I had my second 5k race of the summer, which will sadly also be my second-to-last 5k of the summer. I looked at the local race calendar compared to my marathon training schedule, and it just seems to make more sense to forgo races for most of the summer so that I can focus more on my training and long runs. Either way, the Let Freedom Ring! 5k was on the docket yesterday morning, and it actually went much better than I thought it would have.
I got up a little after 6 without really any complaining from my brain or body. I had a few problems in the morning that were really frustrating, including not being able to decide what top to wear to the race. It was just cold and drizzly enough that I didn’t want to wear a tank top, but I’ve realized lately that I don’t really like running with sleeves – but all of my tech shirts still have the sleeves on them! I had that debacle for a few minutes before I finally decided on wearing the tech shirt over the tank top so I could take it off if it warmed/dried up… spoiler alert, it didn’t.
Headed up to Indiana and got to the ice rink grounds where the race was held. Got registered at the table (since I was lazy and didn’t pre-register) and went down to get my timing chip. Hung out down there with a guy who I ran cross-country with, then went to my car for a little to drink some more water and just relax. Walked back down to where the race was starting and walked around to get my legs warmed up.
It was a nice small 5k race, with about 30 or so people running/walking the distance. I lined up in the middle of the pack as we were about to start, but wound up pulling ahead of most of the pack because a lot of people started pretty slowly. I started way too fast, like some of my early numbers were coming up as like 7:35 or so – that was some bad news! I’ve never run a whole mile anywhere near that fast, so I immediately started trying to slow down. I went out to the first out-and-back portion of the course, where I only saw one other woman in front of me – WHAT? I didn’t let myself get too excited, as I was only at the very beginning of the course and I had gone out much too fast, but I wanted to keep some distance between me and the two women closest to me.
Went up a large hill (for the first time) and I only wound up power-walking near the top, as it was killer. Looped around, and I saw that I was still ahead of the two nearest women behind me, though the one had passed the other. I went down the hill and gained some major speed and time, but it was time for a long loop portion of the course. I mainly ran, though I took a few walk breaks. It was around the halfway point of the race where the one other woman passed me as I was walking, and it was just my goal to keep her in my sight as long as I could.
The second half of the course was difficult, as I was getting tired and knew that I had to conquer the hill again. I pushed and dug deep, though I started walking earlier on the hill than I had the time before. I kept my walking pace up, as the woman behind me was starting to gain. I flew down the hill and started pushing myself with less than a half-mile or so to go (I honestly didn’t check my times or splits or phone all that much during the race). I went to the beginning out-and-back portion, and I dug deep. I walked for just a small portion on the ‘back’ section, then gunned it for the finish line. I knew that the lady behind me was gaining, and I knew that I had held on to the third-woman spot for so long that I couldn’t lose it that close to the finish.
I was so glad that the last portion of the course was a slight downhill to a flattened parking lot for the finish. I used the downhill to gain as much speed as I could, then headed across the parking lot. I came through the finisher’s chute barely able to catch my breath, but nothing made me happier than hearing the timing guy say, “Third woman across the line!”
Had to rehydrate and eat some grapes and hang out and stretch for a little bit while the race ended, and I hadn’t even bothered to check my time as I came across the line. Honestly, even right now, I’m not sure what it was – they told me at the race, I forgot, and the results haven’t been posted yet. I knew it was 29-something, and less than 29:45, since that’s when I stopped my GPS but I had waited a few seconds.
Waited for the awards ceremony, and I was so proud of myself. The first woman was across in 21-something (she ran D1 for LaSalle or something), the second was in 28-something, and I was 29-something. I got a cute little trophy and it’s the first time I’ve ever placed in the overall category. Given it was a really small race, I know overall is not bound to happen again any time soon, but I’m okay with that. I don’t know if my sub-28 goal is in sight for the rest of this summer as I’m focusing more on distance for the marathon, but we’ll see where it goes!