This was not quite the race that I wanted, but overall I am very happy with my performance.
4th female, 2nd aged 30-34
Although it was not a PR, it was my second fastest 5k. This was the first time that I raced since Grand Rapids and my first 5k race since last June. I definitely felt a bit out of practice having not raced in so long. Although I missed my time goal, I did meet my goal of finishing in the top 5.
My alarm was set for a 4:30 wake up, offering plenty of time to drive to the race (45 minutes), pick up my bib, and get warmed up before the 7:15 start. Packet pick up was a breeze and I even had time to say to my friends Alex and Ty before they started the half marathon.
After my warm up I headed to the starting line. I wasn’t expecting to see the marathon/half marathon start, but they started about 10 minutes late. The 5k ended up starting late as well which was annoying. I lined up close to the front knowing that I should be one of the first 25ish finishers (I was 19th). There were also lots of kids up front in spite of several announcements about lining up according to pace, this was also annoying, but somewhat expected.
Mile 1: 6:40
I checked my watch a ton during the first mile so I could work on getting on pace. I saw some crazy fast paces in the 6:05-6:20 range before settling in to the 6:40s. The pavement situation was rough. Lots of cracks and potholes. I wasn’t too bothered by it until about a mile in when I rolled my right ankle. I shouted a quick expletive but decided to just keep running and assess the situation at the finish line. I glanced down at my watch to see if I was still on pace, and saw that the first mile had already passed.
Mile 2: 6:48
The first half of mile 2 passed quickly since I could distract myself by watching the marathoners run past on the opposite side of the road. The occasional glance at my watch confirmed I was holding 6:40 pace. My pace slipped a bit at the end since the mile ended with an uphill.
Mile 3 – 6:41
The thought of a PR was the only thing that kept me running. I did my best to not let the runners in front of me pull away. I had entertained thoughts of catching and passing them earlier in the race, but that did not happen. I was hurting.
Also for some reason there were cars on the course during this mile. It was so frustrating and they made it really difficult to run tangents. I expect that in a small town race with just a few hundred runners, but not at an event this size.
Last 0.19 – 1:08 (5:58 pace)
I kicked as hard as I could, already knowing that 20:30 was out of reach. I had not lost hope in a PR, but I knew it would be close. Unfortunately my poor tangents and/or GPS inaccuracies led to a total distance of 3.19 miles. That extra distance cost me a PR. My Garmin congratulated me after the race with a 5k PR of 20:50, but sadly that doesn’t count.
It kind of sucks to look at my splits and see 6:40s, but finish with an official pace of 6:50.
Post Race Thoughts
I’m honestly not too bothered to have not gotten a PR. I still have 3 more races lined up and I can always add more races later this year. This was just one attempt and it served as a nice return to racing and offers a great indication of my current fitness level. I still feel very confident that I will get a PR this year.
I still feel certain that I am in better shape than last year. My PR was set on a mostly downhill course, but I ran only 15 seconds slower on a mostly flat course today. Last year I ran a comparable course in 21:36, but my splits were terrible (6:39, 6:55, 7:13). I think the consistency in this race really shows marked improvement (Note: I don’t have slits for my PR because it was before I owned a GPS watch). I think if I keep training and keep racing I can still get 20:30 this year (sub 20 feels a bit more out of reach at this point).