The PR after my official time for the 2010 Chicago Turkey Trot almost didn’t happen. Going on 3 hours of sleep, I jolted out of bed at 7:30 to my second alarm. It wasn’t that I was out celebrating Black Wednesday or anything that would cause me to be tired. No, I was baking for Thanksgiving and went to bed by midnight. However, I just couldn’t fall asleep and didn’t manage to shut my eyes until 4am. Perhaps I was nervous about the 8K and the potential of PR’ing. Whatever it was, I couldn’t sleep. When the first alarm rang but it didn’t phased me. But the second one shot out of bed, threw on my clothes and headed out to the race.
Pre-race rituals of gear check and a visit to the porto-potty down, I went to the corral to prepare myself. Mentally, I was telling myself that if it doesn’t happen, then don’t be disappointed. Maybe I couldn’t achieve the sub 40, but I could still PR. But even if I didn’t PR, I’m still negating some calories before the night’s feast. I knew my body could PR. I knew mentally I could PR. However, I wasn’t sold. This wasn’t the first time I set out to PR, but knowing my record, every time I set out for a personal best, I would fail miserably.
As the anthem was played, I refocused myself. I was in shape and ready to break this 3.5 year record–granted, I haven’t ran in 2 weeks. But I knew I could do it. I knew I could…
The horn went off and the race began.
I went out with the first 300 runners. I wasn’t sure what my pace should have been, but I knew what I needed to do. Passing runners within the first 100 yards, I knew that I need to own the course and go all out to make this record a reality.
Not running in the cold for almost 8 months, the mid-30 temperature pierced my lungs with every breath. My limbs were tight and stiff after 2 weeks of laziness, but I kept on pushing on. I wanted the PR more than Thanksgiving turkey.
The first 2 miles I was heaving as I trotted along the fast course as if I was on stilts. Just before mile 3, I was tempted to walk due to the pain of the cold. I won’t lie, I was ready to walk until I saw mile marker 3. I was on pace. I was on pace to not only PR but finish sub 40. That was when it all changed.
I kicked it as my body finally started to get loose. Mile 4 breezed by. As I hit the turn around, I knew that I had it in the bag. I gave it my all the last mile knowing that the PR is mine. With a tenth of a mile to go, I saw the clock just turned 39. That’s 39 minutes! I booked it to the finish using every ounce of energy I had left. I was determined to finish while it was still 39.
Step after step. Each stride longer and faster than the previous. I wanted 39.
I crossed at 39:22 (7:55, 7:45, 8:00, 7:45, 7:40).
As soon as I cleared the finish line, I put my hands on my knees and heaved. I threw up everything I had in my empty stomach. I felt sick but I didn’t care. I PR’d. I finished sub 40. I broke my previous PR of 41:28 dating back to March 25, 2007. I achieved something that I wasn’t sure that I could.
This was my 4th consecutive personal record time. I cannot believe what I have accomplished this year. With my last race completed for 2010, I am anxious to break the time that has been haunting me the last 3.5 years: 1:56:52. I know I can do it. I can’t wait until April 10th when I will have the opportunity to defeat myself.