Marathoner to Track Star: Rita spikes up

Andie: This was your first track race in spikes--a 5k so 12.5 laps. What did you think?

Rita: It was really fun...well, the first 8 laps were really fun! My goal was to not trip and fall on the rail on the inside of the track (achieved!). I felt really good for the first 4 laps with Erin pacing right in front of me and holding me back. We were sort of in stride (except my legs are longer so I kept trying not to unintentionally spike her). It actually felt way too comfortable. You see, typically, I like to sprint the first half of the race, tire myself out, and die a slow & painful death to the finish line...not the case here folks!

 Rita didn't fall in her new spikes! wahoo!

Rita didn't fall in her new spikes! wahoo!

A: How did the race play out? How did you feel?

R: Our pacing was on point after a fast first lap. After the first mile, I ended up going ahead of Erin and pacing for the middle 4 laps and it was pretty fun to lock in the pace. It wasn’t too hot during the race but there are actually some weird pockets of humidity in Charleston so it felt like I couldn’t breathe on a couple sections of the track. I have asthma and my inhaler kicked in during the first mile so it was nice to be able to actually breathe. We had our friend Jeff (@elliptigo) out on the other side of the track telling us our splits which was SUPER helpful since the timers stopped working after the first lap. With around a mile to go, I guess it looked like I was struggling because some of the spectators yelled for us to “help each other out” so Erin took the pacing job for the last mile. The crowd support was my favorite part! I love when people cheer for me and everyone racing--it really amps me and helps me focus on the task at hand.

A: I see from some pics that your race was co-ed. What was that like?

R: It wasn’t too weird (that’s what I’m used to with road races,) but there was SO MUCH happening during the last 3 laps. Our goal was to run 88-89 seconds per lap which is right around 18 minutes for 5k. Since there was a kid running 15 something and a lady running 20 something, there was a lot of passing/being passed towards the end. We had a couple guys drafting off our backs and using our pacing until the last 400 but it was okay because they were super sweet and respectful. I barely noticed them until the crowd started yelling at me to pass them back on the last two laps...but they bulleted full steam ahead!

 Rita and Erin cheesin' with Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts Track Club.

Rita and Erin cheesin' with Katie Mackey of the Brooks Beasts Track Club.

A: What was the hardest part of the race?

R: The toughest part was the last 1000 meters for sure. I kept asking my legs, “why can’t I go any faster?” and was trying to catch Erin during the last 400 meters, (My rabbit outpaced me she’s so speedy!!) However, I would say that the ultimate challenge of the day was trying to calculate splits...like how do people do that?! Mind blowing gift from God that’s all I can say. Having Jeff yell at me to 1, “go faster” or 2, “you’re doing great” was just what I needed on the back side of the track, so thanks again Jeff!

A: What did you learn?

R: Spikes are my new favorite thing in the world AND Sammy taught me how to prep for an 8pm race on a Saturday. Being that I spend my entire work week waiting for the weekends, the last thing that I wanted to do in Charleston was sit on my butt all day! There were so many shops calling my name to try on designer rompers and brunches just waiting for me to eat; but alas, Sammy did permit us to venture to Sullivan’s Island for 30 minutes before returning to the AC...so I guess that was cool. Obviously the result was worth the wait (thank you Sammy!) Plus, now I know way too much about Justin Bieber’s childhood and other terrible Netflix documentaries (but seriously, where is the Taylor Swift documentary because we all really need that in our lives)...and I even logged some hours at work. What’s even better? I get to do it all over again this next weekend!! Beat the Heat 5k is Saturday night and I’m very excited to end my season on a high note! I really hope I can challenge myself enough to beat my 18:21 PR. I got this!

 Post-PR fun run on the beach with Sammy. Baywatch or Baewatch?

Post-PR fun run on the beach with Sammy. Baywatch or Baewatch?