime, and I was in attendance at the game.
Anyway, I woke up, grumbled as I usually do, and got ready to go. I made my standard egg and toast and off we went to Cherry Creek. We got there very early due to construction around the Cherry Creek area and I swear they close off the roads earlier every year. Regardless, we found our usual parking spot in the garage by the mall and walked to registration. After that, we hit Safeway where I grabbed a banana and a bottle of Gatorade. We walked back to the car and just sat tight for awhile, staying warm and for me, reading recaps on the poor Wild game.
Eventually, we decided to leave for the start line. I saw a whole bunch of people hanging out in Safeway, so I made the decision we should stay there for a bit. But unfortunately, the pre-race poop caught up with me, and knowing the porta-potties were empty, strutted over there. Then we decided to just hang out near the start. I found a sweatshirt on the ground and wore it. I didn't care; it kept me warm.
We moved over to the left side of the median, acquired the satellites for our Garmin, and the countdown began. My racing season was finally underway!
We started off like I swear every Cherry Creek Sneak starts - in the mass of humanity. Even though we started closer to the front, it still felt like lots of people. One thing I've noticed though; as we get better and closer to the start lines for our races, the amount of talking and laughter is way down. People are more focused and you hear more heavy breathing as people are working harder.
Anyway, we like taking the first mile easy, but not too easy. Until you make the turn on Colorado and get on Cherry Creek South, it's tough to get open space and settle in. My Garmin said 9:00 for the first mile, and I was feeling fine.
In the 2nd mile, we subtly picked it up a bit. I noticed our breathing a little more labored, but truly, I was happy to be out there. Like I said above, I love this race, and my motto is if I'm racing, I'm not at work! T was slightly ahead of me, and she probably could have gone faster but we stay together on this race. My Garmin said 8:57.
In the final mile, we both started falling apart. It became pretty obvious that the lack of (proper) training was catching up with us and we walked a bit. Turning towards the finish, I picked it up waaaaaaay too early and paid for it. T finished 4 seconds ahead of me and my little toe on my left foot seized up and I limped my way across the finish line. Garmin said 28:36 total.
I loosened my shoes and we walked around. It turns out my toe was just numb. No idea why, and not a big deal. We saw a couple friends, ate 1/2 a bagel, and headed home. I was very content with the way it went, given it's the first race of the season. Always a great debut to our racing season!
Total time - 28:35 (9:11 pace)