As I alluded to in my last post (approximately 138 years ago in blogging time), I ran a race on the 4th of July. Based on a few recent workouts (most notably, 4×1 mile repeats at 6:50 pace) I thought I was in pretty good shape to run a PR – but I wasn’t sure how fast I might be, and I wasn’t sure if, once faced with the suckitude that is the 5K, I would be able to pull it off. I hadn’t raced a 5K since November, and I hadn’t PR’d a race at any distance since the BCCR Pink Ribbon 5K with Hollie and Laura last May. So I would say I was cautiously confident going in.
The race starts and ends in Marcellus Park, which is a fairly decent sized park that made for a nice warm-up spot. I jogged for about 20 minutes and then did a few strides, got in a bathroom line which took longer than expected and had to run fast-ish to get to the start on time. I am starting to realize I am not so great at time management.
Based on previous years results, I thought I might have a shot at a top 3 overall female finish (ok, so cautiously confident also comes with a side of slight delusion …) so I lined up pretty close to the start line. After the ‘GO!’ the pack took off quite quickly, and after about a quarter-mile, I took note of a 6:11 pace on ye olde Garmin. I had recognized at least one female speedster at the start; I now knew that these b*tches meant business and I would need to run my own race – this was now about the PR and not overall placing. After a half a mile or so, I figured myself to be in 6th place.
Between a fast start and a somewhat steep downhill, the first mile clocked in at 6:39 per my watch. The pace felt tough but maintainable. Somewhere around 1.3 miles in, I saw another girl up ahead of me. She looked like she was struggling, which gave me the oomph that I needed. I held steady on the pedal and passed her with relative ease.
And then, out of nowhere, I felt like I was losing my motivation. Shit hurt, there was no one on my heels, and the pack with the rest of the girls was too far ahead of me to realistically try and hunt down. Mile two clocked in at 6:48.
By this point, I was running entirely by myself. It was mildly windy. I would’ve given anything for someone to draft off of for a bit. I know the 3rd mile of a 5K is not supposed to feel good but I had just completely fallen off my mental game. This whole mile was a struggle to just keep the split under 7:00 (this was a secondary goal of mine – split everything under 7min/mi pace). Just managed to squeak it out with a 6:58.
Then, you are back at the entrance to the park. Typical 5K scenario – finish line should be so close and yet it seems like a much better plan to just pull off to the side and take a nap.
I managed to sprint out the last bit at 6:22 pace, for a finish time of 21:12. So yeah, I clearly had a bit more to give in that 3rd mile. I really need to work on the mental game.
The only thing that made me feel better was looking at the elevation profile once I uploaded my Garmin data. Don’t get me wrong – this is in no way a “hilly” 5K, but the slow, gradual climb corresponds directly to when I felt myself losing steam. Even though I know I mentally gave up a bit, this at least gives me a small reason as to why it felt so hard to maintain a consistent pace.
In any case, I was able to hang on for 5th female overall and 1st in my age group. And ran a 32 second PR. And actually kind of made myself excited to run another 5K and see if I can break 21 minutes – which is a time I wouldn’t have ever thought I’d be in the vicinity of running.
All in all, it was a really fun race and
totally probably worth the sobriety the night before.