I'm still on cloud nine from absolutely crushing my 5k goals.
Goal: 21:41 (6:59 avg pace)
Stretch goal: 21:09 (70% age graded)
Stretch goal: 21:09 (70% age graded)
Actual result: 21:02.7 (6:47 avg pace)
|Shanty 2 Shorts trophies|
Leading up to the race I was really nervous that I was not going to see any improvement. I still have a number of half finished posts worrying about how the 5k effort intervals absolutely killed me or lamenting the fact that I missed two weeks of training in April. There was a whole lot of doubt swirling around my head. I decided not to post anything, because, in spite of the worrying, I occasionally would have a moment of clarity and realize that my training, while not perfect, was leaps and bounds ahead of where I was last spring. I wanted to toe the line feeling confident, not anxious, so I forced myself to focus on the positive. Reading and rereading the comments left on my blog was the perfect confidence boost leading up to the race. Thank you all so much!
Shanty 2 Short's is a small race in northern Michigan that runs from Shanty Creek Resort to Short's Brewing Company. There is a 5k and 10k option. This was the 4th annual race and the race has been growing each year (though it is still a very small race, ~200 runners). This is the third year that Mr. Shoe and I ran the 5k. This was also the third year that I set a new 5k PR with this race. I'm including an elevation chart for the race, you'll see why it is very PR friendly.
The race did not start until 10:00 AM which meant we were able to sleep in before the race. Due to the size of the race, we did not head to packet pickup until 9:00. There was plenty of time to get our bibs, warm up, and stretch before the race started. The temperature was perfect for a race - low 50s and overcast, almost no wind and no humidity.
After a quick course overview from the race director we were off and running! I tried to focus on running my own race and not blowing it by starting way too fast. Once my pace settled in, there were only a handful of men in front of me. I won the race last year, so I was hoping this was a sign that I would be able to defend my title.
I was running along next to a guy who was setting the perfect pace (red shirt guy) when I felt something flopping around on my right foot. I looked down and swore. My shoe was untied. I forgot to double knot them. It was less than a mile into the race and I had to stop on the shoulder of the road to tie my shoe. So much anger! About 8 people flew past me, but I was relieved to see that they were all men.
When I started running again I tried to slowly work my way up through that group of men. I didn't want to sprint to catch up, but I didn't want to lose the group either. At the one mile point, a glance at my watch confirmed that I was on track for keeping the pace sub 7. During the downhill (the first 1.8 miles of the race) I managed to pass all but 1 of the guys (blue shirt guy) who had passed me.
When the course leveled out, my goal was to hold my pace steady AND hold my place. One guy (grey shirt) passed me shortly after the course leveled out, but I held on and did not let him get too far ahead. At the two mile point I was still on track for sub 7 miles. Once you round the final turn in the race, there is only 0.55 miles remaining. I knew when I rounded this corner that I was on track for my 21:30 goal. I didn't want my pace to fall during this final stretch, so my goal was so start reeling in the two guys in front of me.
My final kick felt pretty strong and I reclaimed my position in front of grey shirt guy. At this point everything was starting to hurt, even my arms wanted to give out. But I pressed on, trying to catch blue shirt guy. I actually got pretty close, but when he saw me gaining on him, he really kicked the pace up. He ended up finishing just 2 seconds ahead of me. When I crossed the line, I could not believe that I had taken a minute off of my PR and I was stoked to be the top woman finisher! Including men, I was the 4th finisher overall.
|I don't know how I look so relaxed.|
Mr. Shoe was running this race as well, but he hasn't been doing much running this spring. I knew it wouldn't be a PR attempt for him, but I figured he would be finishing around 28 minutes. I had just told my father in law (who was taking photos for us) this, when I looked down the straightaway and saw him coming. He ended up finishing in 25:10, just about 2 minutes slower than his PR. Which is quite impressive considering he has run maybe 10 times since the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
We headed into Short's Brewing Company for the awards ceremony, lunch, and a few celebratory beers (excellent Michigan craft beer!). The atmosphere in the brewery after the race was awesome. We ended up seeing a few runners that we had sat next to last year at the after party, and they congratulated me on my repeat win. This is such a fun race that I am already thinking about running it again next year. Small race, PR friendly, beer at the finish, what's not to love?
I have so many thoughts about what did/didn't work in my training, what I might try differently next time, and what this means for my up coming races this season, but I am going to save it for a different post (this one is already long enough for a pretty short race!).