A cold and windy day greeted me on the day of the RAM Racing Cinco De Miler. Thanks to Keri Serota of Dare2Tri who introduced me to Brandon and Debbie at RAM Racing who took care of my race guide, Ironman Triathlete and marathoner, Ryan Nord.
We were disappointed that we were placed in corral D, but we hoped it would be a fast field. Having run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K five weeks prior and finishing in forty-one minutes, I was confident I would break forty minutes at Cinco De Miler. If all went well, I could push thirty-seven minutes.
Ryan and I waited for our wave to go off. I was excited to put Jenna Parker’s plan into action. Gun sounded. We crossed the start. We planned to take it easy in the opening mile. Not even six hundred meters into the race, we found ourselves behind a cluster of runners who were already walking. We ran through a tunnel filled with puddles. More runners slowed down. Ryan told me not to worry. We would make up the time once out of the tunnel. Once out, we tried to find our stride. Too many slower runners surrounded us. Ryan and I sat back knowing this was only one mile. To our surprise, we ran the opening mile just slightly behind our desired pace. We tried pushing the pace from the 8:20 we were running. We managed to drop it to 7:30, but that did not last long as we hit another group. Ryan decided to guide me to the far right side of the course in order to race pass a large group. We neared seven minute pace during this stretch. We reached mile two marker. I was disappointed we had not been able to sustain a strong pace. Unfortunately, the third mile was our slowest of the day. During the first couple miles, Ryan and I managed to fly by runners from the corrals ahead of us. I figured once we reached the faster runners, the course would open. Not so. Frustrated at how the race unfolded, I told myself to not be bothered by it. Midway through the fourth mile, Ryan said, “We have an opening. Let’s go for it!” We had been hanging around the eight minute pace. With this opening, we dropped it to 7:30. 7:15. 7:10. We raced up a hill. I took out my anger on it. It felt good to push. Ryan said we were about to start the final mile.
I decided to just run fast and let Ryan do his best to zig zag other runners. Ryan said we were under seven minute pace. 6:56. 6:52. Three quarters of a mile remained. I could hear runners struggling. I felt strong. Ryan insisted I push. “Holy crap. 6:40!” Half mile remained. I was having fun. I wanted to get under 6:30. If I had to run people over, so be it. Ryan and I raced to the finish line.
Ryan helped me break forty minutes. We averaged slightly under seven minutes during the final two miles. I was pleased that I was able to race the back end of the race. I was able to give Jenna Parker something about which to be proud. Thank you Ryan Nord for guiding me, Jenna Parker for coaching me, and Pinnacle Performance Company for sponsoring me. Special thanks to RAM Racing for the opportunity to run in this event.