A 1st-Place Medal, a PR, and the Finish Line of Shame

Today, I think I put a new spin on Matthew 20:16: "So the last shall be first, and the first last."

I'll start by saying I ran my fastest 10K ever. It was a combination 5K / 10K out-and-back race. Lots of folks ran the 5K, but there were only about 30 of us doing the 10K.

At the start of the 10K, I went out out WAY TOO FAST. I wound up with an 8:57 first mile. (My fastest training mile was 8:45 and that was for ONE MILE, just to see how fast I could go.) At 1.55 miles in, all the 5K-ers turned around to run back.

At the two-mile marker, my running buddy K and I looked behind us and saw..... no one. That was our first clue that we were dead last. I kid you not. Dead. Last.

But we were running so FAST. And so STRONG. Then the realization hit me. I was going to finish this race last. K always kicks it at the end (more power to her), so I knew she'd finish in front of me. I've run several races, and it's been close one or two times. But, I was never in LAST PLACE until today.

So, that's what I got to think about for the last 4 miles. I got slower and slower since I used up too much energy on that too-fast first mile, but I was still running at a great pace for ME. I just made peace with the last-place thing around mile 4 or 5. Took two walk breaks, too.

This is the strange part--- at the awards ceremony for the 10K, yours truly got a medal. I won 1st place in my 35-39 age group. Sort of. Actually, there were only two of us in that age group (small race and all). Obviously, the other girl was faster than me. However, she was SO fast, she placed in the OVERALL women's top three, thus disqualifying her from an age-group award. Hey, I'll take it any way I can get it!

I had a final time of 1:02:38, a little bit faster than last week on my practice run on the course and faster than I've ever run 10K before. I averaged a 10:04 pace over all, and my goal was 10:05 or under. True to form, I had a goal and I just barely made it, but I made it.

Despite finishing last (did I mention I was DEAD LAST?), it was a spectacular day---the sun shone, the temperature was in the mid-forties, and I had friends to cheer for me at the finish line. (Not to mention a very nice running coach who came back for me, so crossing the finish line of shame really wasn't so bad!) You know, after all, someone has to finish last.

Splits from my Garmin:
mile 1 8:57 mile 2 9:33 mile 3 10:10 mile 4 10:15
mile 5 10:29 mile 6 10:30 (59:54 at the 6-mile point) final .2 10:30

The Garmin says the fastest pace of the day was 6:59 in the last .2, so that must have been my big, giving-it-all-I-got finish (for about the last 5 seconds).


Great post, Donna! One of my ongoing challenges as a runner has been to learn to "run my own race", feel happy with my results and not worry about anyone else's speed. It looks like you're already there.

Plus, 1:02:40 ... sounds pretty excellent to me. Congratulations on that and on winning your age category. I always joke that I'm going to run until I'm 80, if only to have a better chance of placing in my age group.

Looking forward to checking back on your progress. Sounds like we're on the same running journey.
katieo said…
OH my goodness. Last place and a medal. That is so funny. Good job on the PR!

Now on to the half...