It was to be my third running of the Lawyers Have Heart 10K.
Alas, early the morning of the race, the organizers decided the heat presented a danger and voila, it was suddenly a 5K.
Hubz had never run a 5K before. He was a gym rat who ran a couple of Annapolis 10 Milers and then got sucked into ultrarunning.
We frantically tried to warm up by running up and down the street under Whitehurst Freeway. We squeezed into the line at the 6:30 mile pace group and waited.
Our last-minute strategy: Go out hard, like at a Tuesday night WUS run, and hope to hang on as long as possible.
We surged forward and within a half mile it was clear we'd picked the correct place in the crowd to start.
I tried to keep Hubz within sight but he pulled away and was lost in the crowd. I saw him at the turnaround and he wasn't as far ahead as I'd anticipated.
PAIN PAIN PAIN LEGS TIRED LUNGS BURNING PAIN AAAAAAGGHHH KEEP RUNNING
With less than a mile to go, I remember to lean forward and channel my inner Chi Runner. Instantly I felt faster and lighter. It still hurt though and like any last mile of a race, it took all the mental energy I had to keep pushing and not let up.
In the final 3 blocks, the course makes a 180 turnaround, descends a steep traffic ramp and then finishes on a flat. The ramp descent seems like a gift but my legs are so shot it barely registers, and then the flat seems like a hill.
Thanks to another woman who looked to be in my age group, I manage to muster some semblance of a finishing sprint.
I was dreading seeing the raw truth of my mile splits. In all the excitement of the 5K change, it turns out I forgot to turn on the Garmin satellites, so they will remain a glorious mystery.
Hubz had a great time legging it out on pavement, and beat me by a minute and a half. And somehow, I ran a two minute PR.