About a week before the race I did a one mile test run. I spent half a mile warming up and then ran as hard as I could for one mile. I finished in 7:17. I knew that this wasn't the fastest I could run (my 5k PR pace is faster) but with the humidity and heat it seemed to be my best effort. I was hoping that the race day excitement and presence of competitors could some how push me to a sub 7:00 mile, but figured that was a long shot.
The race was the Monday following my failed long run, this did not do much to boost my confidence. I knew I would be running on tired legs, but with my marathon being my primary objective, taking an extra rest day was not an option. The races started at 6:00 PM, but my race would not be starting until 6:20; the elite runners would be going first.
|So many goodies for such a short race (shirt, bib, finisher's medal, Hammer Gel, lip balm, and a sticker).|
When the race started I took off as fast as I could imagine and told myself to just hold that pace no matter what. I left my watch and ipod at home so I could focus solely on running. I wanted to quit after about a quarter mile, getting passed by a couple of guys pushed me to keep running. There was an elapsed time sign at the half mile mark. I glanced at it once to see if I was on pace. I saw 3:03 and knew I was ahead of pace.
The last half mile completely sucked. My legs wanted to quit; my lungs were on fire. Another guy shot past me and I forced myself to dig deeper. I almost tripped coming around the last corner, but somehow managed to stay upright. And then it was over. A volunteer was handing me my finisher's medal (a cool ceramic medal made by a local running store) and offering to find me some water. Thank you, kind volunteer for taking such good care of me! My official chip time was 6:16.7. So much faster than I imagined was possible!
|Art tiles based on artwork by Charley Harper were the age group awards. They feature a hare to represent our swiftness.|
That night I looked at the results online and it showed me in third place in my age group. What?! It turns out that when they posted the results at the race only the top finisher had been pulled out of the results. The race actually had special awards for the top three finishers. Second and third place ended up getting pulled from the 20-29 age group which bumped me up to 3rd. Which is awesome, but I feel like I kind of cheated my way into an age group award. Fortunately I was able to contact the race coordinators and arrange to pick up my award.
I will definitely be doing this race again next year. Since it is such a short race, I don't think that I will follow a specific training plan just for this race. However, the pace I held for this race indicates that I should be capable of a much faster 5k. I need to get to work on that! I think some 5k specific speed work next year could help lead to a new mile PR. Maybe even a sub 6:00!