Something New! A 5k Race Report

If you don’t like race reports that are filled with smiles, happiness, flowers, exclamation points and excitement then you should probably read something else. I raced a 5k for the first time since July this morning and it was, simply put, awesome. The 5k has always been my favorite race and also the distance I have the most success with. I’m well suited to the race physiologically and I much prefer a 20 minute suffer fest to the drawn out ickiness of a marathon.

I woke up nice and early and took my time getting to the park. Rather than eat oatmeal I ate an english muffin with peanut butter and drank some coffee. I had plenty of time to digest and made it to the race site with roughly an hour to warm up and get myself in order. The race was held in a really nice park in a suburb south of my house and it was also a race I’d never run before.I was a little nervous because I’ve had a rough couple of training weeks, but they happen and I know not to take them too seriously.

I warmed up with some friends and was surprised that my legs felt pretty good. My watch was basically out of batteries but I was shocked when my friend Christeen said our warm up mile was 7:50 pace because it didn’t feel fast at all. I was really excited to be out racing and had a feeling I’d do well.

Before the race started I copied Aron and took a gu before the race started for a little extra pep. Yes, it was only a 5k, but it was still a race and I still wanted to do well. I noticed something funny during the race– I was really excited and nervous! I had butterflies in my stomach and I could feel my adrenaline starting to surge. It’s been awhile since I’ve had that feeling and it even took a second to recognize what the heck I was feeling!

The gun sounded and we were off! Like usual I started off way too fast but luckily my watch was hanging in there and I was able to reign myself in. I felt really good right off the bat– breathing was under control, legs felt speedy and I was just happy to be out there.

I came through the first mile in 7:03. Yeah, that’s kind of fast. In fact, I believe that is a 1-mile PR for me. Yay! Only not since it was the first mile. I quickly decided I better slow myself down or I’d be risking all kinds of ickiness in mile 3 so I pulled back slightly and cruised through mile 2.

The second mile of a 5k is always the hardest– there’s still much suffering to have, but you’re starting to feel that first mile. I came through the 2nd mile in 7:30 was was also pleased with this but I started to feel like garbage. Labored breathing, crampy stomach, heavy legs. You know, racing!

I started mile 3 and started to feel very, very tired. I pulled back for the first half of the 3rd mile because I wanted to save a little for the finish. I don’t know if it was stupid or smart, but I think it ultimately saved me from completely dying toward the end.

Mile 3 was like any mile 3 of a 5k– difficult. I started to feel the first few miles and just kept repeating to myself over and over, “be strong and courageous, be strong and courageous.” Ryan Hall had a really great article in Running Times about the intersection of his faith and running. Now, I’m not now, nor will I ever be Ryan Hall, but I kind of get what he was hitting on. I felt like God was with me and reminding me to have courage and be strong during this mile. It doesn’t really matter how I do in a race, but I also know God loves me and that running fast makes me happy so maybe he does? Anyway, I kept repeating this over and over and was pretty cheery about the whole thing. I even smiled during Mile 3.

The last .1 of a mile I just gave it everything I had and crossed the finish line in a PR time of 23:35 good enough for 3rd in my age group, 45th overall and 15th woman. I think most of the truly fast women did the 10k, but whatever. I’ll take it.

I am so excited that I finally PRd. It wasn’t by much (my watch actually said 7:30 pace which is a 20 second PR but that’s not what the race clock said so it doesn’t count) but it was a PR. More than anything, though, I’m proud of the way I raced. I really gave the course everything I have and have zero regrets with my race strategy or the way it played out. Negative splitting is ideal, but I ran how I ran and I’m proud that I had the courage to keep going.

I also had fun today. There were tons of happy runners out enjoying the perfect spring weather and although not everyone PRd I think everyone had a lot of fun. I went in to the race with high expectations for myself and I wanted to do well but I also didn’t put so much pressure on the race that I collapsed under its weight. It’s nice that all the early mornings, tough long runs and tempo runs paid off.

Overall, a great race, a great time and I’m so glad I was out there.

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7 responses to “Something New! A 5k Race Report

  1. Yay! Congrats on your PR! Awesome race! So proud of you. I knew you’d do well because your running is so consistent. 20sec PR is HUGE in a 5K! So glad that all your track work is paying off! Cheers!

  2. Awesome, congrat on the PR! I could hear all the excitement in you words, I’m so happy for you!!

  3. yayyyy GREAT job girl!!! so happy you finally got that PR you have been working so hard for and SO HAPPY you had so much fun doing it! love the big cheesy smile ❤

  4. Whoo hoo! Congrats on that AWESOME PR time! Well deserved! Love you’re fleet feet outfit, too 🙂

  5. Great job! The last mile always feels like garbage. 🙂

  6. WHOOOO Great job and excellent report! Way to push it out there, girl!

  7. What a great race! I’m scared of 5ks because they are so UGLY but you are inspiring – maybe I’ll have a go after Boston. Way to go on being in such great shape!

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