Race: Shanty 2 Short’s 5k
Date: May 13, 2017
Last year, I was chasing both a PR and a top finishing place, so I had no problem taking the lead from the start. This year I knew I was not going after a PR, but I still wanted to race. My plan was to let someone else set the pace for the first few miles and, if I managed to hang on, try to out kick them in the last half mile.
Most runners stayed in the lodge to avoid the pre-race rain, but a handful of runners were outside warming up. I saw one other woman warming up and made mental note of her bib number (#17), knowing I would need to keep an eye on her.
When the race started I found myself in second place to a young girl. I suspected that she was starting too fast and would end up fading so I let her go. I slowed slightly looking for #17 then locked on to her pace as she sailed by, settling into third place. A few minutes later we passed the young girl, moving into first and second place. The first mile clicked by in 6:22. I was shocked to discover we were running sub-20 pace.
The next mile was tough. #17 was holding a steady pace, but I was fading. I focused on trying to stay relaxed and confident, but I could tell that my shot at first place was slipping away. Second mile 6:44. #17 had a sizeable lead and I heard another runner coming up behind me. A glance back confirmed it was a woman. Another glance as she passed me and I saw her 10k bib. Second place was safe for now, but I had slowed considerably. My watch was showing 7:16 avg pace for the current mile. Another check behind me, but there was no one close enough to challenge me. I would definitely take second.
Final turn of the race means 0.55 miles to the finish. Time to dig deep and see what’s left. Mile 3 was 7:07. I was glad to see I had managed to pick up the pace! Crossed the finish line with the clock showing 20:35, but my official finish time was recorded as 20:42. Since this was not a PR, I’m not really bothered. Additionally, this is not a certified course and it actually only measured 3.08 on my Garmin (past years have measured correctly).
2nd overall, 1st in age group (F 30-39)
I was NOT expecting to finish under 21 minutes. I though I would be lucky if I managed to finish under 22 minutes. This was my second fastest 5k and I managed it on ZERO speed work. My love for easy miles continues to grow.
I am very happy with the way I raced and the way I handled the pain/fading mid-race. When races start to turn against me, I think I have a tendency to let it get in my head and slow me down even more. I think this happened at Charlevoix 5k and at Mighty Niagara Half Marathon last year. But I think I did a good job adjusting expectations and accepting the fade during this race and at Rock CF this spring.
It has been a bit of a bummer to go through all of my spring races knowing I will not be running a PR. However, my race times have all been reasonably close to my PRs. 42 seconds off for 5k; 4:06 off for half marathon. I think I am right where I need to be in terms of aiming for a fall half PR and a winter marathon.