There was a local 5k this past weekend and because Grammy was able to watch the girls, Rich and I both decided to participate. Once cooler weather moves in, I move my running indoors. So this was my last chance to run in a race before the spring. I was curious to see how I would do. My running is definitely weaker than it's been in the past This time though, I wanted to race in a 5k, not simply run 3.1 miles. There's a difference. And it didn't matter that I was racing against myself.
The race was in the morning and we lucked out with decent weather. The temperature was in the mid-40s and warmed up to 50 degrees by the end of the race. I don't like being cold and had originally overdressed. I had on cold weather leggings, a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long-sleeve t-shirt and a cold weather hoodie. The hoodie has a pocket in front which is perfect for filling with tissue. Gross, I know, but my nose constantly runs when I'm in the cold. At the last minute, I took off the hoodie and left it in the car. That was probably the best decision I made.
As with most local races, this one had about 250 runners and walkers. Rich and I started off closer to the front. I wanted to avoid that dance around walkers and slower runners. The one huge negative to treadmill running (for me) is the inability to determine my pace, especially when I move back to running outside. Our treadmill is not calibrated. You can guess at your speed but the treadmill screen is not accurate. I've been running exclusively on the treadmill for a month or so now.
I started off running the race and I had no idea what my pace was. It didn't feel easy but I wasn't ready to collapse either. I kept thinking that it had to be faster than a 10 minute mile. This better be faster than a 10 minute mile. But how much faster, I didn't know.
We hit the one mile mark and I checked my watch.
Mile 1 - 8:42
While I was happy that I had run an 8:42 minute mile and I was still moving, I knew that starting off too fast could potentially ruin the rest of the race for me. I kept telling myself that I just needed to run two 10 minute miles and I would finish below my goal of 30 minutes. Unfortunately, starting off fast had two negative aspects:
- I had probably used energy that I would need later to finish the race strong.
- I tend to set a pace and stick to that pace. It's difficult for me to slow down and speed up.
Mile 2 - 9:13
Subtotal - 17:55
So, apparently, I didn't slow down enough. Shortly after I passed the 2nd mile marker, my muscles began to rebel. I stopped running and walked once, then twice, then again. For years, I had been against walking and while it does tend to throw off my pace, I realize it does have its benefits. Over the summer, I covered the same distance in a faster time during speed work with walking than I did running 10 minute miles.
I want to note that the last mile of this particular course is a slow incline. (Sobbing.)
With a little over a half mile left, I suddenly became so hot I had to take that long-sleeve tee off. I tried to remove it while running and because the sleeves were tight around my wrists and I was wearing a hat, it just wasn't happening. I stopped moving. No walking. Nothing. All to take that shirt off and tie it around my waist. That was probably the biggest mistake I made and cost me at least a minute. It was incredibly difficult to start moving again after that.
To reach the end of the race, you turn off the main road into a driveway/parking lot. I was out on the main road struggling and not close to the turnoff when I heard the announcer yell out that everyone on the straightaway was looking at a sub-30 finish. I knew I had blown my goal.
Mile 3.1 - 12:38
Finish - 30:33
Average Pace - 9:50
Here's the thing - I would have been bummed if I had simply run this race at 9:50 minute miles. That would have been running, not racing. I challenged myself and I learned some lessons. I'm actually enjoying speed work right now (as much as someone can enjoy speed work) and plan to continue. I know you are suppose to increase your speed as you run and some may think that I would have been better off running 9:50, 9:50 and then 8:42, but I'm not sure I would have been able to pull off an 8:42 minute mile after running two miles.
At least one of us had a good race. Rich placed 25th overall and 5th in his age group!
(Until I saw this photo, I had no idea that we had unintentionally worn semi-matching outfits.)
My 5k PR is 27:42. The closest I've come to beating that was in August 2010 with a time of 28:25.