So last night was my third and final 5k of the summer, and it turned out pretty okay in my book! This is one race that I try to do every year, unless it’s ungodly hot like it was about two years ago. However, this year, it was pretty overcast and comfortable – at least until the humidity jolted up to 100% about halfway through the race. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My mom and I went up to Homer City about an hour and a half before the race was due to start, and I dropped her off on a family friend’s front porch that sits right along the race route. I went down to the park and registered, and I got a pretty sweet yellow t-shirt for the festival. I went and walked around the festival grounds as a sort of warm-up, then went back and sat on the porch with my mom until about ten minutes until six. Went down to the bridge where the race starts and started getting lined up. I always line up near the back, since people go out really fast in this race. I wound up seeing two of the other girls in my class at school, and we chatted before the race started.
Star-Spangled Banner and a little police siren, and we were off!
I started off going a little faster than I would have liked as the race wound its way up Main Street and up past the businesses. It was starting to warm up, even though the sky wasn’t lightening up at all. I hit the first mile in about 9:05, which was right on track for the sub-28 that I was gunning for in the back of my mind. Even though I hadn’t been doing any speedwork and had mainly been focused on long, slow miles, I still thought I had the chance for a sub-28.
The second mile was a lot harder, though I was still mostly keeping on pace. It had a brief portion up a hill, but there was thankfully a water stop halfway up. I tried to keep running and drink at the same time, and I wound up splashing my glasses and having the water go up my nose. I was still running this whole time, though I was having to push a lot harder to keep just above a 9-minute pace. When I hit the second mile at 18:25, I knew that my sub-28 was slipping away. My legs were screaming and I was struggling to catch my breath as the humidity had suddenly skyrocketed.
As we came off of one section of the trail onto a different surface of the trail, my legs felt like they were going to give way. I started to take power-walk breaks and I was still struggling to get my breath in the muggy air. I came off the trail and jogged a little, then walked up the majority of the hill before the last push.
When I crested the hill, the girl behind me started saying how good I was doing and not to give up. Well hell no, walking is not giving up, I was conserving my gas. I started really pushing in the last quarter of a mile or so, and I laid on the gas. The last tenth of a mile was basically over the bridge that we had started on, and I finally saw the clock. I realized that my phone wasn’t as closely in sync with the clock as I had thought. I kept pushing, just to beat the clock.
I wound up crossing the finish line in 29:51.
After the race, I got a little cup of water and a cup of froyo from a local shop. Hell yeah, froyo! Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure of my finishing time for sure for a while afterwards. I went back to the porch and sat with my mom, then walked over to the festival to get a funnel cake for us to split. After I had relaxed for a while, I walked back over to the board to see how I had actually done.
Turns out, my 29:51 was good enough for fourth in my age group. Sadly, the girl who placed third finished in 29:50… But I honestly don’t remember anyone even being in front of me when I finishing the race. I just remember pushing against the clock.
Either way, I’m proud. Last year, I finished the same race in 30:45, so to take almost a minute off is awesome. Considering all I’ve been doing is upping my mileage and not even really adding speedwork, I’m content. The only official race on my calendar for the rest of the summer is the Run for the Trail 7k in a few weeks. It’s going to be weird not racing every weekend, but I think it’s going to be for the better for my marathon training.