On New Years Day, my friends, family and I brought in 2016 with a 5K race! I really can’t think of any better way to kick off a brand new year! A bonus to this race was that it didn’t start until 11 AM, so we had time to sleep in a bit – which was nice because we were up until 2 AM at our friend’s house celebrating with a little too much food and quite a few drinks once all of our kids went to sleep 🙂
Even though we were tired, we got ourselves up and got ready to head out. When I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to do this race, I was surprised that he said he wanted to do it too. He’s been really wanting to get back into running more regularly and he thought this would be a great way to kick it off. He said he would push the boys in the stroller so I could race it.
Going into this race, I didn’t expect to PR, but I did want to push myself to do my best. I hadn’t raced a 5K in a year and a half (shortly before I got pregnant), and that’s when I set my PR of 21:55. I decided to do this race in place of my tempo run for the week, and I figured I’d finish somewhere in the 22-24 minute range based on my recent speedwork. I wanted to make sure to warm up a little beforehand, so after getting our bibs and making a quick bathroom stop, I ran about a mile and a half around the park to get myself ready to race. I got back to the starting line just as the race was supposed to start, said hi to a few friends, and went up toward the front.
The race started exactly at 11:00, and we were off! I spent the first minute or so trying to shake off my nerves. Then I made sure I wasn’t going too fast. I wanted to stay around 7:15-7:20, a pace that should feel hard but not too hard, to ensure I had enough leftover for the last two miles. My first mile came in and I felt good about it. I thought I could probably maintain that pace for the rest of the race.
- Mile 1 – 7:14
And then I realized that maybe I couldn’t! I have ran this course before during a 4 mile race a few years back, but I had forgotten how parts of it were on rocks and dirt, and how it had some short but steep hills. I tried to maintain the pace I was running but ended up slowing a bit during mile 2. Since part of the course was out and back, I was able to see my friends and my husband with the boys, and that gave me a little boost that I needed.
I was a little disappointed when my split for mile 2 came up. I was irritated at myself for probably starting too fast, but I tried to keep myself focused. In my speedwork and tempo runs lately I’ve been working on running fast while keeping my body and form controlled, as well as my breathing. This helped me stay as relaxed as possible.
- Mile 2 – 7:30
During the last mile I started to feel the effects of the little sleep I got as well as the other poor choices I made the night before. But I gave myself a little pep talk and thought about how I have been practicing finishing strong during this training cycle – and how important that is physically and mentally. I picked it up as best as I could, even out-sprinting some people in the last stretch to the finish line.
- Mile 3 – 7:22
- Finish Time – 22:48 / 7:20 average pace
My first thoughts immediately after crossing the finish line were: “Ouch. So this is why I don’t race 5Ks very often. They hurt!” Yes, they do. I’m definitely more of a lover of slower, longer distance racing! But I was still VERY proud of myself for my finishing time and the fact that it was within a minute of my PR. Maybe on a different course, with better fueling and hydration I could have done better, but I truly gave it all that I had and I was happy with how I did.
My friend Cynthia came in about a minute after me, getting a HUGE new PR! Our friend Erin finished right after her. Once I caught my breath a little, I went back out on the course to see if I could find some other friends, along with my hubby who was running with Laura since she’s coming back from an injury and wanted to take it easy. Once I found them, we all ran/walked to the end, and we let Kevin get out of the stroller to run the last quarter mile or so. He crossed the finish line all by himself and was so proud!
It felt so good to start the new year in such a fun, active way with some people who I love!
The icing on the cake was that I actually ended up winning first place in the 20-29 age group! One of my 30 before 30 goals was to place in my age group before I enter a new (and usually extremely competitive!) one, and I’m so happy I was able to do that!
What a way to set the tone for a new year. 2016, I’m coming for you!