Distance: 3.12 mi
Heart Rate: N/A
What I ate the night before: Qdoba burrito bowl
What I ate on race day: 2 Starbursts
What I carried with me: Nothing
What I wore: Hoodie, short sleeved tech tee, medium-weight running tights, buff (as headband), gloves
Gadgets: GPS watch
I woke up early after dreaming that I was late to the race. Actually no. I dreamed that I was with 3 of my high school friends who I’d convinced at the last minute to run the race. They needed to sign up, so we needed to get there early, and I was lollygagging around, and then we arrived too late for them to sign up. I woke up feeling like a jerk. Then I was too worried about being prepared for the race to go back to sleep. Annoying.
I need to stop eating entire burrito bowls before races, because I still kind of felt full. I mean, it was good on one hand, because I didn’t need to eat anything, but I could have maybe eaten 3/4 of the burrito instead and not felt so… uffda. The quintessential Scandinavian-American onomatopoeia is the only appropriate word for it. So I was a little worried.
I left for the race at about 9. I love the races around here, they start so late in the day! 9:30! I thought parking might be an issue, but that was dumb. It’s Thanksgiving, businesses aren’t open, their parking lots were fair game. I parked up the hill about 4 blocks. That was good thinking on my part. It was snowing but not too windy, which was nice, and the streets weren’t slick, which I was worried about. A large portion of the race was run on brick, which can get a little tricky.
I warmed up without feeling self-conscious! That was nice. I just kind of trotted around for awhile and then watched the end of the mile race. The winner of the mile race was also third place in the 5K. I hate him. Most of the runners of the mile were kids (or their parents) and most were faster than me. Some fairly small kids are really freaking fast. So now I’m jealous of 9 year olds.
I spotted Joe, a friend of mine, and glommed onto him until race start. He is a fast runner so he of course lined up well ahead of me, but it was nice to have someone to talk to for a little bit. I lined up at the back as usual. It was a bit more of a bottleneck at the start, since the pack was wider than the start/finish gate we had to go through. The results don’t have gun time/chip time differentials posted but I think I started about 2 minutes after the gun time. At first I wasn’t even sure the race had started because it seemed like nobody moved.
Throughout the first half of the race, I had to tell myself to slow down. I kept going under 10 mins (I was looking at my watch way too much during the race, but clearly I needed to) because it felt good. I am glad that I kept reminding myself to back off because I needed that energy at the end, although I probably could have pushed a little harder. (Especially if I hadn’t eaten the burrito the night before, as I had a feeling of fullness in my stomach. Nothing more concerning than that, but it was still annoying.)
My splits were fairly even: 10:23, 10:31, 10:34. So it’s clear I started a little faster and backed off, but that’s fine. That was tempered by slower segments where I was moving around runners. Because of the delay in the start plus my overall slowness, the first runners passed me on the way back before I reached the first mile marker. So that was a little demoralizing, but it makes sense. 10:23 + 2 minutes after gun time = 12:23 with less a mile to go for the lead runners, and the winner finished in 15:36. Joe passed me going the other way relatively early on too and I yelled at him to get after it as he blew by.
The race itself was fairly straightforward, with little elevation change, although I could definitely feel those small inclines. A young girl said to one of the adults with her that she was “definitely feeling the burn.” I was, too. I tried to take advantage of any slight declines to speed up, and then dialed it back on the inclines. I knew at the halfway point that there was no doubt I was going to at least meet my B goal, based on my average pace so far. I had that set up as one of the displays on my watch so that I could see it the whole time, since I was so obsessed with setting a PR.
With 0.2 mi to go (according to Strava, I didn’t know this at the time), I started to kick, and then with about 0.1 miles to go I hit another gear and zipped in. Joe waited around to cheer for me at the end for a second, which was nice! I had a lot more juice in my legs than maybe I should have had left, so I guess I left something out on the race course. Oh well, that just means another PR next time.
Because yeah. That was a giant PR. 1:50. I clearly didn’t see that coming, since I thought 33:00 was a stretch. I am excited and happy, and I am glad to see some improvement after stepping away from racing shorter distances for four months to focus on my half marathon. I know that PRs come easy at the beginning and in a few years I’ll be happy to shave a couple seconds off a 5K time. I’m still going to soak it up and enjoy it because I did earn it, and I did work hard to get to this point, even if it wasn’t a goal race.
This is my last race of 2015. I was going to race a December 5K, but the one I had in mind turned out to be next weekend. I didn’t want to run back to back races, so there we have it. Ending the racing year on a high note!