Yes, I'm still injured but I didn't go 'all out' and I was prepared to stop and walk if I felt any pain - so don't give me any grief! I reasoned with myself that just days before I had run a total of 35 minutes without pain (granted there were walking intervals breaking up 10 minute blocks but that's just a side-note). So, minutes before the race I changed out of my jeans, stepped away from my volunteering duties, and donned the 'just in case' running gear.
My parents were up for the race and I searched for them in the crowd at the start but gave up quickly as the countdown began. I knew that I could run the race and then circle back and run my mom in for at least the last half mile (this was her second 5k).
The race started and I was poorly positioned in the thickest part of the crowd. I wasn't worried though because I wasn't 'racing'. I started off comfortable, weaving my way around the slower runners I had started behind. I was passing people left and right and holding steady somewhere in the 7:30 range. EXCELLENT! This was a great sign - I could be injured for months and still bust out a 7:30 - woot!
I was enjoying just running. Checking in every once in awhile with my knee and making sure I didn't feel any pain. I was also staying towards the middle of the road, finding the flattest part that I could so I wouldn't injure anything else in the process.
The first mile went by right at 7:28 pace. I felt good, the breathing was steady, and I was just enjoying the race. In my mind I figured I could even back off if I wanted. Again, I wasn't supposed to be 'racing'.
The second mile we ran through the Eldridge/Columbia neighborhood. This year's course was slightly different due to construction on one of the main streets through that area but you really couldn't tell the difference. It was still flat and fast. Pace 7:12 - maybe a bit too fast for this out of shape gal (breathing a bit hard).
Somewhere shortly after the mile 2 flag I had to pull over and tie my shoe - runner fail! Apparently I hadn't retied them well after changing and rushing to the start. Oops. But, all the folks that passed me on my pit stop I passed right back without any trouble.
The last half mile is all downhill and I completely took advantage of that. I let gravity do its thing and allowed my momentum to carry me into the turn onto B street and towards the finish area. In the last quarter mile I picked it up as much as I could so I would finish strong. And that I did - final time was 22:38 (7:18 pace), 7th in my age group and 20th overall. Not too shabby.
I then proceeded to turn right back around and jog/walk back to about mile 2.6 in search of my parents. I saw my Dad first, moving at a steady pace. I cheered and watch him continue on. This was his first 5k in over 20 years!!! He finished with a time of 34:21 (11.05 pace).
Shortly thereafter I saw my mom. I joined in with her, told her not to talk and to run faster (I'm so nice) and we got her pace down to a 10:40 for that last half mile. As we crossed the road towards the finish line I gave her instructions to give it all she had. She came across the finish line in 36:20 (11.42 pace) - 4th in her age group and a 5 minute PR over the Race for the Roses 5k she did on April 1st! So proud of them both. They are already eyeing the next 5k - the Shore Run 5k in Seattle - for their new goals (Dad under 30, Mom under 35).