We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging to give you a race recap! And to wish all of you a very happy and safe Fourth of July. This used to be one of those holidays that I was all “meh” about. In the last few years, however, I’ve changed my tune. The 4th is one of my favorite. (No pressure to buy the perfect gift, beautiful fireworks, and all the summer foods I can eat. Sign me up!) This time last year, Stephen was in Afghanistan. This time three years ago, he had just come home from his first deployment.
When my alarm went off at 5 am, I let Stephen keep sleeping as I tip-toed out of the bedroom.
The Up and Running 4th of July Run starts at 7:04 on the dot (so appropriate, right?). That meant leaving my house before the sun came up to make it across town. I had plenty of time, and got to spend a good half hour chatting with my Wear Blue buddies.
Jennifer, seated, just came back from a DENTAC deployment to the Pacific! Welcome home, Jennifer!
My hope for the race was to beat last year’s time of 25:30. With marathon training, I’ve been doing lots of speed work (read: 2x a week). However, I didn’t consider the fact that I haven’t been doing much (read: zero) hill work. I guess I tend to be a
greedy ambitious runner. If I’m racing, I want to place or PR. My 5k PR of 24:21 is 3 years old (!), and I haven’t come close to it since the day that I earned it. (Maybe I was body snatched during the race.) Yet some part of me thought that maybe I could go sub 25 today.
Mile 1: 8:08
After a stirring rendition of the National Anthem and the countdown to begin, I took off like the dickens. I mean, I hauled my cookies like nobody’s business. It took me a quarter of a mile to realize I had probably gone out too fast as I was hitting a 7:00/mile pace. That will only lead to crashing and burning. I tried to reign it in to as near to 8:00 as I could. Of course, then the hills appeared. Some of the people I had passed in the initial starting sprint had already passed me right back. I knew I wouldn’t PR, and I doubted I could even beat last year’s time.
Mile 2: 8:16
I ran a little slower, but I actually felt good during this mile. Perhaps because it has more of the downhill. :) I even walked a bit to hit the water stop before I continued on. I have yet to master the ability to run and drink, and I needed that water! It was actually cooler out this morning than I anticipated. It didn’t even make it to 80 while I was on the course. The cloud cover was a nice touch too, but that means humidity – my nemesis! 50% humidity plus hills = way more challenging than I was prepared for.
Mile 3: 8:26
I’m convinced that the final mile of any 5k is mental. I repeated over and over in my head “One more good mile. Just one more good mile.” I also used this time to puzzle over the fact that my half PR was on a hilly course. How did I do that? I felt like I was sucking, but I was still passing people. I thought I might have been going fast enough to at least beat my time on the course, but I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t quite seem to figure out the math – all my brain power was going toward convincing myself not to quit.
The final .25 is uphill (damn hills!). I gave all I had left and ended up with final .1 at a 7:26 pace.
- 3.1 mile finish time: 25:17
- Average pace: 8:09
13 seconds faster than last year and good enough for 4th in my age group. I was immediately disappointed. I feel like I’m faster than I was last year, and I worked a lot harder than “just” 13 seconds faster. Alas, the clock doesn’t lie. Stephen reminded me when I got home that my goal isn’t a 5k PR; it’s a marathon PR. #Truth. The next race I run will probably be the 10 Miler in the Heat, another repeat race. Once again I’m going to aim to beat my time from last year. I’ve got plenty more marathon training between now and then to prepare me. But I’m keeping my eye on the real goal: Twin Cities.
I want to once again wish everyone the happiest of holidays. Thank you to all those who have fought for our freedom. If your loved one is in harm’s way, know that I see you and I’m praying for you.