Aww, my poor neglected blog 😦 I feel so sad that I haven’t been able to post much in October but like I said before, life has been SO busy. There are so many things that are happening that I would love to blog about but I don’t have the time. My wedding is in two weeks, school has been crazier than ever, and I have been overloaded with work for my grad classes. I have also started a running club at my elementary school which has been amazing, but another thing that takes time away from blogging.
Somehow through all the craziness Kevin and I found time to run a 5K last weekend! This race benefitted a cause that is close to my heart as a teacher. It was the Walk for Autism Virginia 5K and it took place on Saturday, October 22nd. They had a run at 8 a.m. and a big walk later that day at 10 a.m.
Kevin and I signed up for the run part of this event. We had been looking for a local 5K that we could run and this one seemed perfect- and it was. It was small, family friendly with lots of parents and children taking part in the race, information and resources about autism, music, and the race registration fee was donated to the Autism Society of Northern Virginia. All good things!
We hadn’t run a race since our marathon a month before and we hadn’t been speed training at all, so our expectations weren’t high for this race. Kevin’s previous 5K PR was 22:30 (he’s so fast!) and mine was 24:12. I went out the Tuesday before the race and did a 2 mile tempo run at 7:30 pace, but it felt really hard and I didn’t think I would be able to do another mile that fast at the race. I just wanted to go out and do my best and have fun.
We woke up that morning and ate a Clif bar (ugh, so sick of them at this point!), then headed out to Manassas where the race was being held. It felt really cold outside, but I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and my light windbreaker on top, which ended up being an absolutely perfect amount of clothes.
We didn’t have to wait long for the race to start and all of a sudden it was time. The competitive side in me came out immediately and I started scoping out my competition. There were some girls that were in my age group (wearing a gold sticker on their bib for age 20-29) and I started wondering if I could PR.
The race started and Kevin was ahead of me instantly and stayed there for the whole race. The course was out and back and I kept looking at my Garmin, surprised that I was running so fast and it felt okay. I was shooting for 7:30 miles, because I knew if I could hold that pace I would PR.
My watch beeped at mile one at 7:24. There was one girl ahead of me and a few behind me, from what I could see. I ran up a hill and went past a water stop that I skipped, and I started catching up with the girl. Right before the turn-around point I was running right next to her, and I saw Kevin turn around and head back to the start/finish. He was running fast and I was so proud of him! After the turn-around I passed the girl and tried to hold onto my pace. I didn’t want to look back to see how far ahead I was, so I just kept pushing and telling myself not to slow down.
When my watch beeped at mile 2 I was happy to see that my split time was 7:34. At the point the course changed direction slightly so I was able to get a good angle to see how far ahead I was. The girl that was once holding strong next to me was much farther back now and there were no other women in sight. I realized that I might be able to win first female overall and I was SO EXCITED! I tried so hard to hold onto my pace but it started wavering between 7:30-7:45. I started feeling a little weak and we were running on rocks and stones toward the end which made me feel shaky and unstable.
Finally I entered the finishing area and I was immediately reminded of the Air Force Marathon and the torture that was the final .4 miles. Just like that day, we had to run in a big U shape to the finish line. My body fell apart on me during the marathon at this time and that last U was the hardest thing I ever had to push through. It destroyed me! But the day of the 5K I went into the final U shape determined to conquer it this time, even if it was only a 3.1 mile race and not 26.2 🙂 And I did conquer it! I sprinted the last little bit as fast as I could. My watch beeped for mile 3 at 7:32 and the final .1 was run at a 6:32 pace. I ran through the finish line with everyone yelling at me that I was the first female overall and Kevin screaming my name! It was amazing!
- Mile 1 – 7:24
- Mile 2 – 7:34
- Mile 3 – 7:32
- Mile 3.1 – 0:44
- Finish Time: 23:07 (7:27 average pace)
- PR by 1 minute and 5 seconds!
I was really proud of myself because running fast is so hard for me. My body is definitely built for distance, not speed. These short, fast races are so challenging physically and mentally. I think it helped that I tried to keep my paces even instead of sprinting all out like usual and getting cramps and feeling horrible at the end (duh). Sounds simple, but short races have never been my thing so I’m kind of clueless about them.
I was also very excited and proud of Kevin! He finished FOURTH overall in 21:28 (6:55 average pace) and took 1 minute and 2 seconds off his previous PR. He was also first in his age group. I was 11th overall… my favorite number 🙂
My prize for being first female overall was a $40 gift certificate to one of my favorite running stores, Virginia Runner. Nice!!!
It’s interesting how we almost always have good races when we have low expectations about how we will do. I think we just perform better when we don’t put pressure on ourselves. The same thing happened at the National Half Marathon last spring where we both got huge PRs (1:48:55 for me, 1:45:33 for him). It’s just so hard to keep the pressure low in a race like a marathon where we train for so long and want to do well so badly. But it’s something I’m trying to work on! We’ll see how that goes… 🙂
(Photos courtesy of Karen Nutini)