I decided to run a race this past weekend. I had missed a race planned for last weekend due to my car being in the shop for over a week (a long story which will just upset me if I go into it here) and I had nothing definite planned for this weekend so I looked for a race close to home. I found a 5k in Oyster Bay, Long Island. That wasn't too far and it was connected to a festival the town was having that I thought I might be able to enjoy after the race. Saturday morning I got up early and, after taking care of the dog and eating breakfast, I headed out. I wasn't expecting to do very well. I haven't been running as much as I should due to a bum knee and some seriously lost running mojo. But I did manage to get in four short runs last week, including one nice tempo run, so I was planning on trying to do a sub 9:00 pace. The weather was perfect - a nice chill in the air. Fall has finally arrived in New York. I got to the start site in plenty of time to sign up for the race and look around to see if anyone I knew had also decided to do this race. I saw a lot of familiar faces from the area running scene but no one that I knew personally. So I just hung around trying to stay warm. I wasn't relishing the idea of standing around the starting line in my racing clothes. I headed out to the starting line about 15 minutes before the gun. Due to a mix up in which way we were actually heading, I ended up closer to the front of the pack then I planned. I went out much faster than I usually do because I didn't want to get run over. Once I had found a good spot and tried to settle into a good pace I knew that this wasn't going to be a good day. My legs felt uncoordinated and my breathing was labored. I kept checking with my Garmin and I was having to work hard to stay around a 9:00 pace. Oh well, so I was just going to try and keep a respectable pace and enjoy myself. The first mile passed in about 8:53 - that was the early rush mostly because I was definitely going slower than that. The second mile went by in just around 18:00. The course was lovely - horse farms on one side and a nature preserve on the other. I was eying another runner. It might sound a little snobbish, but I often motivate myself during a race by finding someone who I think looks like I should be able to beat them and try and keep up with them. This man I saw was about 20 years my senior and was running that morning in a pair of sweatpants and a button down cotton shirt - like you might wear with a sportscoat. Plaid, even. Anyway, I decided that, while anyone can be a runner, I had to be a faster runner than this man. So I kept him in my sights and eventually passed him. I felt victorious! Also, around the 2 mile mark the course took a definite downward trend. I mean, we hit a mean downhill. Of course, this probably meant that the beginning of the race, which I had some trouble with, was mostly uphill. Ahhh! My legs had also loosened up to where the running was starting to feel more fluid. I decided to throw caution to the wind and let myself fly down the hills. Wheeee!!!! It leveled off eventually. Perhaps a quarter of a mile before the end. I pushed myself across the finish line for a 26:22 gun time. That is a personal best for me. By only 3 seconds, but still a PR. I checked with Garmin. I managed that finish time by doing the 3rd mile in 7:34! WTF?!? I've never even got close to that time for a mile, even at the track. One thing this race has taught me is that I really have to start doing some warm up before a race. Even after all this time running, and even after three half-marathons, I still feel like I'm not going to be able to run the whole distance. So I worry that any distance spent in a warm up is distance that I won't be able to get in the race. Which is ridiculous. I stuck around for the awards which lasted until the rest of the festival started. I walked around for awhile, tried some of the food, but finally decided to go home because my hips were bothering me a little and I was tired.