This past Saturday was my first 5k of the year (yeah, shocker, I know) and it went so much better than I expected! Since it was just a 5k and passed by pretty quickly, this is going to be a short and sweet little recap – I really just want to have this written down for my own records and to show myself that I can do whatever I set my mind to!… I might that in the midst of marathon training later in the year!
The morning started really slowly, as I was pre-registered and the race didn’t start until 10. I got to Mack Park a few minutes after 9, and I was a little concerned at first, as I didn’t see anyone around the park. Eventually, I figured out that the race was actually starting on the fairgrounds that are attached to the park, so I had to walk a bit to go get everything figured out. Really glad I brought my registration paper, as there was a slight mix-up with the registration process. Got a t-shirt and some race swag, got my timing chip, and then headed back up to my car to drop my things off. Retied my shoes and got everything ready, then headed back down to the race start area to kill some more time.
The race started more or less on time, which I was really grateful for. It was a mass start with no timing mats for ‘official’ chip time, so I tried to position myself a little closer to the start than I usually would have. I was running with my Pandora station and my Nike+ app (still need to invest in a running watch, eventually), so I was trying to tune out the rest of the world. The only thing I dislike is that, when I’m starting, my Nike+ likes to register my time as being way slower than what I’m actually running for about a minute or two. I’ve learned to ignore it at first, but I was going out way too fast at the start… per usual. I tried to reign it back in, but my splits at first were coming up pretty consistently at sub-9’s. I tried my hardest to slow down, but I think that push at the beginning was enough to kill me later.
Went around the fairgrounds’ track, which was way bigger than it looks just from staring at it. Out behind the grandstand and up the hill to where I had parked my car, and the first time around I made that hill my bitch. The downhill from it was steep and excellent, and I really picked up some speed going into the first mile marker. Back to the racetrack, where we accidentally wound up going the wrong way around the track on the way back through? Didn’t change the distance at all, but was just kind of funny looking back on it. Past the finish line, out back around, and out past the grandstand. I took a minute walk break up the hill the second time around, right before the 2-mile marker: I was ahead of the pace that I wanted, and I knew that my legs were going to be better if I gave them a little time to recover than if I kept pushing. I had the weirdest feeling in my calves, and I didn’t want to destroy them.
After the crest of the hill, I picked back up into my running pace. Found my happy pace at that point a little over a 9:20, and I ran back into the raceway. Had to run right past the finisher’s chute, and I saw that I had about 6 minutes to come in under 29 minutes. I knew that I had it in me, but I still tried to pick up the pace so I could have some cushion in case something happened along the way. It was at this point my running got a little sporadic, since there were a lot of little kids walking on the inside of the track. I don’t know how many times I was screaming “EXCUSE ME!” so loud I could hear myself over my headphones, just so I could dodge around the little girls that were just gaping at me with wide-open mouths – sorry, girls, but my face looks like a tomato when I’m going hard.
Came around the final turn and just started pushing, even though it was hurting. It was at this point I started kicking myself, as I glanced up at the clock when I was still a fair distance away. I watched the 27:50’s click by, and I was kind of ticked that I had come so close to going both sub-29 AND sub-28 in the same race! I watched it click over to 28, but I knew that I was coming up close. I had plenty of time and probably could have walked the rest and gotten under 29, but I kept pushing anyway. I wasn’t really paying attention to the clock as I breezed by, and I was so spent at the end that I couldn’t even bend down to get my timing chip off of my shoe (Thanks Gingerbread Man!) and wasted a few seconds turning off my Nike+ app. I felt a little nauseous, so I laid down on the concrete barrier for about a minute so my stomach would stop spinning.
Headed over to get some water and cookies, then walked around a little and watched the rest of the racers come in. I stayed for the awards ceremony because I mistakenly thought that the were giving out age group awards 3-deep, and I felt pretty good about what I had done. Instead, I waited over an hour for them to give out overall awards (men and women combined?) 3-deep and only the top finisher in each age/sex grouping. I was kind of irritated, but whatever.
Whenever I got home, I showered and changed into something comfortable and wound up taking a pretty decent nap. When I got up, I checked for official race results, and I was so excited!! I came out with a 28:12.4 and wound up taking 3rd in my 9-deep age group!! I was 33rd overall out of 79 finishers, and that statistic alone is amazing to me – yeah, there were a lot of walkers and little kids, but I still finished in the top half of the race! I don’t think that’s ever happened to me!
I’m so happy to have gotten my 5k PR at my first 5k of the year, and I really think part of that is due to my RunStreak. I’m going to continue racing a few 5k’s over the summer, but my main focus now is going to be slowing down and going long to start building my base for my marathon training!!