OK, before I even start writing this, as I know many of you already follow me on Facebook and Instagram, let me remind you that this was a very small race. Like, just around 150 people to be exact. So, before you go thinking that I’m some super running stud, just keep that in the back of your head.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m SUPER pumped with how I raced, but had this been a race of 1,500, there is no way I would have placed as well as I did.
I signed up for this race merely for the fact that it was right up the road from my house. That, and the fact that it was going to support the playgrounds that we absolutely LOVE taking our kids to! They are in the process of getting enough donations to build one even closer to our home, but we have already been to 2 already this summer and plan on going back! They are awesome playgrounds that allow kids of ALL abilities play, thus the name Unlimited Play. They are cutely themed and all of them have splash pads as well. So much fun!
Anyway, it was a race I registered for just about 2 weeks before race day as I was searching for a June race (still looking for races for August and September). Since it was so close and I’ve only run one 5K this year, I thought it was the perfect tune up race to see how much progress I am making in my speed. I have been training for a 19:30 5K, but with only 5 weeks of training under my belt, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. However, my last 5K was in the 21-minute range, so I was at least hoping to be in the 20s, or even low 20s if I was having a good day.
The park was closed to parking, but one of my friends lives about a mile away (it’s 3.5 miles from my house so running there wasn’t a great option for me), so I parked at her house and did a mile warm-up to the park. I did a mile barefoot run on Thursday and three 1-mile repeats on Friday, and my legs were definitely feeling it. My calves were sore, my hamstrings were tight, and my tendon in my foot was totally flaring up. I spent most of the 45 minutes prior to the race stretching in hopes that I wouldn’t totally bomb once the race started.
This was a seriously low-key race. There were no chips for timing and it was all hand timed. Like literally, the timers stood at the start with a stopwatch. Of course, there was a big timer at the finish line, but it was all based on start and finish time – not on chip time. Thankfully I started in the very front, so that wasn’t a big deal at all. There were a lot of women who looked really fast and one younger girl (I found out later she was only 14) who was hoping to break 21-minutes. I decided to line up right next to her in hopes of also breaking 21 minutes.
Everyone went out full force at the start and I really had to tell myself to hold back. I’ve learned from past races that if I start out too fast, I will absolutely bomb in the last mile. Plus, I like to be able to chase people down. So, my conservative start is to my advantage, but I kept doubting myself – like, what if I was too conservative and won’t be able to catch up to them? There were about 6 girls in front of me who were running at a decent pace, so I was really worried that I already set myself up for failure.
But, I was feeling good. The first mile weaved through neighborhood streets and felt to take forever. I was slowly picking off runners, but at the first mile, I was sitting somewhere in the top 5 and was at a 6:43-mile for the first mile, which I knew I needed to be faster than that. Again, thank goodness for people in front of me – I just focused on taking my time and moving up gradually.
Mile 1 = 6:43
After the neighborhood streets, we turned on to one of the major roads. One of the straight and FLAT roads. Woo! By the time we made it to the road, we were running on the sidewalks and there were only 2 people in front of me – a guy and a girl. I was able to catch up to the girl and pass her pretty easily by mile 2, so my next goal was catching and passing Batman in front of me.
Mile 2 = 6:28
I knew we didn’t have much more time and luckily, we hit a good downhill stretch. Batman (he was wearing a Batman costume) was definitely with in reach and I made it my goal to pass him before we turned back in to the park. Typically, I can pass people pretty easily, but he definitely wanted to fight me for first place. I passed him, and then less than a minute later, he passed me back up. I sat on his left shoulder for about 30 seconds and decided to go ahead an make my move without about a half-mile left in the race.
We turned into the park, which has a slight uphill. I kept thinking we had quite a bit more to run before the finish, but a quick turn into the parking lot and there was the finish line. I did NOT want this guy passing me at the finish line, so thankfully, I had enough left in me to get a good finish kick (oh yeah, and be disappointed to see a 20 instead of a 19 on the timer) and crossed the finish line FIRST, before anyone else.
Mile 3 = 6:26
Mile 0.1 = 36.98
So, of the two 5Ks I’ve raced this year, I’ve finish first overall in both of them. Again, both were very small races, but it still feels incredible to come in first. Of course, the real goal was testing out my speed and I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how fast I was able to run. I still have a little ways to go to get down to that 19:30 5K time, but I think if I am able to stick with some more good speed sessions along with endurance training, I will eventually see it!
Finish Time = 20:14
Average Pace = 6:31/mile
1st Overall Female/Runner
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