I don’t know what it is about me and signing up last minute for 5k’s. But I did it again.
I had originally put this race on my radar at the beginning of the year. Then, all of a sudden March was here and I actually had to recall what I said I was going to race this month!
When I saw that I had chosen a 5k, I was less than thrilled. Those things hurt!! So, I put off making a decision. Finally, late Thursday night, I pulled out the ol’ debit card and registered. Good thing too, since they sold out and weren’t accepting registrants on race day.
I’m finding that the longer distances I run, the longer it takes me to “warm up.” I decided on an easy, slow 5 mile warm up. This may seem like a lot to you! And I think so too. But, I was hoping to get a total of 16 for the day, so I figured an easy 5 prior to a fast 3 wouldn’t hurt. Literally and figuratively.
Since I’m throwing this race into the middle of my 50k training, I didn’t expect my legs to feel fresh. And they didn’t. In fact, they felt pretty brick-ish during the warm up. I guess I’d have to see what happened at the race.
The course was a flat lollipop through the downtown neighborhoods of Fort Collins. The current fire blazing up our trails to the west of town caused poor air quality and high smoke clouds, but I couldn’t smell a thing. Instead, everyone was dressed up in their St. Patty’s day best! A sea of green.
I didn’t really know what my goal pace should be. It’s “only” 3 miles so I figured I would go hard and hope mile 2 wasn’t as awful as most mile 2′s are for me. This part of the course was completely straight. No turns at all. I kind of liked the view of seeing everyone pull away. I started to practice “eyes up”; my biggest downfall in running. I channeled my high school racing days and picked someone’s back who was ahead of me. My goal was the pass that person.
This mile was a the lollipop. We did a quick mile around the High School and the Flower Garden. This mile is always my toughest. But later, I was happy to see I was only 1 second off of my first mile’s pace. I kept the same plan, keep my eyes up and pick people off. It worked well in the first mile. I could see a woman in green (duh!) that I’d been eyeing the first mile and I was slowly drawing her in. I hoped to catch her in mile 3.
Off of the lollipop, I knew it was a straight away to the finish. I was breathing hard, working hard, and now it was time to turn on anything I had left. The woman in green was getting closer. I was passing a few other people, but I wanted her! Finally, at 2.5 I passed an older man who whispered, “Get her.” Of course, I knew this was said in the friendliest of manners, as we all have an appreciation for catching and passing the person in front of us! When I caught up to her at 2.6, I told her to “stay with me.” We pushed each other (hard!) for the next quarter mile. I barely pulled ahead at the 3 mile mark where I sprinted past another runner right before the finish.
I made sure to congratulate the few I had just passed, including the woman in green.
Official Time: 20:24
As I was walking away from the finish, the woman in green asked if I’d ever like to go for a run with her! Later, Monica and I exchanged information and chatted about running. I love these connections!
In a beer town, the typical prize is a pint glass from a local brewery.
I was certainly tired afterward, but as usual, I wonder what I could have done differently in miles 1-2 since I had a 20 second deficit in that final mile. Could I have pushed harder in the first 2 miles? Would pushing harder at the beginning have made my final mile a little slower, resulting in a similar overall time? Does it really matter since I didn’t train for this distance?
It’s safe to say that all this 50k training doesn’t hurt the 5k distance.
This is actually my PR as an adult. I can’t compare my 5k times when I was 17 years old, right?! But, I AM close to breaking my high school time too. Hmmm….Am I in my prime?!
PS-I didn’t complete the full 16 for the day. After waiting around for the awards ceremony, I was freezing. I contemplated going home to get Chase to finish my final 8, but once I got home, I just wanted a shower. So I did.