Monday, July 3, 2023

2023 Resolution Run 5K - Ariel


January 1, 2023 – Auburn, CA



1st Woman Overall


Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Hunter Glass, Suzanne Hartley

The race director begins the countdown, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!” I start running at a slightly fast pace knowing the course will never be this flat after a mile. All the little kids start sprinting with excitement. I’m not worried I’ll catch them soon when they die. I watch the top 5k guy that wins every year quickly disappear from view as he easily runs his fast pace. 

I try to enjoy the slight downhills knowing soon I will have to run straight down. I run down Goliath, the steep XC hill. It’s nice to run down it instead of up it, but it is treacherous. I lean back and focus on taking small steps. I say a little prayer to God that He will keep me from slipping or hurting myself on the downhill. I’m nervous about going down because it’s easy to take big steps and I don’t want to reinjure my shin. 

I soak up the last slight uphill and then begin my rough mile-long descent. I remember not liking the downhill last year, so I trained running up and down Eagles Nest once. I think that helped because so far this downhill isn’t as bad as I suspected. There is only one girl ahead of me. She looks fast but also seems to be running the downhills slower than me. Maybe I can catch her and get some distance in front of her going into the hills. Who knows she could be a great hill climber, but cautious on downhills. 

A boy my age sprints past me. He has an interesting way of running. He skips and bounds down the hill. His technique is working because he’s catching the first lady. I couldn’t do his form or I’d likely injure myself. The gap between the top lady and I is shrinking. I’m only 20ft behind her. I’m getting the hang of taking short steps, so I speed up. I’m getting super close. I pass her and tell her good job, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she was laughing in her head. Thinking kids are always sprinting ahead, I’ll catch her. I’m kind of scared that I may think I’m going at a good pace, but really I might be wasting my energy. 

I think we're close to the bottom of the hill because I’m approaching 1 mile. Now I’m kind of sad because I just got comfortable running downhill and the 0.1 miles are speeding by. I wish this hill was longer, which is kind of surprising remembering how I was super scared of the downhill earlier. I round the corner and see the end of the downhill and the first hill. Oh no!! I power down the hill to get a good start on the uphill. As I run up the hill, I watch in amazement the little streams flowing down the path from the previous rainstorm. They're really pretty. As I splash through them, they refresh me. 

It is nice that at the top of this hill, the trail is not that hilly, but nice and rolling. One of the boys who passed me, in the beginning, starts walking. I tell him good job as I pass him. He tells me that a muscle is acting up. I soak in the nice trail because I know this luxury won't last long. 

There’s the beginning of the hills. Thankfully a mile and a half have already gone by, so just a mile and a half of climbing. I begin up the first hill. I’m feeling good, but moving slowly. I glance at my watch and hope these hills don’t make my pace drop too much. My goal is 9 min pace and right now my average pace is 8 min pace. 

A kid passes me. Oh wait, I know that kid. That’s a boy, named Matt, on Anna’s XC team. He goes up the hill like it’s easy, which makes sense. I try to stay with him, but I stop because I don’t want to tire myself out already. I keep up my steady pace up the hills. 

Up ahead there is a group of people running. I’m guessing they're in the 10k because I didn’t see them at my start. Hey, it’s Caryn Galeckas. Caryn is at the head of the little pack. It’s surprising to see her already. As I pass her, I tell her good job. Surprised, she tells me that I caught her too soon. 

Up ahead I see an intersection. 5k straight; 10k turn right. I go straight. I run up a little steep hill. I even have to use my hands for balance. I reach mile 2. Just one mile left. I push up the hills and soak up the downhills. I'm really dying now. The hills are starting to burn. I know I'm kind of close. I keep pushing even though my legs are dying. I know I'm almost there. 

I run harder and reach the final brutal hill. I push up it. It's super hard. Yes, I made it! I see Leah, Grace, and their friends. I smile at them and run up the slight hill. One more hill. I race up a small hill and onto a sidewalk. I pull into a sprint and race to the finish. Yeah, I'm done. My time was 28:27(it was .1 long).  I got first girl overall.