I suppose that title is a little deceptive, because it’s not like I actually run a race every weekend (though if it were financially reasonable, you better believe I would!).
Anyway, on Saturday I tackled my third 5K! Like last week’s 10K, this race was significantly different than my first two 5Ks. There were about 500 participants, which makes it my largest 5K to date and I think one of my favorite race sizes. The size made for a nice atmosphere and a little bit of competition without being too overwhelming.
For the second Friday in a row, I had a rough time sleeping pre-race. Thankfully, my alarm was set for 6:40 a.m. this time instead of 4:40 a.m., which made it a little less frustrating. I actually ended up sleeping until about 7:00, because right after my alarm went off my mom appeared in my room telling me I didn’t need to get up yet. My entire family was participating in this 5K (a first for us!), so she and my dad were going to go to the race location and pick up all of our packets before the race so my sister, brother, and I wouldn’t have to get there as early.
The siblings and I got to the race about 20 minutes before it began, ran around the parking lot anxiously trying to find our parents and our bibs, and finally got lined up. I put myself in the back half of the 8 minute mile pack when we got organized, hoping that the competition would help me push myself for a significantly faster pace than my 10K pace. While I would’ve liked to PR, I knew the chances of that happening were slim, and, as always, finishing without walking was a much higher priority.
I feel like every race has some sort of shtick, whether it be a theme, its history, or whatever. For this race, the shtick is that the entire first half mile is up a steep hill.
Though I’ve never run this race before, I knew the course pretty well, so I was very aware of the fact that I’d have to run this hill before anything else. My goal was run the hill easy and then push myself hard for the rest of the race.
That happened, more or less. I ran up the hill at a decent clip–faster than I ran at all during the 10K, but not anywhere close to my normal 5K pace. This was about 25% due to the hill and 75% due to the fact that by the time I crested the hill, I needed to use the bathroom. At .5 miles. Awesome. I knew there would be restrooms available at about 1.5 miles, so I convinced myself to run through it. I ran a 9:03 first mile, which I was decently happy with.
By the time I hit 1.5 miles, I still needed the bathroom, but my desire to get a decent chip time was stronger than my desire to use the bathroom, so I kept pushing forward. I regretted it for a minute or two, but I started to feel a lot better after the two-mile mark and was very glad I hadn’t stopped. My Garmin told me I had run an 8:58 mile.
I don’t know if it was the fact that I was on track to run all negative splits or remembering that in my previous two 5Ks, I’ve run negative splits, but I took off after that two-mile mark. That part of the race was mostly in the sun (and, at 70-some degrees, it was warm), but I was on fire (metaphorically 😉 ). For the first time in the race, I started passing people, and it felt good. I kept up my pace and ran a 8:22 third mile. Aside from an alleged 8:18 mile during 10K training, this is the fastest I’ve run for a very long time and it was awesome.
I ended up kicking big time for the last .1 miles, mostly because there was a mom in a ridiculous costume and her son who couldn’t have been much older than eight about to cross the finish line in front of me, and I would not let that happen 😉 .
I finished in 27:04 for an overall 8:44 pace. Time wise, this was actually my worst 5K yet. Surprisingly, this didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I’m really, really happy with my race. I love that I was able to run negative splits, I ran the fastest I’ve run in a long time, and, most importantly, I beat my sister and my parents 😉 Granted my sister has barely been running lately and had not trained at all for the race, and my parents both walked it…but there’s no need to get caught up in such minor details 😛
Last week I mentioned possibly running another 10K in June. I’ve decided to opt out of that race for several reasons, the most important of which is my calves. Basically, my calves have been sore almost constantly since mid-March, which means we’re coming up on two full months of soreness, and I’m sick of it. It’s not necessarily preventing me from running, but it’s certainly not making it fun, and I’d really rather use the bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer for eating rather than easing my soreness. I know my calves haven’t healed because I haven’t given them any time to. Well, that time is now. I’m taking all of this week off of running and possibly all of next week as well and I’m focusing nearly all of my strength training (for the moment) on my arms and abs. My poor legs need a break, especially since in a month or so I’m going to start putting them through their toughest test yet:
And no, I’m not registered for the 5K 😉
On September 9, one of my best friends from college (not the 10K friend, a different one) and I will be lacing up our shoes and tackling our first half marathon. I’m intimidated, I’m a little nervous, I’m definitely questioning my sanity. But above all, I’m stoked 🙂